Kessler Theater Artistic Director Jeffrey Liles Accuses Granada Theater of Stealing Shows

Categories: DFW Music News
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Earlier this week, the Granada Theater announced a new show coming to its room on Saturday, October 8. The show will feature touring headliners Portugal. The Man, plus an opening set from Dallas locals Air Review. 

Specifically, the inclusion of Air Review is where things get interesting: Back in August, the folks at the Kessler Theater announced that the band would be performing as part of an all-local bill also featuring The Orbans and Analog Rebellion, and also scheduled to take place on October 8.

Yesterday afternoon, Kessler Theater artistic director Jeffrey Liles took to Facebook to voice his frustration about the new Granada show announcement, laying down some hefty accusations in the process.

"Apparently, the Granada has begun the practice of approaching artists who are already confirmed at The Kessler to ditch their gigs here and come play there on the same night instead," Liles wrote in a Facebook post shared with his nearly 5,000 Facebook friends. "That's just pathetic, desperate and sad."

Perhaps, but those are some serious, incendiary claims. Not surprisingly, Liles' accusatory note drew plenty of attention -- over 80 comments from concerned members of his social network (including sometime Kessler performers), and among them a few more darts from Liles.

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The Kessler Theater's Jeff Liles
Some of Liles' further comments on the matter:
"...this wasn't at all about money; it was about appearing on the under bill of a show that [is] sure to sell out at The Granada. (I can certainly appreciate the band's desire to want to appear on that show; it's kinda like someone walking up to you and saying, 'Here, want this winning lottery ticket?') The issue is with The Granada asking them in the first place. Surely they heard our radio spots on KXT or saw the band already on our schedule that night. It's kinda baffling to me. I just can't imagine booking a big headliner like that, and then thinking to myself, 'Well, I'd really like _____ to open this show, but they're playing at The Granada that night. Maybe I'll just call 'em and ask them to play here instead.' You just don't do that shit."

"I trust local artists to honor their commitments, and we don't issue paperwork for their shows. We've certainly never had this problem before."

"...when venues compete for shows there is a simple protocol; once it's booked and on sale, it's a done deal. We didn't lose a show, this was an opening act. The issues here are process and principle. Far creepier is this dangerous precedent of carpet bagging artists, confusing the public, and wasting the time, energy and money of the people actually producing and promoting the shows. The Granada doesn't even need this band on that night; the headliner will sell the place out on their own. This was a gesture, a shot across the bow on their part. People deserve to know this information."
Then: "The Observer certainly won't write about it, so I am."

Interestingly, multiple attempts to reach Liles for direct comment have proven unsuccessful.

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The Granada Theater's Mike Schoder
Granada Theater owner Mike Schoder, however, briefly commented on Liles' accusations.

"Are you kidding?" Schoder asked, asserting that the Granada checks published show schedules to see if a band's booked elsewhere before approaching them; Schoder says that same method was applied in booking Air Review to the Portugal. The Man show, and that their web site never mentioned any other October 8 gig.

"It's the band," Schoder says. "You don't blame the venue for this."

On Wednesday morning, Air Review posted the following note to their Facebook page announcing their removal from the Kessler bill
"Hey DFWers - we're no longer playing with the Orbans and Analog Rebellion at Kessler Theater on October 8th. It's still going to be an amazing show but another opportunity came up that we couldn't refuse."
That opportunity, we now know, was at the Granada. Air Review frontman Douglas Hale and bassist Jeff Taylor agree with Schoder's opinion on where the blame for Liles' accusations lie. 

"It was completely our decision," Taylor says.

"We will take the responsibility for it," Hale adds.


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131 comments
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Antoinetty
Antoinetty

I stand corrected!  Jeff Taylor and Richard Carpenter of Air Review have been trying to email me since 9/15.  So, when I said in an earlier post that they have been silent, I was mistaken.  Jeff and Richard, I do appreciate the offer and the personal contact. 

