Always wear Doc Martens to a rock bar, fashion trends be damned. Ink Fridays briefly relaunched inside Sinister Rock Bar on Friday the 13th (eek!) with veteran Vegas metal band Hemlock bringing the fans out in droves—including one rather large fellow who jumped directly on my foot. My Converse provided inadequate protection.
Before the foot-stomping incident left me incapacitated around the band’s second song, sending promoter Pulsar (aka Patrick Trout, aka my hero for the night) searching for an ice pack, I had a chance to check out Sinister. The space at 1700 E. Flamingo Road, which formerly housed clubs SRO and 702, was packed inside, with both bodies and nostalgia. Someone smoked cloves in a side room near a creepy fireplace that had our photographer, Aaron Thompson, wondering if Beetlejuice might emerge. I was reminded of defunct local venues the Rock and the Boston, minus my then-underage self’s need to sneak in. Though it’s newly opened, there’s a distinct grittiness to Sinister, as if it had existed in its current incarnation for years, complete with flooded restroom and an overall layer of indistinguishable grime. It felt perfect.
Sure, there was a new coat of red-and-black paint, but its quality made me wonder if Hemlock’s members—notorious for guerrilla spray-paint marketing—had been employed to help. Tables reading “Kiss Hookah Lounge” (the previous tenant’s name) were still present, plus random lip-print appliqués remained throughout the club. Fortunately, rock fans don’t give a rat’s ass about aesthetics, as long as they can drink, smoke and create a wall of death in the pit area (yes, at Sinister they can do all three).
Sinister’s first—and as we would soon find out, last—Ink Friday could be deemed a success, though I have to wonder if the crowded conditions were due more to a successful promotions campaign or to the occasion of Hemlock’s original-lineup reunion. Regardless, just before press time on Tuesday, the proverbial shit hit the fan. Promoter Case Colcord texted to say—and Sinister GM Rob Nelson soon confirmed—that, for a variety of reasons, Ink Fridays would no longer take place at the club. Sinister owner Dave Satory says he “intends to continue doing live shows” (including Friday nights), and Colcord and co-promoter Mark Hornsby intend to continue staging Ink Fridays at a venue to be determined, beginning with a special edition on March 13 at Wasted Space.
Drama aside, I’ll probably return to Sinister for another show, as the venue fills a hole in the local scene. I’ll just be sure to wear steel-toed boots and hide in the corner next time.