MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Saturday, February 23, 2013 marked a final farewell for famed Memphis music venue the Hi-Tone.
The Hi-Tone has been a favorite spot for local musicians for the past 15 years, but after Saturday night's final concert, the Hi-Tone closed its doors forever.
Memphis has a reputation as a music town; nurturing great local musicians, and for a decade and a half, the Hi-Tone has been their Mecca.
High booking costs and building repairs are cited among the reasons for its closing, so after that final concert local artists were left scrambling to find a new place to make their pilgrimage.
The closing of the Hi-Tone is a sore subject for Memphis guitarist Harry Koniditsiotis.
“There is going to be a hole for awhile,” Harry told abc24.com.
Once the Hi-Tone closed for good, nostalgia and an uncertain future collided for local musicians.
“The Hi-Tone was like the place to be,” said Koniditsiotis, “If you’re a local band and wanted to cut your teeth playing, you could go in there and play.”
The Hi-Tone attracted top level talent as well.
“The Elvis Costello show is one of the highlights,” Harry said, “it was amazing to have someone like that at a place like the Hi-Tone.”
“It was a great place to be a local band and to get your sea legs. I’m sad to see it go,” said Jack Alberson, a guitarist for Memphis band The Near Reaches.
But the nostalgia for the Hi-Tone extended beyond music to relationships.
“We met for the first time in 2005 at the Hi-Tone,” Jenny Hansom told abc24.com.
Seven years later, at a record signing in March of 2012 Jenny and Harry met again, and were engaged by December.
“Both times were at the Hi-Tone,” said Hansom, “so I feel kind of sad about it closing.”
So now, where will local musicians go to practice their art? Other venues are stepping up.
“I’m a musician myself,” said Phillip Stroud, the general manager of Young Avenue Deli in the Cooper-Young district. “I feel for those guys, so if I can get them in here on the stage playing, I know it makes them happy.”
The first show at the Young Avenue Deli is scheduled for March 6, 2013—featuring Pinback.
Some new version of the Hi-Tone may appear in the future, but it’s unlikely to be anything like the original.