The man behind the recent booking success at Martin Street Music Hall has left the club. Lincoln Hancock--who took over booking duties at the former dance club-turned-combination bar, restaurant-in-progress and rock club in mid-December, less than six months after the club opened--left his post last week. The move also leaves Lizzie's, the popular bar beneath Martin Street, under new management, as Heather Hancock, his wife, quit as well. According to several Martin Street and Lizzie's regulars, the simultaneous resignations occurred over differences with club owner Chris Bender, who also owns Five Star Restaurant.
Several shows Hancock booked at Martin Street have been shipped a few blocks south to Kings.
Since Hancock began, the Martin Street roster has been ambitious and eclectic, running the gamut from all things indie to metal and punk to house-music dance nights. In just the last week, national touring acts like Lake Trout and Nashville Pussy headlined the Hall, while many of the area's more popular locals--The Rosebuds, STRANGE, SNMNMNM--seemed to have found yet another Triangle home. Martin Street also hosted one of the area's most noteworthy tsunami relief benefits in January, fitting more than 18 bands on two stages in 10 hours.
Martin Street's Rob Farris--the record producer and club sound man who booked the club he helped design between its opening and Hancock's tenure--is filling Hancock's shoes until someone new can be found. He'll share those duties with engineer Michael "Paco" Vicere.
The changes aren't necessarily bad news for music in Raleigh, though. The four months of competition between Kings and Martin Street--two rock 'n' roll clubs less than a mile apart--has made both clubs work harder to get top acts. Kings co-owner Paul Siler says he and partner Steve Popson plan to be more aggressive in booking, especially with the help of Hancock, who has already started working with them.
"Linc called me and said that he had a problem ... and we were willing to do whatever we could do to help him," says Siler after the psychedelic Japanese quartet DMBQ, the first act moved from Martin Street, left a crowd of 50 stunned. "If he's into doing it here now, then we're into having him do it."