Jeff Williams plans to make Ray's Golden Lion nightclub in Richland a major stopping point for touring bands.
And even though Williams is a musician first, with the band Weapons of Mass Persuasion, he also is the new booking promoter for Ray's.
That new job means the all-ages nightclub will have a better sound system that Williams said will give visitors to Ray's a more pleasurable interaction with the music.
"I installed a new ($10,000) sound system at Ray's so the music will sound even more awesome," Williams said. "It's comparable to the sound systems in bigger clubs like Seattle's Studio 7."
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You can check out the new sound yourself Dec. 17-18 when the rockabilly band Hill Stomp from Portland performs. Also performing will be The Savage Henrys. Showtime is 9 p.m. Cover charge is $8 at the door, 1353 George Washington Way, in the Uptown Shopping Center.
Ray's Golden Lion opened its doors to minors several years ago. Even though the nightclub also sells alcohol, the establishment has a separate all-ages area.
Williams said he decided to jump into music promotion because it seemed like a good fit for him. He took over the job a few months ago from Rich Langdell of Concrete Productions.
"Rich laid the foundation for me to start in a better place than he did," Williams said. "He's been a great friend and continues to help me rebuild the music at Ray's."
Ray's popularity has ebbed and flowed during the past decade under the direction of various promoters. The club is currently the only long-term, established all-ages nightclub in the Tri-Cities.
Stan Chin, bar manager of Ray's Golden Lion, is cautiously optimistic Williams will be successful in bringing big name bands to town.
"He's been in bands over a long period of time and sees the inner working of how bands function, think and who their target base is with their style of music," Chin said. "This insight could very well be helpful in drawing bands to the community."
For Williams, the focus remains on providing a venue for good music.
"This has been a labor of love, and I have a very positive outlook for Ray's future," Williams said. "Coming from the other side of this as a musician first, I think I will be able to relate well with bands as they rotate through the venue.
"The key will be to build good long-lasting relationships with bands, (encouraging) them to come back and play at Ray's."
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org