Seeing a show at the Recher Theatre has been somewhat of a rite of passage for teenagers growing up in Towson for the past 16 years. The venue has hosted a plethora of acts, from legend Iggy Pop to local band All Time Low. But in mid-February, the Recher family revealed that the theater would close and reopen as a nightclub.
When the theater shut its doors for the last time on March 31, it seemed like the end of an era, not only for the Recher family, but for all the bands and fans who ever set foot in the venue. “I started going there when I was 13,” says Rachel Harman, a Towson University senior who grew up in Ellicott City and has seen more than 100 shows at the Recher.
She says she doesn’t understand the change to a nightclub and created an online petition pleading for the Recher family to reconsider. Others agree. When Harman’s petition closed in early March, it had received 1,051 signatures. In addition, local law firms and councilmen have come out against the decision to turn it into a nightclub. “That helps prove to the Recher family that this is impacting a lot of people,” Harman says, adding that she thinks local bands will struggle to find a place to play now. “It’s hard not to get tired of playing the same venues.”
The family’s decision to make the switch to the Torrent Nightclub, featuring VIP sections and DJ booths, was for business reasons, says co-owner Brian Recher. “We’re in the middle of a college town,” he says. “If we were the only guys on the block still, we’d be huge. But we can’t compete with bigger venues [like Rams Head Live].”
Unlike Harman, Ryan Glaeser, host of WTMD radio’s Stuck in the Jam, says he isn’t put off by the transition to club music. “A DJ is still an artist,” he says. “They’re still crafting whatever music you’re hearing.” But the closing of the theater, he says, won’t go unnoticed: “You’re always gonna miss a club like the Recher.”