LOGAN SQUARE — The new owners of the Concord Music Hall tried to reassure anxious area residents Wednesday, telling them that the venue's focus would not be electronic dance music.
Concord is replacing VLive, which presented electronic music at the space at 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave. Those shows angered neighbors as they attracted a clientele who would party well into the night — and well into residential areas.
"I think the best comparison we can make is the House of Blues," Concord partner Nick Karounos told a gathering of about 30 people at the venue. Referring to that River North venue, he said Concord hopes to offer a similar variety of musical acts.
Three concert promotions firms — React Presents, Silver Wrapper and Riot Fest — announced last week that they would be buying VLive and converting it into a concert venue with a capacity of 700 to 1,600.
"We want this to be an establishment that the community is proud of," Karounos said. "We understand our livelihood and success depends on the community being happy."
Karounos said the venue would also be taking over the CVS parking lot, which VLIve and the Congress had previously used to ease parking and traffic on Milwaukee Avenue during events.
He also tried to assure residents that a restrictive covenant followed by VLive would be adopted by Concord, and is keeping VLive attorney Dimitri Christopoulos on to make sure promises are kept.
Some of the tenets of the restrictive covenant include providing a minimum of 500 parking spaces for event goers, maintaining good security and lighting around the venue and providing a 24-hour hotline for neighbors to call if there's a problem.
Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) said he thought Concord was on the right track.
"I think the concept of more diverse music offerings is a good thing and that it's not going to be a nightclub," he said.
Though, he added, the "proof will be in the pudding."
"On paper it looks good," Moreno said. "But obviously we're going to have to see how they operate."
So far, the new owners haven't made any physical changes to the space, which will have its first concert Thursday night featuring Adam Ant.
It still very much has the feel of a nightclub with booths and tables throughout the room as well as a bar along the wall to the left of the stage and directly behind the main floor. But the new owners said they would be ripping out those booths and may move the bars and extend the stage to make it a bit bigger.
Other than that they said the changes would be mostly cosmetic.
As for food, they said they eventually hoped to offer "pizza and pizza-type stuff."