When the pandemic shut down most local venues last year, Randall Frazier
had an existential crisis. He’d done nothing besides working in music in one way or another for the past 25 years. So Frazier, who’d been a longtime sound engineer and talent buyer for the Walnut Room
before taking a similar post at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
, shifted things up and started teaching audio engineering at Warren Tech
When concerts came back in the spring, Frazier started working as the head sound engineer for Levitt Pavilion Denver
, where’s he’s been since the outdoor venue opened in 2017.
Chase Wessel, who had been production director and talent buyer since Levitt opened, moved to Austin earlier this year and had been working remotely.
“They really wanted someone who was going to be more present and on site more,” Frazier says. “They needed somebody who was apt in production and could also do booking, and I was there.”
Frazier just stepped into the role of senior talent buyer at Levitt, while still holding down the head sound-engineer post.
“And the perfect thing is that the schedule almost works seamlessly with my school schedule,” Frazier says, “because Levitt starts up about the time school’s getting out, and there's only a few weeks of overlap.”
Ophelia’s will be closed for the rest of the year while its lower-level music venue is renovated to accommodate more people.
“I couldn't just keep waiting around, and this opportunity kind of fell out of the sky,” Frazier says of his new job. “I guess out of all the things that I've got going, the one that I have to let go of is Ophelia's, because everything else just feels like such a bigger win for me personally.”
Frazier says Levitt is winding down new bookings this season, but he's already started gearing up for next summer.
“Live Nation does some of the booking there, too, so some things could still be added, but at this point, I doubt there's too much time left in this workable season out there,” Frazier notes. “As the weather gets more and more unpredictable, it gets kind of dicey to start booking shows — especially ticketed shows, because a blizzard can move in and wipe the show out. ... I'm not planning on adding any more shows unless there are giant holes in the calendar, but I haven't seen anything like that right now.”
Frazier has also worked sound at most of the Levitt shows so far and has recruited the sound crew that worked with him at Ophelia’s and the Walnut Room.
“I've been carrying these same sound techs with me for years,” Frazier says. “I plugged all of those guys into Levitt. There’s really only one guy who works at Levitt that didn't come from my crew.”
Some of the students from Frazier’s Warren Tech audio-engineering class have also been helping out with sound at Levitt.
“I've been taking kids with me from last year's class, and they've been tagging along with me to the shows all summer,” Frazier says. “I've got a girl who has gone to almost every show with me, and she's still got one more year of school left. But she's already taken monitor shifts at Levitt with 5,000 people in the audience.”
Frazier, who’s also been doing sound for DeVotchKa
recently, says working outside at Levitt is the exact opposite of most of his other jobs, where he’s been in a dark room for very long stretches.
“I've been outside. It's got a nice sound system down there that's epic,” he says. “I feel like they've really given me a place to shine. I have a place to show what I can do. It's just a win-win situation there, really, and everybody that I work with...they're so cool and easygoing, and it's just kind of like a little family.”