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Haiderali, who formerly owned Treat, took over the space with MP Shows' Brian Peterson a little more than three years ago; the pair changed the name from Pancho's to Township, radically altered the restaurant's menu, and started booking a bevy of underground rock bands almost immediately. The venue became one of the few in town that routinely held all-ages punk shows and hosted an array of local and national up-and-coming outfits. They landed some stellar established outfits in the process: pioneering drone act Earth performed at Township just a year after Haiderali and Peterson bought the place, and the best fourth-wave emo acts have played there too.
"There will be shows, I am meeting with people, all this happened really suddenly, not even 12 hours ago, really—it's just all kind of sprung up on me," Haiderali says. The news of MP Shows' departure from Township first broke during a concert featuring local punk act Dog & Wolf. "I was here when the announcement was being made by the MP staff, it just is reflective of why they are no longer involved in this venue," he says. Haiderali hopes to start booking bands soon, but, "It's going to take a bit to finesse everything, especially with the holiday coming up."
Peterson could not be reached for comment, but we will update you on this story as we hear more about it. The show originally booked for Township tonight, featuring LA group the Singles and local outfit Roach Beach, has been moved to LiveWire Lounge.
UPDATE: We heard from Peterson shortly after publishing the story, who says that he was bought out of his half of Township last night. "My partner and I [Haiderali] have been trying to dissolve our partnership for about a year, and we were essentially negotiating to buy each other out," Peterson says.
Haiderali says the negotiations were handled by developer Gino Battaglia; Haiderali wouldn't say who bought Peterson's ownership in Township, but says Battaglia isn't his new partner. Battaglia owns four buildings on the intersection of California and Augusta in Humboldt Park, and he's in the middle of a publicized revamping of the area.
Peterson says Haiderali wanted a clean break from his booking company. "I did what I could to keep the shows here," Peterson says. "They essentially forced me to cancel or move about 30-plus shows through the end of the year." Peterson and his team are meeting tonight to figure out what to do about the rest of the concert calendar, but the immediate shows have already been moved. "The biggest bummer is being forced to cancel all the shows," he says. "For me that was the dick move, but it is what it is."
We'll provide further updates as soon as we can get a hold of Battaglia.