At my age I’ve been to plenty of rock venues around the area, including surrounding states. Among my favorites are the infamous Alrosa Villa (Columbus, Ohio), The Machine Shop (Flint, Michigan), The Agora (Cleveland) and Piere’s Entertainment Center (Fort Wayne, Indiana).
All four, while different in layout, have or had several things in common. First and foremost, the ownership knows how to treat their clientele. They know where their bread is buttered. But they also know in order to keep the customer happy they have to present a great show. And in that regards, they all know they have to keep the entertainment happy. And those two combined, equals success.
Unfortunately, Alrosa Villa is no longer in use. That has left a huge void in the Columbus music scene as well as my soul. Sure, there are plenty of smaller venues that feature local acts and also national ones. But there was just something about the Alrosa that was unique and kept you coming back for more.
Piere’s has had their troubles over the years but recently fell under new ownership and is hopefully rising like the Phoenix from the ashes. I mean that literally, because part of the complex was hit with a fire and was shut down.
I’ve seen clubs come and go over the years as well. In fact, there have been two incredible places in Findlay, Ohio that have opened and closed due to issues with a noise ordinance. Evidently, Findlay is this areas Bomont, Oklahoma (town in the movie Footloose). Anyway, I digress.
All of the above leads me to the real reason for this article and that would be THE KING OF CLUBS, a new venue that opened just north of where Alrosa stood.
Ricky and Angela Wolf fulfilled their dream when the doors for THE KING OF CLUBS opened on March 12, 2021. That date was actually a day earlier than was originally set but the demand was so high for tickets they moved the soft opening up a 24 hours. Both days completely sold out and for good reason.
THE KING OF CLUBS is an amazing venue in which to watch a rock show or any live show for that matter. The place has an absolutely amazing setup, beginning with a huge stage that can handle about any band that you can think of.
Due to the current restrictions the main floor as well as the balcony followed the six-foot social distancing with their tables (will be removed once said restrictions are lifted). However, the tables came in handy when the patrons ordered a delicious pie from the kitchen. Being the pizza (actually any food) connoisseur I am, I’ll have to tell you, it was quite tasty.
The alcoholic beverages that were consumed in our area (the balcony) were ice cold and priced extremely well. They were also served up lickety-split by the outstanding staff.
Our view for the performance was awesome. We could see the entire stage as well as the floor without any obstacles. The sound system was above excellent. Whether it was the musical filler between acts of the actual live acts, it was loud and crisp.
Whenever I talk about a venue, the restrooms are not high on my priority list. However, the lavatory in THE KING OF CLUBS is a spacious immaculate area; at least on the men’s side; I can’t speak for the other genders room. There are six urinals and three thrones (pun intended). And the place was as spotless as a public latrine can be.
Ricky Wolf not only is an owner of the club but his band, XFactor1, was the headliner for both nights. XF1 has been through many changes over the years but whatever rendition you hear, they rock the place and that was no different on this night. One thing that was noticeably different was a two-song moment in which Angela Wolf and two other club staff joined the band on the stage. It was a pretty cool thing to witness.
Two bands that I had never heard before opened the festivities. Nine Mile Silence out of Marion got things started with a raucous set. They were heavy and in-your-face and laid down a gauntlet for the other three bands to follow. Fortunately for the audience; the trio that took the stage next were up to the challenge.
Artifax were not as heavy as their predecessor but they were unbelievable. Lead vocalist, Bash Shock, has a wide range and exudes enthusiasm. This band has a bright future.
Taking the stage before XF1 was Liquid6Teen. The band was performing for the first time in over a year-and-half and they didn’t miss a beat. Like their Facebook page states ‘hard rock/metal played with passion and aggression, that’s what they delivered. They were the perfect band to set up the headliners.
Wolf also known as Q-Ball, still has the fervor that he had the first time that I saw him. Joe Bobb on bass is as good as it gets. I would put his talent up against anyone. The remainder of the new version of the band includes David ‘Moses’ Mosley (guitar), Shawn ‘Tex’ Secen (guitar) and Cody ‘King Tut’ Tuttle (drums). Together they totally rocked the house.
All the bands that played on this Saturday night did an outstanding job. However, the star of the night belonged to THE KING OF CLUBS itself. I’m not sure I can find enough adjectives to describe how much I enjoyed place. If the talk that I heard as I meandered around the club was any indication, I wasn’t the only one.
On Sunday of the same weekend the owners showed their want to not only be the premiere concert venue in the state, but also the most versatile, when they hosted a local high school’s School of Rock. Four separate acts from the school put on a performance in front of capacity crowd. What a feeling those young rockers had to have felt.
Upcoming shows at the club includes Music & Mayhem this Saturday featuring Corrosive Vengeance, Waragon, Thirty One Thirty and Dressed in Electric.
Columbus staple, 8lb Pressure, performs to a sold-out crowd on April 3rd. They will be joined by Audiocide, A Common Crow and Pay The Toll. Two weeks later Jesse James (Jackyl) & Dixie Inc. will be in the house.
May will see more national acts coming to town including Tantric (7th & 8th), Struggle Jennings (10th) and The Wild Feathers (14th).
As you can see the venue isn’t just for rock. No matter the genre that you’re in to, THE KING OF CLUBS will be the place to go in not only Central Ohio but the entire state. With the likes of Ryan McRobie (general manager as well as light and sound production), David ‘Silent Dave’ Morris (stage manager and house photographer) and the rest of the amazing staff, the Wolf’s have an absolute winner on their hands.
I truly believe that given time, THE KING OF CLUBS, will be mentioned in the same breath as the first four venues that I mentioned. Don’t take my word for it; get off the couch and head over to 6252 Busch Blvd. in Columbus and see for yourself.
Until next time this is Big L saying ‘keep those horns up and rock on!! \m/ \m/