When Downtown’s Bunkhouse Saloon closed without warning on July 20, the loss of a key off-Strip music space brought with it a more immediate concern: What would become of the venue’s slate of upcoming shows?
Vegas music fans now have their answer. The majority of them will go on, the result of a new partnership between promoters Rehan Choudhry (the Cosmopolitan’s original entertainment director and the founder of Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful Festival) and Downtown Project’s Mike Henry (the Bunkhouse’s former talent buyer), along with concert-industry titan Live Nation, the sponsoring Greenspun Media Group (the Weekly’s parent company) and Downtown Container Park, and the shows’ new home: the Sayers Club inside SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.
Beginning with LA folk-rock quartet Dawes on August 8, the 250-capacity Sayers Club will open its doors to more than 15 acts—indie-pop band The Drums (August 18), the post-punky Savages (August 21), heavy-rock stalwarts the Melvins (August 29), Danish alterna-rock outfit Mew (September 19), spoken-word ace Saul Williams (September 21), experimentalists Deerhoof (November 5) and more—a development Choudhry hopes can shift perceptions about Las Vegas’ ability to support interesting live acts outside the mainstream.
“The Bunkhouse closing felt tragic, because from a local music fan’s perspective, it’s an indicator for the future of music in Vegas. Seeing that shut down doesn’t feel like a good thing for what’s next,” Choudhry says. “For Mike and I, saving these shows was as much a way to prove to the market that if you have the right strategy in place, you can do really well on these kind of acts—the fans can get music, the venues can do well—and more of this stuff can happen.”
Choudhry says he and Henry began strategizing about relocating the shows as a reaction to chatter surrounding the decision to shutter the Bunkhouse—owned by Downtown Project and operated since January 1 by Corner Bar Management—less than a year after it reopened following a massive renovation.
“People were saying, live music just isn’t gonna work, or you can’t sell a ticket in Las Vegas, or it’s too competitive, or small venues don’t work, or Downtown’s not big enough. As soon as that word starts spreading and people start believing it, there’s an entire category of music you’re not gonna see here anymore.”
Tickets for all Bunkhouse Series concerts, including previously unannounced shows from the Legendary Shack Shakers (a late show on September 21), The Lemonheads (September 23) and Doomtree with Astronautalis (October 18)—all booked just prior to the Bunkhouse’s closure—go on sale today at 10 a.m. through thesayersclublv.com and ticketmaster.com. Prices range from $10 to $25. Previously purchased Bunkhouse tickets for the same acts transfer over, or can be redeemed for refunds.
“This doesn’t bring the Bunkhouse back from the dead, and we’re not pretending it does,” Henry says. “But Sayers is not completely dissimilar to Bunkhouse—it’s a great room with great production, and you’ll still be up close and personal with the bands.”
August 8: Dawes with John Moreland
August 11: Happyness
August 18: The Drums with Froth
August 21: Savages
August 29: Melvins with Big Business
September 19: Mew with The Dodos
September 21: Saul Williams
September 21: Legendary Shack Shakers (late show)
September 23: The Lemonheads
October 7: The Mynabirds with Bad Bad Hats
October 18: Doomtree with Astronautalis
November 5: Deerhoof with Dy Dune, The Anti-Job
November 11: In the Valley Below
November 18: The Polyphonic Spree
Note: The Growlers' previously scheduled September 11 and 12 Bunkhouse shows have been combined into one September 12 performance, which will take place at Vinyl inside the Hard Rock Hotel. Henry says work continues on placing several other shows, including Swervedriver, Bronco and Gardens & Villa. The weekend after the Bunkhouse closed, Same Sex Mary's show moved to Fremont Country Club, and Melt-Banana and Torche moved to Backstage Bar & Billiards.