George Berkeley
George Berkeley

So why is the Granada show more important than the Kessler show?There are two very distinct paradigms at work here. Business and Art. With business, decisions are made with one goal in mind. Maximum movement towards an apex that provides mass exposure and success. With art, the process of cultivation is an end to itself and exposure or expression of the art is equally relevant at all stages. The Business says: Portugal. The Man > The Orbans and Analog Rebellion.Art is more complicated and does not attempt to define relevance. The balance of art to business in the music industry is heavily weighted towards the business end. Does that mean that we need art to understand business more or the reverse? I believe the reverse is true. The Kessler, in my humble opinion, is a true art house. People connected to the artisan approach value different things for different reasons. They are also very passionate about their art. People connected to local music in an artisan way will continue to question the sincerity of Air Reviews intentions and therefore the sincerity of their words because of this action. That's just the damn truth in an artistic community. On the other hand, people who hear their music while in line at Six Flags will most likely not give a shit. 

Rocky Presley
Rocky Presley

I think that Air Review sincerely wanted to do a show with a greater amount of exposure. The art doesn't change because of where it is housed. The art is still the most important aspect.  Venues get this confused, as their bottom line is often the means for making decisions, being competitive, etc. That is business. The Kessler didn't respond to this issue because they lost an artist.  They responded because hey perceived another business was taking said artist from their business.  To say this is all about the art is disingenuous, although I completely agree with what you business has plenty to learn from art. ARs made a decision not on which band to open for was more artistic.  How do you do that anyway? From an exposure standpoint Portugal/The Man is indeed greater than The Orbans/Analog Rebellion. It's tantamount to displaying a piece of art work at a gallery over a coffee shop. The prestige and exposure is greater, thus benefiting both the artist and the broader appeal greater.

George Berkeley
George Berkeley

Those are valid points Rocky. You're right about the art being what it is in either setting. "It's not right or wrong it just is", as some say. I'm feebly attempting to ask the question, "How does this reflect our value system of art in the music community?" also "What patterns are we following and who is our mentor?" Separating art from business in a vacuum is just a way to attempt understanding. It's not a realistic scenario, because the two are codependent. Although, I really don't believe that exposure is an equation in determining artistic value. That's like saying the most beautiful flower is the one that most people see. It's impossible to concur either way. Hence the obscure Berkeley reference.

TEAM GRANADA
TEAM GRANADA

I think this hair has been split enough. 

George Berkeley
George Berkeley

Eek, "artists" and "rock and rollers", if I'm going to sound like a pompous ass I damn well better spell like one!

George Berkeley
George Berkeley

Also, to be fair, I would definitely put Air Review in the starving artists category and I definitely perceive them as artist's first and "roll and rollers" second. See, we are at opposing paradigms as I said. 

George Berkeley
George Berkeley

Just to be clear. Music is art before it is business. Also, there are other art appreciation communities outside of the elite. Most notably known as "starving artists". It's not a schtick to them.

TEAM GRANADA
TEAM GRANADA

Just to be clear, we are talking about rock and roll. There is no value system or mentorship program. That is kind of its schtick. Its value is found in the form and far less the function. Rock and Roll doesn't have a philanthropy community. Venue's don't have wine and cheese fund raisers. The mayor doesn't show up to rock shows. I think that if we are looking to that scene for values and mentoring, we will be disappointed every time, because Rock music has always been about thumbing their noses at the elite art community who typically espouse those values.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

I think you and@magic's  points on venue differences are only valid if the attributes of the people in the crowd are exactly the same, just the total number of people are different. However, if the people in the smaller venue are significantly more likely to see and support local live music than in the larger venue, the "business" part of your arguments do not hold water. In other words, did AR shoot themselves in the foot by switching to a venue full of people who are just there to see a national act, blow off the opening bands, and yack through the whole show (standard Granada crowd), vs. a more dedicated local music crowd?

George Berkeley
George Berkeley

I absolutely agree. Good artistic community leads to good business strength. People give good blood for what they believe in. I guess in my own scattered way, that's what I was trying to say. Thanks for streamlining it a little better. 

