There are very few facilities like House of Rock where everything can be accomplished under one roof with one team.
The House of Rock in Santa Rosa, CA, began in mid-2012 as a private rehearsal studio, owned and operated by the management of the hard rock band V2 (pronounced V Squared), fronted by virtuoso teen twin brothers, drummer and vocalist Vincenzo and guitarist and lead vocalist Vittorio Piazza. Aside from being the home of V2, the five-year business plan was to evolve House of Rock as Northern California’s newest, multi-purpose, full-service art and entertainment creation and exhibition facility.
Guitarist Freddie Salem, a former member of the legendary Southern Rock group The Outlaws when not recording and performing with any number of session gigs and bands, is House of Rock’s operations manager, coming onboard as a co-owner in 2014. Freddie also has a lifetime of experience launching, opening, managing and consulting to countless restaurants, clubs and other entertainment and special event venues between the USA and London.
Born in the Biz
Hailing from Ohio, Salem’s father owned several “blue collar bars” throughout the Akron area, “So, I was born and raised in the nightclub business,” he states. And with an ingrained understanding of sound, lighting, staging venue design and management, “it’s all second nature. Been there, done that, built it and then performed there myself,” Freddie says, with a smile.
In June 2016, House of Rock officially opened its doors to the public and began hosting a wide range of nationally known hard rock, classic rock and jazz touring acts on its stage, with plans to add country/western, reggae and other diverse acts to the live performance roster. More than 20 bands, including national and regional acts, have graced the House of Rock stage, including Quiet Riot, Winger, Blue Öyster Cult, Lita Ford and Foghat.
The 15,000-square-foot live performance venue has an impressive lighting system, and the dual big screen video playback setup includes a five-camera setup with switchers for I-Mag. The venue can accommodate 683 people (standing) and comfortably seat 500.
House of Rock features a spacious thrust stage with a hydraulic drum riser and 15-foot runway jutting out into the showroom. Guest amenities also include black-leather lounge seating and chrome and glass café tables and chairs throughout. There’s also a mid-century retro-modern cafe, a gift shop, immaculate bathrooms, finely appointed dressing rooms, full ADA compliance and respectful and well-trained security for every show. Flat screen monitors throughout the facility let fans view the live onstage performances from just about anywhere in the venue.
By the end of 2017, House of Rock expects to be hosting two to three ticketed shows each week, with weekend performances by touring headliners. The facility also gets used for fundraisers, corporate affairs and private events, as well as other entertainment events managed by other promoters. “Concerts and other special event bookings are scheduled months out,” says Freddie.
Lighting and Staging
The House of Rock’s lighting system, designed and installed by Tom Durante from The Lux Productions (Sonoma, CA), has a Jands Vista I3 console running 13 Chauvet Legend fixtures — six 1200E Spots, six 230SR Beams and one 300E Spot. An additional 110 fixtures add to the stage looks, including 22 Chroma-Q Color Force 12 and three Color Force 72 LED strips and 22 ETC Source Four 575W fixtures. There are a pair of Amhaze Arena Hazers from Chauvet, a pair of Aqua Fog 3300 units and a Rosco Delta 3000 smoke machine for fog and haze and a manually operated iMarc 200W followspot located in the balcony.
“No tour or production manager is going to state, ‘well, we need another 40 lights,’” says Freddie. “Once we fire up this lighting system, they quickly realize we have all the lighting gear to execute a very impressive-looking show. In fact, the lighting is over-ample for this stage.”
The custom thrust stage was built by Bill Gordon of Gordon Construction, of Sonoma County, The design idea for the stage is based on a scaled down version of AC/DC’s stage from the 2008/2010 Black Ice tour. Stage dimensions are just under 40-feet wide by 16-feet deep with a six-foot wide thrust that juts out into the audience. For dramatic effect, embedded in the thrust are 30 LED uplights. The stage also features three zones of LED/RGB strip lighting running along the complete perimeter of the stage.
The most unique aspect of the stage is its custom-made drum riser that elevates the drum set from beneath the stage. According to Evan Alexander, House of Rock’s technical director, “When ownership decided they wanted a drum riser for the stage, our initial research lead us to Cirque de Soleil to find out what kind of lifts they use in some of their bigger productions. We were informed such systems get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Evan continues, “Well, after recovering from the sticker shock, additional research led to a more cost effective, simple and highly robust solution, at a fraction of the cost, in the form of an Advance Lifts commercial hydraulic loading dock scissor lift, model PEW-2560, with a centered static capacity of 2,500 pounds.”
