Music — Mark's Showplace
by Seth Hoy
Mark’s Showplace: girls, music and girls
‘Gentlemen’s club’ to feature live bands
Benjamin Franklin once said that there is nothing certain in this world, save death and taxes. Perhaps’ ol’ Benjy didn’t realize that there also is rock ‘n roll, and where there is rock there are fast cars and even faster women.
But maybe we have outgrown the combination of sex and rock ‘n roll? Did it die in the ’70s and ’80s when the hair metal bands took a popularity dive into rehab in the ’90s?
Well, if it did, Mark’s Showplace is bringing it back.
Mark’s Showplace, a “gentlemen’s club” on 390 South River Road in Bedford, now features live music on Saturday nights. Because Mark’s Showplace is geared for grownups, all shows are 21-plus.
But before you get too excited, fellas, now is probably a good time to mention that the bands will play in the billiards hall — separated by thick reinforced walls from the strippers in the next room.
Owner Mark Deane believes rock fans and gentlemen’s club patrons have a lot in common. Also, in addition to offering more options to his clientele, Deane wants to make better use of his billiards hall, which, for obvious reasons (coughhotdancinggirlscough) people don’t seem to be making much use of.
“We have a big facility here,” Deane said. “People had been mentioning they wanted to see bands and I thought, what a complement — rock bands and a gentlemen’s club. Sometimes when bigger bands are in town, they call us for girls to dance on stage. They always call, so I thought it was a no-brainer.”
Deane added bands to his club to draw attention to the seldom-used billiards room. There’s no cover charge to hear a band play. He hopes this addition will help Mark’s Showplace evolve into a total entertainment complex.
“My ultimate vision for Mark’s is for it to be a multi-use facility,” Deane said. “We want Mark’s to be seen as a total entertainment complex. We’ve got a gentlemen’s club in one room, a boutique and a billiards room. People can come to the facility to see live music without going to the gentlemen’s club. All I’m doing is giving people options.”
Mark’s Showplace had its first show on Saturday, Feb. 12 featuring Hour-Past, Vegas Temper, Dogfight and DCM. There was a pretty decent turnout — more men than women, not counting the scantily clad women flanking the band on stage. There are three more shows scheduled for Feb. 19, 26 and March 26.
Mark Grunts of Fast Lane Productions has been booking bands for the past 15 years for such clubs as Fuel in Lowell, Mass., and the old Bahama Beach Club in Nashua. Grunts believes that adding bands to Mark’s will bring more people out.
“It will definitely bring more people to the complex in general,” Grunts said. “Mark [Deane] is looking to have several things going on — he already has a billiards room and he’s looking to add more things to the complex. We’re starting with local original bands, then we’ll be doing some national acts, like LA Guns in March. We’ll take it from there and see what works.”
Grunts doesn’t think that bands will have a moral problem playing a strip club, although he hesitated when I asked about bands with girl members. No matter how punk rock your band is, no girl wants to be the second prettiest on stage.
Jennifer De La Osa of Boston-based pop band Aloud was approached by another booker to play Mark’s Showplace. She politely declined.
“I’m put off by it,” De La Osa said. “It’s not a rock ‘n roll venue and I think it trivializes the band a little bit. I don’t want to knock anyone for doing it, but don’t expect to get signed at a strip club.”
“I don’t want to bring anyone down,” De La Osa added, “but I guess there are different definitions of rock ‘n’ roll. If their idea of rock ‘n’ roll is playing a strip club then go with that — play your ’80s music and go with it.”
But other bands aren’t as put off by an invite from Mark’s Showplace. Cameron MacKenzie of Plank 63 said it won’t be the first time he’s played venues with ladies dancing on stage. Plank 63 is scheduled to play Mark’s on Saturday, Feb. 19.
“We’ve played Naughty School Girl Night at Scorz a few weeks back,” MacKenzie said. “And I think they’re doing Who Wants to be a Stripper Night soon. We played a similar venue with WHOB but I can’t remember where. I do know that they put strippers on the stage surrounding the band. That was an odd experience.”
According to MacKenzie, 70 percent of their fan base are female and playing near a strip club won’t affect female attendance.
Adam Savage of punk metal band Mongrel has mixed feelings about playing Mark’s. Mongrel is scheduled to play Mark’s on Saturday, Feb. 26.
“My band is all for it,” Savage said. “And if we attract a new audience, then it’s cool. I asked my wife and she was cool with it. That’s the main thing. If she’s fine with it, I’m fine with it.”
With female dancers on stage, Savage calls the show a competition for the attentionally challenged.
“If we hold the crowd’s attention despite our lack of mammaries,” Savage said, “then we’re doing a good job. I’ve played other bars where the people are watching TV screens or talking to the bartender — at least this way if girls are dancing to our music on stage, at least it becomes interactive and we’re part of their show.”
For more information on Mark’s Showplace, visit www.marksshowplace.com
- Seth Hoy
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