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Quashing persistent rumors that Old Ironsides would stop playing live music, staff told The Sacramento Press Thursday that the bar now has its own sound system, and concerts are booked into November.
“For the record, we were never without a sound system,” said Mark “Gonzo” Gonzales, a manager for the establishment and also the man handling most of the booking for shows.
In late June, there were rumors that the iconic establishment at 10th and S streets would no longer be hosting live music, which has been a mainstay of the business for 21 years.
Gonzales said the old sound system, which had been leased, was taken out June 19, and a new sound system was being looked at, but in the meantime, a different sound system was being rented.
The new sound system went on line June 29, Gonzales said.
Bartender Art Rodriguez said having the sound system is an important aspect of the business.
“It means a lot to me to have a new one, because the owners don’t have to pay the rent on the old one,” he said. “When I found out how much money they were paying for the lease (on the old sound system), it was incredible.”
Rodriguez declined to give an exact amount, but characterized the lease as “quite a bit.”
He said the sound system, which consists of a Yamaha sound board, two bass speakers and several powered speakers, is smaller than the one that was leased, but anything more in the small space would be overkill.
“All the people who have come into the venue really like it,” he said.
Only one live band show had been held with the new sound system by Thursday afternoon, Gonzales said, though there had been a few open mic nights as well.
Local alternative/R&B/rock band Red Velvet Kiss played at the venue with the new sound system in place, playing on July 22.
“It was decent,” said Vincent Scola, lead guitarist for Red Velvet Kiss. “It’s not as good as the last sound system, but it still did the job. I was happy with it.”
Scola added that he would play at Old Ironsides again, and he said it’s valuable to have as a live music venue.
“You cant have too many live venues,” he said.
Mick Stevenson, owner of Dad’s Sandwiches at 13th and S streets, said he is glad Old Ironsides has a new sound system and will continue to provide live music.
“It’s crucial in this town,” he said. “It’s not always my neighborhood watering hole, but all three of my bands have played there a lot.”
Stevenson has played in the bands Nevada Backwards, Sam Sobriety and BLVD Park.
“(Old Ironsides is) definitely our competition as far as restaurants go,” he added. “But I know everyone in there, and having them here is a benefit to everyone. The Old Ironsides guys talk about us, and we let people know about them.”
Stevenson added that he thinks having Gonzales book bands for the venue is a good move as well.
“Bartenders know what bands bring in the money,” he said. “It should be good. I’m glad they’re up and running.”
Rodriguez said the live music has helped the restaurant and bar succeed in the current economy.
“It’s very important,” he said. “I’ve been here for 28 years, and I’ve seen Old Ironsides grow from not having any entertainment ... As far as nightlife, (the music) has really helped.”
Gonzales said that no one should worry about Old Ironsides going anywhere.
“We’ve been around a long time,” he said. “Come in and hear the new sound system and support the local bands.”
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.