All-ages music venues Cafe Colonial and The Colony to shutter in November


Colonial Complex owner Matthew Marrujo said they won’t be cancelling any shows before it closes in two months. This is your next chance to come out.


By Anthony Siino

Another year, another brutal loss looms for our music scene. Today owner Matthew Marrujo announced that Cafe Colonial and The Colony, two adjoined venues for all-ages arts, are slated to shutter on November 17.

“This was not an easy choice to make, this place is my home and the people here are my family,” Marrujo wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. “With constant change and lack of funds it has been almost impossible to make the kind of money we need to keep going.”

The venues, known for their deeply DIY approach to building a community space and their openness to hosting nearly anything that local artists and bookers could come up with, will continue to host all shows already announced, including the 22nd NorCal NoiseFest October 5-7.

Many bands and promoters used Cafe Colonial and the Colony as bases to try out new performances and to organize ambitious arts and culture causes. The punk-centered Sacramento Lady Fest incubated and launched here; the formerly-of-this-city-but-still-loved-as-if-they-remained band Destroy Boys played some of their formative shows here. Big names in underground scenes also came through, both before and after they’d hit bigger stages – nationally beloved doom wizards Khemmis played the Cafe to 10 absolutely entranced people right after their first album dropped, and the living legends of The Body and Thou shrieked through an insane collaborative set amid the graffiti-covered walls of The Colony. Punks will tell stories of the Colonial Complex for decades to come, and more than one will cry while doing so. In 10 years you’ll read some Sacramento kid gone national in the pages of a glossy culture rag waxing wistful on the first time they got domed in a Colony pit, and you’ll wonder where the hell you were.

With their closures, the area’s list of all-ages venues shrinks, leaving a void in place of  these anarchic, youth-focused and youth-driven havens for working-class touring bands and fledgling teenage noise freaks in search of a stage and vegan junk food. The venues now join the relatively recently shuttered and much beloved venues Starlite Lounge, the bastion for extreme metal that closed last summer, and Casa de Chaos, the punk house of lore that hosted its final basement show in December 2017.

The all-ages banner will stay aloft in Sacramento, thankfully, for the efforts of youth-inclusive venues including The Silver Orange, Holy Diver, Sol Collective and more. Love them while they’re here.

It’s not too late to pay tribute to these local institutions. The next show is an El Crusty Cristo production, a Friday night seven-band grind marathon of 15-minute sets headlined by LA powerviolence rippers Twitch and opened by fresh local powerviolence and noise bands Hugo Sanchez and No More. Doors at 8 p.m., $7 donation for entry.

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