The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge was all set to begin broadcasting an ambitious series of high-definition, multi-camera concert livestreams on June 5. If you know where the Hook and Ladder is, you’ll understand why things didn’t go quite as planned.
Situated at the corner of Lake and Minnehaha, in the shadow of the Third Police Precinct, the hardy nonprofit music venue somehow emerged from the recent unrest structurally intact, despite suffering fairly extensive water and smoke damage. While the middle section that separates the Hook’s two performance spaces was broken into, no one could enter the theaters themselves.
“The fireproof steel doors—they couldn’t get those open,” says Jesse Brodd, the Hook’s talent buyer and marketing director. “The outside glass-block window was thick enough to keep people out as well. Our smart water-irrigation system went off and proceeded to run all night long—that was a pretty good deterrent.”
Now, after a surprisingly brief delay, the Hook is set to resume the Hook-Stream series this weekend, with a slate of concerts scheduled through August 1 set to stream on Facebook, YouTube, and the Hook's website. Davina & the Vagabonds kick things off this Saturday, June 20, with Grayson DeWolfe performing on Sunday. Future performers include Charlie Parr, GB Leighton, and Sarah Morris.
The Hook has had to adapt to circumstances. While the sprinklers may have prevented further fire-related mayhem, they also flooded the main theater. So for now at least, performances will take place in the more intimate Mission Room.
“We’ve basically turned these into fundraisers—for artists, for the Hook and Ladder, and for the community,” says Brodd, who notes that 10 percent of all proceeds are earmarked for nonprofits, with some performers giving away more. Davina & the Vagabonds, for instance, will donate all of what they bring in to the Association for Black Economic Power.
Those tickets will cost $15, but for many of the other shows they’re just suggesting a donation. “We want to balance this out: to give the audience something for free, but also to respect the value of the musicians’ work,” Brodd says.
While the governor’s slight easing of COVID-19 restrictions allows live music performances to start up again with reduced audiences, electrical damage makes that currently untenable for the Hook. “Right now we couldn’t have a live studio audience even if we wanted to,” Brodd says. “Long-term, once we can get the facility working and a safety plan in place, we could open up the garage door and some people could be seated outside.”
The series may evolve as the summer proceeds. “We want to be there for the community and for the artists—that’s our mission,” Brodd says. “We’ll take it one HookStream at a time.”
Complete HookStream lineup
Saturday, June 20: Davina & The Vagabonds – 8pm – $15**
Sunday, June 21: Grayson DeWolfe – 8pm – Free
Thursday, June 25: New Primitives – 8pm – Free
Friday, June 26: Mae Simpson Music – 9pm – Free
Saturday, June 27: Charlie Parr – 9pm – Free
Thursday, July 9: GB Leighton – 8pm – $10**
Friday, July 10: The Bawdy Down: A Burlesque Benefit for Black Table Arts – 9pm – $10**
Saturday, July 11: Frogleg – 9pm – $10**
Wednesday, July 15: The Shackletons – 8pm – Free* – #RRDBFest
Thursday, July 16: Big George Jackson Blues Band – 8pm – Free* – #RRDBFest
Friday, July 17: Kind Country – 9pm – Free* – #RRDBFest
Saturday, July 18: Cornbread, Annie Mack, & Black-eyed Snakes – 5pm – Free* – #RRDBFest
Thursday, July 23: Lewiee Blaze & Friends – 8pm – Free*
Friday, July 24: The Gentleman and The Queen: A Classy, Comedic Cabaret Hosted By Two Hot Messes – 9pm – $8**
Saturday, July 25: The Belfast Cowboys – 9pm – $10**
Thursday, July 30: Sarah Morris – 8pm – Free*
Friday, July 31: – Mrs. Pinky & The Great Fox – 9pm – Free*
Saturday, August 1: The Jones Gang – 9pm – Free
More info here.