TEAM GRANADA
TEAM GRANADA

That's a great point Jon. It is always an uphill battle to gain fans while sustain your current fan base, and in the music industry, this is the way you do it. You buy into a larger show/tour with the hopes that people will listen, and many times, if the band is good enough, people will. I don't know of any group that isn't a pop sensation test tube band that didn't take this route. 

So did AR shoot themselves in the foot?  Maybe, but the chances of gaining new fans is far greater at the Granada show than at the Kessler show.  And for the record, the Dallas crowd yacks no matter which venue they frequent. 

East Dallas gal
East Dallas gal

Just want to say, "Thank God for the Kessler!" JL, you are doing a fabulous job. Please continue what you are doing, to help Dallas have a unique venue. When I want to listen to music, I prefer to hang out with an eccentric, diverse crowd, not the SMU, Texas good ole boy crowd.

Bucks Burnett
Bucks Burnett

KEEP IT DOWN - there is a presidential campaign gearing up! Leave some media space for Tha Tea Party!

Bucks Burnett
Bucks Burnett

This is waaaaay better than a Dallas City Council meeting!

Bucks Burnett
Bucks Burnett

JFK in the 60's, Watergate in the 70's, Lennon in the 80's, the L.A. riots in the 90's, 9-11 in the double 00's, and now THIS in the terrible '10's.

TEAM GRANADA
TEAM GRANADA

So, Jeff, where did you think Air Review was going to play that wasn't a competitor to your venue? The AAC? Maybe Jerry World? If a local band cancels a local show because they got a better show, odds are it's still going to be local. Bands cancel gigs all the time for whatever reason they see fit...better shows, a new flag tattoo, a skinny jeans consult, couldn't afford gas in the 1982 Ford Econoline...I am struggling to figure out why a band canceling a "local showcase" they were an opener for is a big deal. Haters blaming Air Review is ridiculous. Clubs blaming other clubs is equally so. The Kessler needs to put on their big boy pants and go to the source rather than ranting on Facebook. Is this Jr. High? Pick up the phone.  Give Granada a call. Grow a spine to match the dreads. This pissing contest between two venues is tiresome and typical for Dallas. Loved the Team Granada/Team Kessler shirts.  That is about as mature and important as this conversation has been.

TEAM GRANADA out.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Both of you...I just suggested this on Jeff's facebook:

I think the only thing that'll settle this is a charity boxing match between you two kids..Both of you put up cash, whomever loses gives to the winners charity..it does two things: A) gets this pissing match out of your blood and B)helps out the community...I say pick a neutral site and just do it...

Liles
Liles

Mike, if you guys would prefer to have this conversation in public, I'd rather do it on a platform that is a little less prejudiced, like Facebook. DC9 has been running interference for your bullshit for years now. (We've done 200+ shows at The Kessler and your Man Friday Pete Freedman has been to less than five of them.) As per the norm, rather than actually getting in his car and driving across the river to ask me about something face-to-face, he did what he always does, which is covering our story over the phone. Predictably, he twisted some everyday shit into hysterical, manufactured tabloid click-through traffic for his blog. So I'm done providing ticky-tack disposable content for Village Voice Media and desperate hack music editors who are too dumb and afraid to write about real music. Go ahead and post something on my Facebook page and we'll discuss it there like adults. Courageous haters will have the opportunity to step up and properly own their own opinions as well. (And let's see how many of them actually show up, or make lame excuses here for not doing so.)

TEAM GRANADA
TEAM GRANADA

FYI, this isn't Mike. TEAM GRANADA was in response to the t-shirts. That makes me laugh.

Jenny Mason
Jenny Mason

I love the Kessler. I really do... but dude... you're Facebook page isn't a PUBLIC conversation... it's a closed conversation on a closed network, limited to those people who are your "friends" on Facebook...

I'd guess that an open comments section on an open web page, accessible to everyone including those who do not have Facebook, is a little less "prejudiced" than your friends list on Facebook. 

