Founded in 1982, Harlow’s is Sacramento’s favorite entertainment venue! Daniel Romandia has been seeing shows at Harlow’s long before he’s worked there and explains his favorite concert experience when he was freshly 21. Along with that unforgettable moment, another iconic scene spurred when Prince came to Harlow’s after performing in a much larger arena in the surrounding area.
For Harlow’s now more than ever, being a part of an independent venue is incredibly important. They put a lot of emphasis on focusing on the artist and their ability, rather than just their social media reach. Much like the vision of Independent Venue Week 2019, Harlow’s is eager to be a part of something larger than their own venue.
Read all of Daniel’s answers below, and visit Harlow’s for one of their Independent Venue Week shows July 10, 11, and 12. See all shows here.
Tell us about your favorite concert experience? In your venue? Outside your venue?
I’ve been seeing shows at Harlow’s long before I worked here, and my favorite concert experience here happens to be during that time. I was freshly 21 and lucky enough to catch Bosnian Rainbows, which was Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s band with Terri Genderbender. Lopez is possibly my absolute favorite guitarist (that’s always up for debate as with any musician) and it was such an experience to be able to catch him in a place like Harlow’s where we boast that you’re never more than about 30 feet away from the stage while still fitting over 400 people in the room. I’ve seen Lopez and Terri with other bands in much larger venues since, but I’ll always remember that show for the intimacy.
What’s your favorite story from your venue?
My favorite story is possibly the venue’s most iconic story. I don’t know all the details, but Prince once played our stage on a whim after a huge arena show on the outskirts of town. He finished playing his arena and decided to check out a smaller place in town. He comes to Harlow’s, watches a show and then, after it’s over, he just jumps on stage and starts playing the piano. Our previous sound tech John Carlson proceeded to play and drink with him late into the night.
There’s a picture of Prince at a piano hung up in our hallway. Most people don’t realize that the photo was taken a few steps from where they are looking at it.
What’s does it mean for you to run an independent venue?
Now more than ever, being a part of an independent venue is incredibly important. We’re located in Sacramento, just a short drive from San Francisco where venues are essentially being eaten alive by corporations. It changes the local musical landscape immensely when that happens. Local acts rarely get the chance to play with touring acts at those corporate venues for one reason or another. If they do, that act is solely based on social media reach, not fit or talent. It really bums me out to see venues post on Facebook or Instagram asking for locals to submit their music to be considered to play a show. Those corporations aren’t in touch with the local scene. They just know they need anyone to perform, as long as they have enough likes on Facebook.
What are your expectations for Independent Venue Week 2019
I don’t have expectations for IVW2019 so much as I’m just so happy that we are able to be a part of something larger than our venue with a similar mindset and stance. As much as we enjoy being able to do what we do, we enjoy it even more seeing so many others out there who put in the same work we do to put these artists on stage and for them to have their art on display for an audience.
We love knowing that being an independent venue isn’t going away by any means. If anything, we hope it’s a notion that gets stronger.
How would you like to see Independent Venue Week evolve in the future?
Shockingly, I’m really into music. I’m one of those insufferable people that collect records. So, I attend Record Store Day every year and I’ve seen it grow to be a huge event. That’s what I would love to see for Independent Venue Week. I want to see this grow to be an event that music lovers look forward to every year. I’m also confident that will happen just so long that venues across the country and the organizations bringing them together like this continue to work hard to make all of this happen.