Since the House of Rock is still very much V2’s showcase venue and rehearsal facility, the V2 drum set is permanently mounted and wired to the scissor lift platform. When the V2 kit is lowered and tucked away, custom-made insert panels are placed over the riser opening. Evan notes that they are “capable of supporting the full weight of a complete drum set, and the heaviest of pounding heavy metal drummers.”
Video Projection and I-Mag
The video system, installed by Sound Expressions (Santa Rosa, CA), augments the live performances. The system consists of three JVC Pro HD HM790CHU cameras — one wireless handheld for stage-edge close-ups — with the other two positioned on tripods at the mix position and balcony. A Sony Pro BRC H900 PTZ camera is mounted at the lip of the stage runway and a Vaddio HD 20 PTZ Robotic Camera is mounted above the drum set. Projection is from two Dukane 8952P 7K lumen LCD projectors onto the 78-by-139-inch Da-Lite Perm-Wall video projection screens.
Cameras and live content are managed by a Panasonic AW-HS50 Video Switcher with AJA Key Pro 1920 x 1080 HD digital recorders for all camera’s, recording isolated camera feeds as well as the switched live feed, to a Promise Pegasus2 R4 12TB. The system is driven by a Mac Pro 3.5-6 Core/D500/16GB/256GB CPU, running Final Cut Pro X, with Firewire 800 to Thunderbolt connectivity.
Two Apple iMacs are utilized for content and an LG 27” 4K UHD Monitor is utilized for live camera feed monitoring. Crew personnel communicates via Clear-Com HME DX210 headsets, and Bose Companion 5 speakers round out the FOH video gear list.
Video content can be live streamed to the Internet over House of Rock’s T1 line, as well as mixed and mastered in the recording studio, thereby providing the band with the option to produce a live video DVD production faster and cheaper by keeping the project in house from start-to-finish.
“With the studio, everything is integrated down to the stage, so any band can come in here and record a live concert directly to one of the two Pro Tools HD systems either at the FOH mixing console and/or to the second Pro Tools HD system through the SSL console in the studio,” Freddie concludes. “Now that all systems are refined, we can do full on, full blown productions, from live to post production to mixing and mastering, including a five-camera shoot, with clients ranging from dress and technical rehearsals, live shows, video productions, to special events. There are very few facilities like House of Rock where everything can be accomplished under one roof with one team.”
House of Rock Gear List
- 1 Jands Vista I3 Console
- 6 Chauvet Legend 1200E Spots
- 6 Chauvet Legend 230SR Beams
- 1 Chauvet Legend 300E Spot
- 22 Chroma Q Color Force 12s
- 3 Chroma Q Color Force 72s
- 8 Chroma Q Color Force Compacts
- 22 ETC Source Four Lekos (575W)
- 30 LED/RGB pocket lights for thrust
- 1 LED/RGB strip light setup for stage perimeter
- 1 iMarc 200w follow spot
- 2 Chauvet Amhaze arena hazers
- 2 Aqua Fog 3300 fog machines
- 1 Rosco Delta 3000 smoke machine
- 2 Wireless DMX transmitters/receivers
- 2 Leprecon VX-2400 Series II 12ch 20amp dimmers
- 2 Dukane 8952P 7K LCD projectors
- 2 Da-Lite Perm-Wall screens (78” x 139”)
- 3 JVC Pro HD HM790CHU cameras (two tripod mounted with zoom and focus controls; one wireless)
- 1 Sony Pro BRC H900 PTZ camera
- 1 Vaddio HD 20 PTZ Camera
- 5 AJA Key Pro 1920 x 1080 HD digital recorders
- 1 Panasonic AW-HS50 Video Switcher
- 2 Apple iMacs for content
- 10 Clear Com HME DX210 Headsets
- Control setup includes Mac Pro 3.5-6C/D500/16GB/256GB, LG 27” 4K UHD Monitor, Promise Pegasus2 R4 12TB unit, Final Cut Pro X
- Previous Stephen Pearcy of RATT ROCKED Santa Rosa with show at Rock Star University House of Rock
- Next Benefit Concert Weekend for the ANOVA Center for Education, a school for autism and learning differences