Chrisisms: Two cities, two venues come together for the music of one band

By Chris Wachowiak

In my 13 years of running a music venue and nightclub, I’ve had very little opportunity to really work with similar venues outside my market. Sure, I’ve been to plenty of other venues in surrounding cities and states, but this is my first experience really working with another business because we could — and we are able to — create a win-win scenario for all.

It all started because of our coldest winter in my lifetime, and Otto’s Nightclub in DeKalb suffering a significant pipe burst. The burst created enough damage to close up business for more than two months. In our business, you hope you have the right insurance policy in place — and then friends out there to help see you through some of the trying times.

Tony Poulos, the general manager of Otto’s, called me out of the blue about his situation at his club and his passion to make a show he had booked for April 11.

I’m not going to begin to tell you that I had ever heard of the band booked to play there, and that wasn’t my reason for being interested in the show. My reason to jump on this show was because of one simple reason: I respect Tony, and Otto’s was my favorite music venue in college.

As it turns out, aside from the opportunity to work with and grow a friendship/work relationship, I found some new music to enjoy. Tony’s passion to make this show happen because of his drive to honor his contract (even though he could have gotten out of it by the “act of God” clause) was inspiring to me after a brutal winter business-wise. Where most people would be a little shy of going big or going home, Tony decided to make this show happen because he believes in the product he is delivering and, in turn, will grow business relationships for finding the ability to create new opportunity where others might have seen a reason to give up.

Being a small business owner or responsible agent of the business can easily alienate you to opportunities if you don’t have faith in your product, or in others. It’s exciting and inspiring to see people taking chances to create opportunity.

This Friday night (April 11) at Kryptonite Bar in downtown Rockford, Otto’s Nightclub presents Cloud Cult. They’ll be performing two sets, and for the first time ever supporting their new acoustic album Unplug, being released April 15, you’ll get to see them playing their new music live.

If you’re wondering what you’ll be in store for with this show, here are some quotes:

A sprawling kaleidoscopic invocation of the life force with songs that veer from jubilation to simmering prayerful meditation.” — The New York Times

The instrumental arsenal of the Arcade Fire mixed with the gentle electronic throb of the Postal Service.” — Rolling Stone

Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 day of, available only online at or through Kryptonite’s Facebook page and Smartphone app. Ticket sales are limited and already past the halfway mark for sold out. This is Kryptonite’s best pre-sale show since John Scofield’s sold-out show.

Chris Wachowiak is owner of Kryptonite Bar, 308 W. State St., No. 110, Rockford. Read his blog at Do you know a 20-something who is doing something unique and should be recognized? E-mail Chris at and tell him who, why and how to contact them.

From the April 9-15, 2014 issue

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