Rocks Off has learned that Northside all-ages coffeehouse and music venue JavaJazz has shut down and moved all its shows to the Meridian downtown, and that the two venues have merged into one operation. "All Javajazz shows have moved to Meridian," says Javajazz's Mike Kelly, who is taking over as Meridian's senior talent buyer. "Javajazz on the Northside no longer exists." "This is something we've been talking about for a while," says Meridian owner Bob Fuldauer. "Since the hurricane and House of Blues opened, and Live Nation left, it's been rough. The element we were missing, they [Javajazz] have." Live Nation stopped promoting shows at Meridian when House of Blues, which it owns, opened last October. Meridian recently opened the Meridian Sports & Games sports bar in another part of the building from the concert venue, and Fuldauer says a mixed-martial-arts training area and restaurant will move in soon.
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Like Javajazz, Meridian is all ages. The two venues have already been partnering on some shows, such as the Melvins' August 28 date, for a couple of years, Fuldauer adds. He says Meridian will be booking more pop, indie and emo shows, but "it's not gonna be all that." "We're trying to reclaim what we lost when Live Nation left," he says. "It's exactly what we were missing." Meridian's senior booking agent John Escamilla resigned Wednesday and will focus on his Jet Speed Entertainment independent agency, which books corporate entertainment events such as hotel galas. Escamilla plans to promote shows at various venues around Houston, including at Meridian, were Jet Speed already has several shows booked over the next two months. "I had been planning on leaving for a while," Escamilla says, adding that he submitted his resignation two weeks ago. "This is just icing on the cake."