Music News & Reviews

Changes in store for the Boardwalk music club, both on and off stage

Music fans at the Boardwalk night club in Orangevale, California.
Music fans at the Boardwalk night club in Orangevale, California. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

The Boardwalk of Orangevale, a key spot for live music in the Sacramento region since 1987, is closing in January and February to undergo a remodel. Once it reopens, the refreshed club will operate primarily as a 21-and-older venue with a new booking agent.

For the past two years, Eric Rushing and Bret Bair, the ownership team behind downtown’s Ace of Spades, has handled the scheduling of musical acts at the Boardwalk. Bands will now be booked by Mark Earl, who has owned the club since 1987. Earl plans to unveil the Boardwalk’s remodel in March as the 300-capacity venue celebrates its 30th anniversary.

“I asked (Bair and Rushing) if they wanted me to take the club back over,” Earl said. “I missed it. For the last two years, I’ve been bored out of my mind. I just want to go in and have some fun.”

Before opening Ace of Spades in 2011, Rushing was the primary booker for the Boardwalk from 2000 to 2010. He reassumed booking operations with Bair in 2014. The all-ages club has showcased musical acts from a variety of genres including heavy metal, hip-hop, punk rock, alternative rock and more.

Stepping back from the Boardwalk will allow the pair to focus on Ace of Spades, Rushing said. The 975-capacity club at 14th and R streets was purchased by Live Nation in February, but still is managed by Rushing and Bair, who also are exploring possible sites for another downtown club.

At the Boardwalk, Earl hopes to attract an older listening demographic. The remodel includes booth seating around the main floor, upgraded bathrooms and a revamped kitchen menu. For the first string of shows, Earl plans to book Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon and Emerald City, one of Sacramento’s signature hard-rock bands in the 1980s. The feel will be closer to Harlow’s in midtown or Powerhouse Pub in Folsom than a spot for youthful headbanging.

“I want to make the room as comfortable as I can for 300 people,” Earl said. “I’m going to put on more adult shows. I want a place for myself to relax.”

The Boardwalk has shows booked through the end of the year. It’s hosting “How the Lynch Stole Christmas Starring Brother Lynch” on Dec. 30. The club is at 9426 Greenback Lane.

Chris Macias: 916-321-1253, @chris_macias