As word circulated around social media over the New Year’s Day break that the lights were officially off at Westport’s Beaumont Club, I began to weigh the potential reasons why that may or may not be true. While representatives for the venue still have not made an official comment as of the writing of this blog, it’s all but confirmed. The brother of one of my former roommates was a higher-up on the Beaumont Club’s staff, and was informed of the venue’s closure via Facebook. He still hasn’t been directly contacted by his employer.
Putting the bitterness aside, my mind then went to nostalgia. I’ve had some great times inside, and outside of, that building over the years. This even predates my move to Kansas City, as part of one of my weekend trips across the state included seeing Sebastian Bach (of Skid Row fame) back in early 1999. Nearly 14 years later, I’ve lost count of the various bands I’ve seen there. Kottonmouth Kings on multiple occasions. Multiple hair metal bands, including Poison’s Bret Michaels on his solo tour, and Ratt very shortly after 9/11. A full-scale performance from alt-rockers Ludo after an acoustic mini-set earlier that day at the Apple store. A reformed and touring Green Jello/Jelly, with whom I joined on-stage for the band’s performance of Three Little Pigs. I saw Christian rock band Stryper at the Beaumont Club, during which I was approached by a random girl and asked out on a church date. I wish I could say I was making this up (there were witnesses).
In mentioning the roommate’s brother earlier, there were also various occasions that we would stop by the venue when he was on-duty just to visit and mingle. Often times while the club was in country mode, and the mechanical bull in the back of the place was seeing action. While the setup of Beaumont’s main performance area wasn’t the best, and offered some awkward sightlines in the upper bar area, it was still my primary reason for ever visiting the Westport district.
Alas, too many things led to the downfall of Beaumont. Noise complaints from neighbors during the attempts at outdoor summer shows. Venues like the Uptown, and especially the remodeled Midland Theater, became much more attractive for touring acts and could draw the same/larger crowds. The “living room” area of the Power & Light District’s hosting of weekly country themed events, along with various free concerts during the summer, stole plenty of what used to be BC’s audience. If bands weren’t skipping over Beaumont and going to P&L for an outdoor concert option of similar size, they were going into the Crossroads. When you add those up, along with other various factors (rent expenses among them), it was a downward spiral that probably should have shut them down sooner than this.
As my friend Adam Caylor chimed in on Facebook, the venue’s very last show was a Battle of the Bands performance, and he is able to say he played it. Bittersweet, but memorable. The very last event in a long, varied list of events over its 20+ years of operations, including MMA fights and professional wrestling.
So long, Beaumont Club. It’s been fun.