Entertainment

New Tacoma music venue will offer a variety of genres and showcase emerging talent

The Town is coming to Tacoma.

That’s the name of what will be the city’s newest entertainment venue in a renovated space that was most recently the Backstage Bar & Grill on Sixth Avenue.

The three men behind The Town are busy remodeling and updating the space with a grand opening sometime this winter. They are determined to make it a multi-genre music center — and then some.

Freddie Darden Jr., 30; Herschel Veal Jr., 28; and Dave Regenfuss, 35, are the three partners in the venture. Darden and Veal have music production and performance backgrounds. Regenfuss oversees the financial aspects. The men have been renovating the space for several months.

Prior to The Town, the partners produced a 2014 series of sold-out shows at the Cultura Events Center in South Tacoma.

They say they want to make The Town a showcase for unheralded local talent.

“We’re really trying to stay away from the night club image. The night club thing is cool, but it really doesn’t give anybody anything,” Darden said. “We’re trying to help artists around here get somewhere. Because we know how hard it is.”

The Town also will host events, private parties and music workshops, Darden said.

The Town features a raised central stage with a new sound system and mixing board, a bar, and a dance floor that accommodates 300 to 600 people. They eventually hope to have a kitchen. With a two-year lease, the trio are footing the renovation costs themselves.

Darden, also known as “Freddie Fingerz” when making beats, met Regenfuss and Veal while working in the Stryker division at General Dynamics Land Systems. Darden and Veal have overlapping and disparate musical tastes that cover pop, rock, jazz, R&B and hip hop.

Veal’s and Darden’s performance backgrounds are the motivation for helping emerging talent get in the spotlight.

“I never really felt that there was a platform for local artists in Tacoma,” Darden said. “I thought if I could give people a platform, and have one of their own be the owner, then we could help more people succeed.

“There’s a lot of talent here. But people just don’t have the platform to show their talent,” he said.

In their bookings, the men are concentrating on bringing in national headliners in hip hop, R&B, pop, rock, reggae and Latin. “Obviously people are going to concentrate on headliners. Then if we fill with locals underneath them, they’re going to get their exposure,” Darden said.

House band D1 will play during unplugged events and provide back up for artists. Aspiring artists will receive a video and audio track of their performance, Darden said.

Darden knows music venues are difficult to sustain, but he’s not discouraged. “You can put up anything, get people in here and take the cheap money,” he said.

The partners are instead focusing on a business they hope can lead to more venues in Tacoma. “We’re going to keep our eyes on the goal,” Darden said.

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