published Friday, October 14th, 2011

Phillips: A month after Corey Smith, Track 29 still chugging along

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    The Futurebirds from Athens, Ga., entertain at a private party at Track 29 in this file photo.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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Those critics (myself included) who worried about Track 29's damaged reputation after the censorship snafu at the Corey Smith concert last month can box up their fears for the time being.

Despite Smith's vocal criticism of the decision to cut his Sept. 9 show short, the music world has apparently moved on.

Based on a recent conversation I had with Track 29 co-owner Adam Kinsey, the shows are selling like gangbusters.

I spoke with Kinsey last week after I noticed the Oct. 28 show for South Carolinian Christian rockers Needtobreathe and pop/rock singer/songwriter Ben Rector was sold out almost a month in advance.

Tickets sold like wildfire, even with the capacity set at 1,500, just one notch shy of the venue's maximum occupancy of 1,800. Earlier this week, Kinsey made the decision to open the room up to maximum, and the additional seats sold out in an hour and a half.

Having heard almost nothing about Needtobreathe before seeing its name on the schedule, I was confused as to why the show received such an overwhelmingly positive reaction.

Although he admitted to knowing little about the band before booking the show, Kinsey was happy to see it receive such a strong show of support.

"Being an opening band for Taylor Swift during the last tour hasn't hurt at all," he said, laughing. "Being able to sell 1,500 tickets a month before the show says a lot about how hungry Chattanooga is for quality talent."

The date is Track 29's second sellout -- after Smith's ill-fated concert. Other shows have come close, including The Drive-By Truckers show on Sept. 10, despite the Internet debut of Smith's less-than-flattering song about his Track 29 experience.

Tickets for Lucinda Williams' Oct. 22 show are also moving at a brisk pace, as is a recently announced Nov. 11 booking for Gov't Mule founder and Allman Brothers Band member Warren Haynes. I predict similar success for the venue's first 2012 booking, They Might Be Giants, who will play on Feb. 12.

Interestingly, Track 29 has begun making Chattanooga a musical destination instead of somewhere to gas up and grab a Red Bull on the way to a concert in another city.

Kinsey said many of the tickets for artists like Warren Haynes and Needtobreathe have been selling to out-of-towners. That's a refreshing change of pace after the years I spent bidding my friends farewell on a Friday or Saturday night on the way to shows in Atlanta or Knoxville.

Of course, I'm barely a presidential term of office into my Scenic City residency. To those who grew up here, being able to leave a major concert and still have time to grab a pint at Terminal Brewhouse before midnight must seem surreal.

Yes, Track 29 had a bit of a bumpy start, but what venue doesn't deal with problems, especially one so young? This is still very much Track 29's honeymoon period, but I'm glad to see that the naysayers and pessimists haven't been given more cause for complaint.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...

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wurzelja said...

I am a huge supporter of Track 29 and have already enjoyed several shows there, but due to their "rough start" their security seems to be a little over vigilant. You think they would treat the show goers of M Ward a little differently than Corey Smith perhaps, but I saw several security guards barge into crowds to stop people from taking pictures on their phones. Overkill in my opinion. Also, Track 29 should update the "Rules" on the hall when you walk to say "No Fun" because that's the basic message that hall of rules says to me every time I walk in. Rules? They could do away with their long list of rules and just go with a succinct No Fun rule. I feel like most T29 attendees have passed the third grade and no longer need all rules spelled out for them at the classroom door. I also like how T29 security is tighter than airport security. It's a great place, but maybe they need to lighten up, and maybe they will eventually...

October 14, 2011 at 12:58 p.m.
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