Over the last two-plus years, El Lenador (3124 Cherokee Street) has earned a reputation as one of best places to hear all styles of music, from local mainstays to up-and-coming touring bands to every oddball in between. Much of its success has to do with bartender and talent buyer Johnny Vegas, whose eye for unknown talent has served him well for years around St. Louis. But as El Lenador faces increasing scrutiny from the City, Vegas will be spending much less time at the beloved Cherokee bar.
The venue will no longer be hosting any shows on weekdays. In 2006, El Lenador manager Ruben Alejandre signed an agreement with City Excise Commissioner Bob Kraiberg stating that the bar would be closed by 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights. Weekend shows remain on the calender. Tomorrow night BUTT, Goololplexia, Little Big Bangs and Escalade are scheduled to perform.
Johnny Vegas, meanwhile, will be making a move to the Crack Fox (1114 Olive Street) in downtown. His most popular weekly event, Stag Nite, will be going with him. He'll also be bar tending and working with Carrie Harris, who currently books the venue, on other shows as well. "I'm pretty excited about it. I hope the crowd will follow me down," Vegas says. He's looking forward to finding "better opportunities for himself, the bands and hopefully the crowds" at the Crack Fox. For now, he'll still book weekend shows at El Lenador.
The decision to divide his focus between the two venue was made easier by Vegas' recent dispute with Alejandre over El Lenador's booking policies and the distribution of cover charges. Vegas has no intention of returning Stag Night to El Lenador even if the venue's restrictions on weekday shows changes.
The first Crack Fox Stag Night starts on August 22, and will feature the Hobosexuals and Jack Grelle & the Johnson Family Band with an early show featuring Victor & Penny and Miss Jubilee. The August 15 show is still looking for a home.
See also: Stag Nite Offers Weekly Camaraderie in Debauchery. Stag Nite Oral History - The Lost Interviews Get Hip to Stag Nite at El Lenador, Cherokee Street's Best-Kept Secret St. Louis' Best Underground Club, 2011: El Lenador