Groove Beacon

As the lone jamband outpost in Las Vegas, Legends Lounge is about to shine its tie-dyed lovelight into cyberspace

by Lee Abraham

Every town has its cool spots. Some have more than others. Depending on which reality you choose to perceive, Las Vegas either scores sky high or hits rock bottom on the old quality-o-life meter. Pretty tough for the neon city to fall in the middle. The town just seems to illicit a strong response from people. Something to do with all the flashing neon, clanging slot machines and cash-is-king mentality.

For local groovemeisters who donít buy into the glitz and glitter entertainment of the "World Famous Strip," Legends Lounge is -the- place to experience the best live music currently making the rounds on the jamband scene. Over the past few years, Rudy Jalio, owner of Legends, has given the best jambands in the country a viable tour stop on the long and dusty road between California, Colorado, and points east.

Literally a tie-dyed outpost of kindness amidst a sea of shiny, sequined showrooms and mind-numbing, smoke and mirror casino funhouses, Legends has been as much a haven for locals craving an irie vibe as touring bands in search of a friendly venue.

Up to now, shows at Legends have been an intimate affair. With a capacity of 250 people, the club has a very cozy atmosphere. Even when its packed with folks shaking their bones to the extended jams of a killer band from out of town, thereís a certain intimacy in the room... a warm and fuzzy, -welcome-to-our-home- sort of vibe. Starting on July 20th though, the whole world is invited to the party. Thatís when Legends goes online. You heard right, live Internet broadcasts from -Club Ledge-!

As a member of the newly formed "Digital Club Network," Legends is joining forces with some of the other top live venues around the country to create an online broadcast community that will feature audio/video of live performances from the various clubs. The DCN is being launched as part of the week-long Digital Club Festival (formerly Intel New York Music Festival), which runs from July 20th through the 23rd.

First bands up on the Legendís cyberstage- Wise Monkey Orchestra from San Diego, and neon city bohemian hipsters, King Cartel. "Weíre very excited," says Jalio. "Itís great to have Wise Monkey kick it off with King Cartel on the same bill. Both are very much a part of our family here. This is going to be a great opportunity for all parties concerned."

The festival is in its fifth year, and will feature live performances from over 350 bands. The network is comprised of twenty clubs in downtown Manhattan and five additional venues, including Legends. Some of the sponsors for the event include Intel, RealNetworks, MTV, Yahoo!, Spin Magazine, Compaq, Oracle, and several other heavy hitters.

Recognized as the largest single live music event ever presented online (as measured by the number of participants), last years festival had, "over 120,000 unique visitors during the week with over two million page views," says Ted Werth of DCN. "We project that the numbers will continue to increase for this year."

Werth has been involved in the DCN from the getgo. As part of the venue selection committee, Werth, a guitar playing Phish phan and music lover in general, has also helped shaped the networkís personality. "We are mirroring whatís happening in the clubs, the live music scene," says Werth. "To start, weíre looking to promote a range of music, including rock, pop, alternative, jambands, and hip hop. Pretty soon, weíll cover the blues, country and jazz."

The inclusion of the jambands from the beginning is no accident. "We think that along with the techno genre, the jamband scene is the most actively involved in computers and online music," says Werth. "There are a handful of clubs around the country that we feel really represent the jamband scene and Legends is one of them."

In addition to Real Player G2 streams of live performances, the DCN will rebroadcast performances at regularly scheduled times. More than just a means of promotion, Werth and the rest of the DCN are hoping this will be a much needed money maker for hard working, touring bands.

"Bands will be able to create an additional revenue source," says Werth. "Bandís can sell actual CDís of the show, that will be physically mailed out, or send it over the wires in Mp3, Liquid Audio, or whatever format they want. And of course, bands can also do it for free. Itís all up to them."

Jalio sees a number of benefits to the bands being broadcast. "It helps lay the groundwork for touring bands in areas they havenít been to yet," says Jalio. "Theyíll be able to target market where theyíre popular. The other good thing is just in terms of getting the music out. This is stuff thatís generally not played on the radio."

Not only is the exposure good for the bands, itís not too shab-ola for Jalio and his club, which by the way, was recently named in Rolling Stone magazine as the "Best live music club in Las Vegas." The Internet connection also propels Legends into live musicís brave new world.

"It transforms Legends into an online broadcast facility, which is great because in addition to the touring jambands, we can do things to help our local scene here in Vegas too," says Jalio. "Because Vegas is such a destination, Iím hoping that as people come to town, they will make it a point to come down to Legends because of what theyíve heard on the Internet. The best thing we can do is just let the music speak for itself."

For information on how to tune in for the DCN Festival and subsequent broadcasts from Legends Lounge, check the Legendís website: http://www.tapetree.com/legends