Monday nights in Chicago may never be the same again—the long-running Boom Boom Room house weekly now has a rival that bears a curious resemblance to itself. The morning after its February 11 Valentine’s party, rumors spread that the night’s reign at jazz venue Green Dolphin Street was in jeopardy because promoter Music 101 was pulling out. A week later, Arman Razavi of Music 101 gave us his version of the break. Boom Boom was going well, but, as he explained, it wasn’t drawing a young crowd. “We were starting to realize that the average age at Green Dolphin was getting higher and higher,” he says. Once-dominant BBR faced competition from all sides. Razavi wanted to shake up the program but says it was actually “personal issues, disagreements” that led to his parting ways with the event. He adds, “You really have to torture a promoter to make them want to walk away from a successful night. If you have something good going, you don’t want to rock the boat.”
Razavi’s former partner, Joey “DJ Just Joey” Swanson, plans to continue with Boom Boom Room. “The night isn’t moving at all. The night is staying,” Swanson tell us. As an employee of Green Dolphin, he will assume promotional and marketing duties and Boom Boom will continue with the same name, staff, DJs and classic house programming. In fact, the BBR’s March lineup is particularly strong as it anticipates some new competition. “Between now and the end of May we are booking a lot of shows and quadrupling our marketing,” Swanson says. House legend Paul Johnson and ghetto house godfather DJ Funk are on board this week and the party celebrates its 17th anniversary this year with New York club and studio legend Louie Vega on March 17.
But Razavi moves on, name or not. He launches a new Monday night party BBR Monday Social at Vision Monday 3. House music will remain the focus in the main room—East Coast legend Tony Humphries spins the debut edition. Razavi says, “House is still our core audience and core fan.” The new party, however, will open up to a wider range of clientele with electro, pop and rock mixing in the second-level glass-enclosed suite. “We’re trying to reach out to a younger crowd and build up for the next five to ten years,” says Razavi. Sounds like the Boom Boom Room loyalists, house nostalgists and work-week partiers will have some tough choices to make on Monday nights.