TEAM GRANADA
TEAM GRANADA

Everybody loves the grammar police.  Seriously. The masses celebrate YOUR existence   

StrunkAndWhite
StrunkAndWhite

In your first sentence, it's "your" (possessive), not "you're" (you are).  Feel free to bookmark this page for future reference.

TEAM GRAMMAR OUT

reason
reason

"So I'm done providing ticky-tack disposable content for Village Voice Media and desperate hack music editors who are too dumb and afraid to write about real music"

somehow i doubt it

Pete Freedman
Pete Freedman

Jeff: I called you three times, texted you three times and Facebook messaged you on top of that. You never responded. I was supposed to drive to your doorstep, too?

Soundbear
Soundbear

I know they guys in Air Review and can vouch for the integrity. And I have had the pleasure and opportunity to work at the Grenada, on a professional level both go above and beyond. I can not talk about the Kessler as I have never been there. But as for the Grenada being a mediocre venue that is not the truth, they have a killer sound rig. And I can honestly say this giving that I am a professional sound guy. And as far as all the bashing on one another come on now.  

Antoinetty
Antoinetty

Wow...I totally misunderstood the meaning of the word integrity! I thought it meant that you stick by your word and honor your commitments.  You know, do the right thing and all and not screw over your fans.  Guess I was wrong!

Soundbear
Soundbear

Well we have to remember a band is a business like The Kessler as well as The Grenada. And some times in business you have to make choice's that not everyone likes. And some times bands have to decide what is the best choice for their "business". I can honestly say that Air Review had no intentions of screwing over anyone and has said that it clearly rests on them not The Grenada.

TEAM GRANADA
TEAM GRANADA

Antoinetty isn't a fan of Air Review. Her panties are firmly wadded on Jeff's behalf. 

Disclaimer : TEAM GRANADA has no official connection to the Granada or loyalty to any particular venue...just in case Jeff gets confused again and challenges Mike to a dance off.

Antoinetty
Antoinetty

Well, I have an AR CD (which I dearly love)  sitting on the front seat of my car but no Cottonmouth, Texas.  Go figure.  

Steph
Steph

Hmm. "screw over your fans" is a bit over the top. I am a long time fan of AR and so are lots of my friends and we are excited about their opportunity to play with PTM. We want them to be successful. Plus i got a refund.

Antoinetty
Antoinetty

 Like I said previously: that's your opinion and everybody has one.   I'm sure you've heard that saying about opinions, assholes and the like.  And you know what, I bet no one gives a shit about yours or mine, whether it's our opinions or our assholes.   

TEAM GRANADA
TEAM GRANADA

Because their FANS do not care. Record labels do not care. The Observer doesn't care. Every venue in Dallas doesn't care, even the Kessler whose beef is with Granada. And because you aren't any of those people, no one cares for your opinion either.

Disclaimer : TEAM GRANADA has no official connection to the Granada or loyalty to any particular venue...lest Jeff starts posting momma jokes about Mike on his FBook feed.

Antoinetty
Antoinetty

Somehow I don't see how ditching The Kessler to play The Granada is going to further their career and enhance their success, especially when it puts into question their ability to make a commitment and honor it. I'll think twice before I buy tickets to see them again regardless of how much I love their music.    

Steve
Steve

Long time AR fan too.  I want them to be successful, yes.  Unethical, no. It was unethical plain and simple.  I wish them the best as always. 

Richard Benjamin Pearson III
Richard Benjamin Pearson III

And this is what the Dallas music scene has become. So glad I got to be a part of the music scene when there was one. Who the hell get's their story from a FaceBook post? I guess the headlines for next weeks story is that Ricky Pearson just checked in to Happy Feet to get a foot massage. That sounds like more fun than going to see a bunch of kewl local bands. P.S. Go see David Lindley, he is not local. He will be playing in Oak Cliff.

