John Mancuso On His New Venue, the Mad Magician, and Plans to Revive STLPunk
At the beginning of the year, some show announcements put a mysterious new local venue named The Mad Magician (5625 Manchester Avenue) on the RFT Music radar. A quick Google Maps street view search revealed that it replaces the former A-B's Place Bar (prior to that, it was M.P. O'Reilly's).
We contacted the listed contact, Archfront Media, and got in touch with its proprietor John Mancuso to get the scoop on the promotion company's new digs and long term goals.
Construction for the single story, 5,000 square foot space is now complete, and the business currently awaits the approval of a liquor license, a process Mancuso says will take less than a couple of weeks at this point. A tentative opening date is now set for late May or early June, with the only confirmed gig, a battle to open for the Rockstar Mayhem Festival, booked on June 30.
The Mad Magician gets its name from the mid '50s thriller film of the same name, paying homage to starring actor and St. Louisan Vincent Price. The venue will also feature a full bar and a restaurant that serves handmade specialty American-style food from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day.
Archfront Media, run by Mancuso and business partner Jason Rottler, has booked and promoted rock, punk, metal and hip-hop including acts like Method Man and Tear Out the Heart at local spaces including Fubar, Heartbreakers and the Coliseum since its inception in 2008. Before that, it operated similarly under the moniker of Mancuso Productions. Archfront also books throughout Missouri at venues in Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield, as well as Nashville, Tenn.
The inspiration to open a venue grew out of Mancuso's desire to have more freedom and control over the calendar instead of having to compete with other promoters for spots. In 2006, he intended to execute a similar idea in Farmington, Missouri but says, "It never got off of the ground."
"We want to be booking nationwide and developing artists eventually. We're hoping to give local artists chances to do things they've never been able to do as far as opening for bigger artists," he says.