Magic Stick pulls plug on rock shows to become dance club

The Magic Stick on Woodward in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.
The Magic Stick on Woodward in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

The Magic Stick, the gritty Midtown bar that became a mainstay for indie rockers and helped propel The White Stripes to stardom, will stop hosting rock concerts and become a dance club with electronic music.

The 550-capacity venue on Woodward is getting renovated and rebranded after losing money for several years. The conversion from rock to electronic is planned for April.

“It was a matter of surviving,”¬† owner David Zainea told the Free Press, which broke the story today.

The venue will be renamed and undergo about $250,000 in renovations with new decor, furniture and a bigger stage, which will be used by DJs and other electronic performers.

The Magic Stick was listed as one of our top 10 venues to experience local music in 2015.

In addition to booking local indie bands, the Magic Stick hosted many nationally renowned acts such as Modest Mouse, Childish Gambino, Elliott Smith, Jack Johnson, Arcade Fire, Phoenix and Kings of Leon.

Zainea said he wasn’t thrilled to end the rock shows.

“It broke my heart to make this decision,” he told the Free Press. “Financially, I had no choice but to do it. I’m sure I’ll hear a lot of complaints. But when I’m confronted with the payroll every two weeks, it’s my obligation. This is a gamble, but I think it’s going to work.”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Michael

    I’d like to keep the name though, just because the genre changes does that mean we gotta lose the name?

  • SnowStormsinDetroit

    He’s partnering with the old owner of St. Andrews/Shelter Amir. Some of the funnest times of my life was spent at the shelter watching an unknown kid from Windsor named Ritchie Hawtin spin tracks for the punk rockers.

    Amir would ban us for months at a time for doing stupid shit so we would hang out at the Majestic club & hear Blake Baxter, Scott Kinchen, Derrick May etc spin hot tracks for the mods and house crowd.

    The Majestic was already a fun club back in the day, and w/Amir on board it’s gonna blow up.