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Key Club to close this month
March 04, 2013|By August Brown

This post has been updated. See note at the bottom for details.

The center of L.A.’s music gravity shifted eastward long ago, but the iconic rock clubs along the Sunset Strip have generally managed to keep their doors open. That will change this month, as the LA Weekly is reporting that the Key Club will shutter March 15.

The venue, which has lately hosted a melange of hip-hop shows, hard rock and grab-bag local sets, doesn’t have any shows listed beyond this week. The Weekly cites several sources connected to the club that suggest its days are numbered, and the venue confirmed in a statement from operations manager Ian Shepp that it will close March 15 (the full statement is below).

The club first opened in the ’60s and operated for years as Gazzarri’s, named after owner Bill Gazzarri. L.A. bands including the Doors, Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses played its stage.

The club cycled through ownership in the ’90s, and after the original structure was damaged in the Northridge quake it was rebuilt as Billboard Live. It later became the Key Club in 1998.

Musicians have criticized the club for hosting showcases where bands have to pre-purchase ticket blocks, and the club briefly closed on its own accord in 2009. The Roxy and Troubadour have lately claimed most of the quality national acts playing in the neighborhood, though the Key Club has participated in the popular annual Sunset Strip Music Festival.

Although there’s deep historical value to many of the rock venues on the Strip, it’s an open question about how many of them can survive as other neighborhood venues and festivals draw more au courant acts. When even a loving film tribute to the Strip era flops, it might be time to pack up the bandanas and Aqua Net.

[UPDATED 3:30 p.m.: Key Club operations manager Ian Shepp confirmed in an email statement that Key Club will close March 15. His full statement is below:

Dear Fans,

It is with a heavy heart that I share this news with you. Regretfully, we will be closing our doors at the Key Club on Friday, March 15th. To everyone who’s called Key Club a second home, I can’t thank you enough for supporting us and the artists who’ve rocked our stage.

In the coming months our space will welcome a new project, which I encourage you to check out. Until then, we’re going out with a bang! The last two weeks of our events calendar is packed with performances from our favorite artists, and we’ll be making sure the Key Club’s last night on the Sunset Strip is nothing short of legendary.

This is our final goodbye as Key Club on Sunset. It has been an honor and privilege to share our passion for music with you. We hope that you will continue to support the remaining independent live music venues on Sunset Strip – our neighbors at The Roxy, The Whisky and The Viper Room.

Rock on and thanks for an incredible ride!

Ian Shepp

Operations Manager, Key Club]