AEG Goes Gilley’s

Dallas has a new showcase room inside a venue known more for its mechanical bull than heavy metal.

AEG Live South opened the Palladium Ballroom January 20th with a free show sponsored by Rock 102.1 that featured Black Tie Dynasty. The first paid show was expected to be Los Lonely Boys January 26th.

The flexible 2,800-capacity room is located inside Gilley’s, but the Palladium is basically the main attraction of what was once the home to urban cowboys.

"We’re remodeling an existing club, but we’re pretty much redoing the whole place," AEG Live South’s Danny Eaton told Pollstar prior to the opening. "We’re actually building a new roof over the facility so we can accommodate large productions. It will be a very production-friendly place for bands that do three, four, five-truck shows."

The marquee still says Gilley’s, but the C&W club has been moved to a 1,500-capacity room, although both rooms have professional production capability, Eaton said. Gilley’s will likely have country & western shows on the weekends only. In fact, there are two more spaces in the venue, which are basically banquet rooms, and AEG has mulled around the idea of doing club festivals, with one entrance fee for all rooms, Eaton said.

AEG Live South also books the area’s 6,300-capacity Nokia Theatre at Grand Prairie, which showcases a variety of genres. The Palladium’s initial lineup is not as eclectic, at least initially. On the books are Three Days Grace, God Forbid, Saliva, The Lemonheads, Lamb of God, Dir En Grey, Cradle of Filth, and Taking Back Sunday.

"We’re sort of opening with this format that we’re used to dealing with but, as time goes along, we will – just like at the Nokia Theatre – have a variety," Eaton said. "We’ll have Spanish-speaking shows, classic rock, and all sorts of formats. We opened with stuff that was available to us."

For example, Scissor Sisters and The Tragically Hip are also on the books, Eaton said. Meanwhile, word has gotten out that there’s a new room in Big D.

"It’s been kind of amazing the number of shows that continue to pour in," Eaton said. "We’re really excited about what’s fixin’ to happen here. This town is long overdue for a real rock ‘n’ roll venue where you can accommodate these bigger shows."

The Palladium takes up 30,000 of the 90,000 square feet in the building, and the Palladium has multiple bars and flat-screen TVs. The standing-room floor is surrounded with tables and stools.

Competition will get even more intense in the near future. A House of Blues Dallas is also in the works and is expected to open this spring.