2020 has been called the Summer of Bummer due to the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. Yesterday’s announcement may have taken down one of Orange County’s most notable and beloved institutions. Sadly, Chain Reaction announced that it was closing its doors.
In a statement by Venue Management they said “Chain Reaction is a small business and like many small businesses during this time, we had to close our doors. For our particular business there is no roadmap to re-opening safely. The reality is there may not be a live show in our venue or So Cal for a very long time. With that being said, being closed for the past 7 months has put a big strain on our venue. Without financial help or means to keep paying our expenses, we made the insanely tough decision to close our doors indefinitely. But there’s still hope! Swipe to read how our friends are supporting us…If you would like to help support Chain Reaction too, stop by tomorrow, Saturday, 10/24 from 12pm to 6pm for t-shirts + beer!” Well, fans got the message and showed up in droves.
Since the mid-nineties 1652 Lincoln Ave, in Anaheim has been the center of the Orange County, and in many ways, the Southern California music scene. The Venue formally known as “Public Storage, was eventually named “Chain Reaction” and is simply and affectionately called “Chain” by musicians and fans. Chain has, since its beginning, been a venue that’ been a welcoming and intimate experience for fans of all ages.
With the COVID guidelines and restrictions, Chain has reached a “do or die” moment. With no end to the restrictions Chain has decided to close their doors. That should be it, this should be a farewell piece, but there is hope. “Stick To Your Guns” a indie merch company stepped in and vowing “There is no way Chain is closing” Stick to your guns, created a limited edition shirt to donate to the venue so they may have a way of generating some revenue. Other companies have reached out and offered their services to save this iconic music landmark, including Violent Gentlemen. Bands like Throwdown, 18 vision, and Avenged Sevenfold have also vowed to keep Chain open.
Earlier today Chain held a merchandise and beer sale in their parking lot where fans traveled from all over southern California to help out. The line was enormous, a testament to how much fans love and respect this holy house of music . The sea of people extended from the front door along the property line through the parking lot and down Lincoln and curved around the corner on Euclid.
The line was filled with band shirts, and very patient people who were willing to help such a cherished music venue.
HUGE NUMBER OF FANS SHOW UP IN SUPPORT OF
Somone who reached out to see how he could help was Brian Schrieber of Long Beach, “Chain was our second home, I had my first concert here” Schrieber goes on to add “People tend to think of their first concerts as a giant arena experience, but really its places like this where we see the bands up close and watch them grow.”
Another music fan that made the pilgrimage was Fabian Alonzo from Santa Ana, who said “Chain Reaction is the heart of Orange County, I first came here [Chain] in 2011 to see my friends in “Selling Anxiety” and I thought to myself, This is where I want to be forever.”
Chain’s legend reaches beyond Southern California, Jaclyn Watt a transplant from Chicago, went to college with the guys from Allister. She had heard of Chain Reaction from them. “In Chicago there is a place just like this [Chain] called Fireside Bowl, it’s gritty and small” Jacklyn goes on to tell us the song “Some where on Fullerton” is about that venue, but it also fits with the band because they’re so similar and Chain reminded them of home.
Jacklyn Watt and Geoffrey Gardner
Geoffrey Gardner of Los Angeles said that it was surprising but understandable why the line was so long, Gardner adds “Chain Reaction has an intimacy that other venues don’t have. Even when you go to slightly larger venues like The Observatory, you don’t get that close feeling.” One of Gardner’s favorite memories was being a foot away from New Found Glory.
The truth is this pandemic has hit us hard, the music industry and concert venues in particular have felt a financial sting that will most likely play out just like this at venues across the county. Hopefully federal and/or state assistance becomes available soon to help. In the meantime, we all have to help the hands that help the bands wherever we can. After all, venues like Chain Reaction is where we all grew up, where our hearts still hold our favorite memories, and where we all go to be a family.
This is a developing story, so updates will be forthcoming. To keep up in real time with updates from Chain Reaction Management: