Rock at the Paramount

Published 2:41 pm Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Paramount Theatre in Austin has proven time and time again how versatile it is when it comes to providing live entertainment.

Plays, singing acts and general entertainment acts have graced the historic stage in its time.

However, it took an April concert to show that the Paramount has even more to offer.

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Music acts at the Paramount generally play to an older audience, leaving the younger demographic very few options when it comes to acts they can relate to.

In April, Brian “Head” Welch, formerly of Korn, performed a sold-out show with opening acts Children 18:3 and The Classic Crime. The energy generated was electric and it proved that the Paramount is a fantastic venue for acts such as these.

Paramount manager Scott Anderson, who also plays bass for the group Plan B, saw the attraction of bringing in these kind of acts and how the show played out only reinforced his ideas.

“(That night), it was some cool stuff,” Anderson said. “There was energy.”

The Paramount proved almost immediately that it could handle the sounds and power music the three acts play, providing yet another positive for bringing those kinds of bands in.

“We can do lots of different things there,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t too loud and the sound was good.”

It can’t be overlooked that a large part of why this show was so popular is name recognition. Before turning a rocky, drug-filled, destructive life around and turning to Christianity, Welch was part of the nu-metal powerhouse Korn, which erupted in the 90s and spearheaded the genre.

Their music was brutal and unwavering and put the members on the international map. Knowing that a former member of Korn was coming to Austin helped fuel ticket sales.

“The reason this was so good was the guy was incredibly famous,” Anderson said. “How do you get someone like that without spending an arm and a leg.”

And there within lies the most pressing issue for the Paramount – finding acts. Being non-profit handicaps efforts to bring in acts that would appeal to younger audiences.

“(Acts) cost a lot of money, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the act,” Anderson said. “We have to be able to make it financially make sense.”

It also brings up a question of what to bring in and what youth would respond to.

“Just knowing what would appeal,” Anderson said. “Heavy metal would, but which band. That’s a challenge of everything.”

A challenge perhaps, but now there is fuel. It may be just a matter of patience.

“It’s just added more enthusiasm to consider it more,” Anderson said. “The challenge is attracting young people.”

The Paramount itself can speak for itself. The backdrop, with its castle faade, adds a terrific ambiance to acts at the Paramount.

Head even endorsed the venue.

“Right when I walked in I knew this is where I want to play,” Welch said after the April show. “You had this castle thing going on, the energy was off the hook. I want to come back. It was a trip.”

“It doesn’t get any better to have a famous person compliment the Paramount,” Anderson said who by now is used to hearing the Paramount’s praises. “It’s such a cool place. It has a vibe that is just cool.”

Whether or not the Paramount will be able to attract more acts catering to younger crowds remains to be seen, but it certainly is on the radar now.

If anything, more shows like the Head show in April, would bring even more substance to an already popular venue.

“Having more rock and roll would create a balance, because we don’t do it,” Anderson said.