Most Improved Rock Club San Francisco 2004 - Cafe Du Nord
Cafe Du Nord has been a venerable local institution for years. But venerable doesn't always mean exciting. By the early '00s, the Upper Market club was floundering a bit, wallowing in long-running residencies and past-their-prime regulars. (How many weeks in a row can you see Ledisi or Lavay Smith anyway?) But following the venue's sale to one-time Hotel Utah booker Guy Carson in March 2003, the Du Nord changed course. Carson knocked out a wall to make for better sight lines and resituated the sound booth to ensure higher aural quality. Meanwhile, the club's booker began bringing in better touring indie-rock and electronica acts, from Finnish orchestral folkie Sondre Lerche to German synth-poppers Ms. John Soda to Brooklyn girly rappers Fannypack, while still showcasing great local artists (including backwoods folkies Bright Black and the Spanish-American glitch-rockers Pepito). Looks like the Du Nord just made venerable exciting again.