KC’s Tank Room has closed, but its life as a music venue will go on with a new name
The Tank Room has closed, but it won’t be silent for long.
Dustin Racen, co-owner of the live-music venue that opened Jan. 1, 2014, announced this week he was leaving Kansas City to open a venue in the Lake of the Ozarks.
The 1813 Grand Blvd. building will soon become a jazz club run by John Scott, who owns the Green Lady Lounge, a jazz venue at 1809 Grand Blvd.
Scott has renamed the new venue the Black Dolphin. He will lease the building from its owners, Ehinger Properties. He expects to open around June 1.
Racen said he started making plans to open Lakehouse 13, a bar/restaurant in Sunrise Beach, Mo., in late December.
“An opportunity arose to buy a place, and I jumped on it,” he said. “I’m getting ready to open this place in the beginning of May.
“My initial intention was to continue to do Tank Room as well. But John Scott approached me about taking over Tank Room. We talked about it and what his plans would be, and it seemed to make sense for both of us.”
The success of the Green Lady Lounge, a two-room venue, made the need for more space necessary, Scott said.
“Our growth has been tremendous,” he said. “Definitely this year it became clear we could use (more space).”
Racen said shows scheduled at the Tank Room are still being moved.
“We’ve moved some to the Riot Room, RecordBar and Prohibition Hall,” he said. “Unfortunately, a couple might have to be canceled.”
On Thursday, Scott told organizers of Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest that they can use the room for the 14 shows scheduled at the Tank Room the weekend of May 4-6.
Scott said his two venues will operate as separate but connected venues.
“The Black Dolphin will be like our third floor,” he said. “They’ll share calendars, and bartenders will move between spaces.”
The new venue will allow Scott to book music different from what he books for the Green Lady’s two stages.
“With a third stage, there’s an opportunity to book an even wider variety, generally within the genre of jazz, focusing on Kansas City groups,” he said.
“There will be jazz, but I have a passion for Kansas City music and musicians. It’s honest to say the music we’ll book doesn’t have to be exclusively jazz.”
The name Black Dolphin comes from a character in “The 18th Shadow,” a science fiction novel written by Scott’s friend Jon Lee Grafton. The room has a capacity of about 100 people. The two Green Lady rooms have a combined capacity of 300.
Scott said there was some transition work to do on the former Tank Room, which he said comes with “a gorgeous build-out.”
“I hope to be open in some capacity by June 1,” he said. “I’m not afraid to open when we still have things to do. … I’ll get some cash flow and do the upgrades as we go along.”
In its three-plus years, the Tank Room made its mark on the Kansas City music community. In addition to Kansas City and Lawrence bands, it became a place that booked touring bands on the rise, especially after hooking up with Communion Music, a record label and concert promoter whose owners include Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons.
Communion helped the Tank Room book bands that now sell out large theaters, like Glass Animals and X Ambassadors.
On social media, Tank Room fans mourned the closing. Said one on Instagram: “RIP The Tank Room. One of my favorite shows and the first time I heard songs off The Ride live. … I’d sleep in the Kansas City airport a hundred times to relive this.”