Mr. UEAPP to you
Mr. UEAPP to you

Formality and authoritarian is many times precieved as "unprofessional, entitled, pushy, arrogant asshats" !....or perhaps one's preception does truly mirrors one's own reflection?

seavermike
seavermike

Air Review is what happens when Radiant and Hendrick have a baby. Still, they are better than Seryn. Good one, Denton.

GTKTLOL
GTKTLOL

LOL. Look, Granada was looking for a decent, compatible opener. They thought of Air Review and gave them a call. Band said," uhh...open for Portugal. The Man...uhh yeah we would love to! Yeah we got nothing to do that night, see you then!" Call to Liles, "hey man we are really really sorry Jeff, but we were offered this gig and that means that about 100 more people that have never heard of us will be there to forget who we are after Portugal. The Man plays, but we gotta take that show because we want to hang with the rock stars." Jeff is now mad that band bailed, but instead of blaming them for dumping one girlfriend for another, he decides to make the Granada the douchebag. The reality is the band dumped you for a hotter screw Jeff. That's all.   

Soundpam
Soundpam

From what I can tell, this is about a mediocre band who has no integrity & about a mediocre venue that has long had carte blanche & so has never had to act with integrity. No wonder we're the joke of the national market (everybody in the music business beyond local Dallas knows what I'm talking about.) I'm completely on Jeff's side here - ckudo's for the amazing, so professional, so un-Dallas-like job you've done with the Kessler!  Just because this town has run solely on the coke & party buddy system up til now, that doesn't mean it's right or good for the Dallas music scene. Of course, it also means you're not gonna get a fair hearing on the Observer website, if you know what I mean....

Kdawg
Kdawg

There's a lot of truth to what you say, Soundpam. However, to insinuate that the Kessler/Liles won't get a fair hearing on the Obsserver site/by the Observer is silly. The Observer has done nothing, from what I can tell, but go out of its way to support both the Kessler and (especially) Liles in each of their endeavors. The Observer has practically given free, valuable, publicity for nearly ever venture/project Liles has been involved with for the last 20+ years. It's also acted as his mouthpiece and even bully pulpit from time to time. And as far as the Kessler is concerned, I've seen only positive to glowing reviews and mentions of the Kessler since even before its opening.

Soundpam
Soundpam

Then why isn't there a mention of Kessler gigs on the DC-9 weekend preview post? Even though the Kessler lineup this weekend is better than any of the others (except maybe Hank III), there's no mention. Sorry, but the Observer plays favorites.

Daniel Hopkins
Daniel Hopkins

A few excerpts from this week's Good Friday, DC9's weekend preview post:

Joseph Arthur, James HallSaturday, September 17, at The Kessler TheaterRenaissance man Joseph Arthur will be at The Kessler on Saturday. Known for his prolific songwriting and ventures into other art forms such as painting, Arthur will be supported by James Hall, the ultimate rock 'n' roll frontman. If you've never seen Hall perform, it's quite inspiring. He's got everything Mick Jagger has except the fame and the money.

Wanda Jackson, Kristy KrugerFriday, September 16, at The Kessler TheaterLast time Wanda Jackson came through, she had The King Bucks as her backing band. Not sure what the sitch is going to be like this time, but The Bucks won't be there. Nevertheless, she's an amazing showperson and probably has a crack backing band lined up. 

I'd say these are pretty favorable to The Kessler, no?

Kdawg
Kdawg

Look, the Kessler lineup being better is purely subjective. Maybe whoever compiles the weekend preview post doesn't share your tastes. I have a newsflash for you, they rarely, if ever, mention any show that I think is best. But I don't think it's a conspiracy or purposive in the least. I think the Observer goes through a stable of writers/contributors every two years; each group mainly participates in group-think; they all, on the whole, have the same taste; therefore wherever said taste happens to be playing, that's what gets posted. Maybe you work at or are involved with someone at the Kessler, I don't know. And if that's the case, then I doubt there's any pleasing you. And that's fine. But if it isn't the case, I do think you're overreacting. Anyway, I'm done here.

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