Walnut Room's Randall Frazier Moves to Ophelia's Electric Soapbox
Randall Frazier has long been a staple of the Denver music scene, as an artist with experimental electronic/space rock band Orbit Service and, for the past eight years, as the production manager and talent buyer at the Walnut Room. In the latter capacities, Frazier turned the venue into arguably the best-sounding small venue in Denver. This month, however, he is leaving the Walnut Room; he mixed his last show at the club on March 21, which included B. Dolan, Felix Fast4ward and Wheelchair Sports Camp on rapper Kalyn Heffernan's birthday. Certainly, there are worse ways to go out.
Starting on April 1, Frazier took on a similar role at Ophelia's Electric Soapbox. It's a fitting transition, as he was involved in setting up the venue's sound system from the beginning. Edible Beats contacted him in 2013, and Frazier was directly involved in overcoming the challenges of the room's unique layout and non-traditional space for live music.
“In the end, I am very happy with the system there, and I think the production quality at Ophelia’s is unmatched,” says Frazier.
When Frazier started at the Walnut Room in August 2005, he only did a few shows a month in addition to his full-time gig as the head sound engineer at the Mercury Cafe. He eventually took over the duties of veteran sound engineer Ron Gordon, and when he was able to have more say over the booking at the club, Frazier made the Walnut Room a haven for all styles of music, but especially one close to his heart and tastes.
“One thing I am proud of doing at Walnut was giving a breath of life to the Denver electronic/experimental scene, which I always felt worked very well [there],” he says. “Bringing in artists like Dead Voices on Air, Edward Ka-Spel and Silverman from the Legendary Pink Dots, SNOG, not to mention the local things like Weird Wednesday, co-curated by Claudia Woodman, the Concrete Mixer series, Hamster Theater — man, too many to name.”
Frazier sought to foster a sense of camaraderie between venue and artists at the Walnut Room, and he aims to continue that tradition at Ophelia's, as now he considers his circle of friends to have extended far beyond the experimental music scene. While he will be missed as a quiet but strong presence at the Walnut, Frazier recognized that it was time for him to move on to working full-time with Ophelia's.
“I’ve been working for several rooms in the city for a good bit now, and it was wearing me thin,” reveals Frazier. “The consistency of having a solid place to call my home base is a definite plus for me as well as my family, but I also have a much broader capability at Ophelia’s. I have room to grow there, simply because of the size of the space and the ability to do special shows with much larger artists. Although I have to leave the Walnut, I am still also booking Globe Hall, which I am also proud of, as it is growing into a serious venue and a great place to see a show as well. And, bonus for me, the food is amazing at both Ophelia’s and Globe Hall.”