Dec. 8 marks the last show currently booked at the venue; Smith takes over band booking for HopCat in the Motor City and will continue to oversee Grand Rapids’ Tip Top Deluxe.
Less than a year after the death of Orbit Room owner Don Dorshimer, the future of the longtime Grand Rapids concert venue is up in the air now that manager Ted Smith is leaving to head up booking at the new HopCat in Detroit.
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After more than 11 years of booking shows at the 1,700-capacity venue, Smith told Orbit Room staff members over the weekend that he’s leaving the venue and plans to move to Detroit in November.
The future of The Orbit Room remains uncertain, said Smith, noting the Dorshimer family is deciding the next best step. Family members and representatives couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The last concert currently booked at the venue is hard rock’s Black Veil Brides on Dec. 8.
“Suicide Girls on Oct. 28 will probably be my last show,” Smith told Local Spins. “I’ve spent a lot of time there and there certainly will be sadness, but I’m really excited. (HopCat and Barfly Ventures owner) Mark (Sellers) is a great guy and he’s passionate about music and I’m excited about working with him. I think his operations are great.”
As a spin-off from the Grand Rapids beer bar of the same name, the new HopCat on Woodward Avenue in Detroit is expected to open before the end of year, with a second-level performance area that has a capacity of 400 people.
Smith will be responsible for booking live entertainment for the upstairs Huma Room, said Chris Knape, Barfly Ventures’ marketing communications director.
“Ted’s got a lot of respect among the agents and the talent around the country and around Michigan, and that’s one of the things we were looking for with this,” said Knape. “He has a great ear for bands and understands the business aspect. He brings a lot of credibility and experience to HopCat.”
Smith, who remains co-owner of The Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill in Grand Rapids, stressed that he’ll continue to book shows at that Grand Rapids nightclub.
But he conceded that operation of The Orbit Room hasn’t been the same experience for him since mentor and venue owner Dorshimer died unexpectedly last fall. “It’s been a one-man show for the most part,” he noted, adding that he welcomes the upcoming “change of scenery.”
A well-known figure and promoter on West Michigan’s music scene, Dorshimer was involved with The Orbit Room, formerly known as Club Eastbrook, for 25 years. Read more about Dorshimer in this Local Spins story.
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