Assembly Music Hall managers to leave next month, venue's fate unknown

Once again, changes are coming to Sacramento’s live music scene and life on K Street.

Eric Rushing and Bret Bair, owners of Ace of Spades and major players in local entertainment, are walking away from Assembly Music Hall at the end of November. The pair had been managing the venue, including booking its talent, since its opening in 2013.

“We just weren’t making money,” Bair said. “We weren’t building equity because we don’t own it.”

Unlike some of their other ventures, Rushing and Bair didn’t hold the lease to Assembly. That belongs to Paragary Restaurant Group. Callista Wengler, Paragary’s marketing director, said the owners aren’t ready to comment on the venue’s fate.

The news comes on the heels of the closure of fellow K Street-dweller Marilyn’s on K. That music venue is celebrating its final day on Saturday, Nov. 1 with free live music all day long.

At 9,000 square feet, Assembly Music Hall has brought plenty of big names over the past couple years, including stops by the Black Lips, Bombay Bicycle Club, OK Go, ZZ Ward and Turquoise Jeep. Its final month is packed and varied: metalcore and Finch with indie rockers Maps & Atlases (Nov. 6), rock band Relient K (Nov. 9), English electronic dance producer Gareth Emery (Nov. 21) local soul powerhouse James Cavern & the Council (Nov. 26), rapper Kreayshawn (Nov. 28), reggae and hip-hop group the Holdup (Nov. 30). Plus the Sizzling Sirens burlesque troupe’s final event at the venue (Nov. 15) and a stand-up comedy night with Tig Notaro (Nov. 17). Bair said this October through November have been some of the most profitable months yet, but he and Rushing want to build a business elsewhere.

Where might elsewhere be? Rumors are circulating that Bair and Rushing might purchase Witch Room, the reincarnation of Bows & Arrows. Bair confirmed that there have been discussions, but said nothing has been decided just yet. He expects to know about Witch Room—or a different space they find—in the next month or so.

“With losing Assembly, we have definitely been looking for a smaller venue to complement Ace of Spades,” he said.

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