There was a time when the East Bank of the Flats was a rock concert destination and featured a variety of nightclubs and concert venues. Gregg Kelley, a former Scene sales rep with a background in concert promotion, hopes to bring back that aspect of the Flats. Next month, he’ll start booking shows at Roc Bar, a 250-capacity club that once hosted local and national rock acts. Angela White will manage the bar. If things go well, Kelley says he'll start booking the old Odeon, a thriving rock venue throughout the ’90s. Mike Tricarichi, president of Telecom Acquisition Corp., owns both the Odeon and Rock Bar.
“I don’t want to be like everybody else,” says Kelley one morning from the venue. “I want to do club nights and I’m thinking about doing a once-a-week comedy night. My goal is to have the Roc Bar compliment everything that’s already here instead of trying to compete with everything that’s already open. I want people from the Shooters dock to look across the river and wonder what the hell is going on here.”
He has a soft opening slated for early December and has a New Year’s Eve event planned. He’s also booked local rockers Unsaid Fate to play the official grand opening, slated for Jan. 10.
“I want to do a lot with locals,” he says. “I want it to be quality over quantity. I don’t want to book seven to eight bands a night just to fill the house. I want to be different. We’re the same size as the Foundry and Rock City and I want to work with them.”
The club appears in good physical shape, though Kelley plans to bring in a bigger sound board so the place can accommodate national acts. The patio that overlooks the Cuyahoga River will get a make over.
“In the summer, I want to do some big parties that will attract boaters, kind of like what Shooters does,” Kelley says, adding that he recently ran a diagnostic on the sound and lights to detect any possible malfunctions. “I grew up in the Cleveland music scene and some of the first concerts I attended where on the East Bank of the Flats. Come summertime, this entire block is going to see some revitalization. The goal is to get this club up and running and then re-open the Odeon in the fall.”