Law to put his stamp on House of Blues

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / February 26, 2011

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Don Law is about to get more heavily involved in the concert business. The savvy promoter who’s influenced the live music scene in New England for nearly four decades is buying 50 percent of the Boston House of Blues from Live Nation. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed and licensing issues haven’t been resolved, but we’re told the deal is all but done. Law’s Boston Opera Ventures is partnering with Joe Dunne and Declan Mehigan, with whom he already owns the Paradise and Brighton Music Hall. The trio is forming a new group called Crossroads Presents, which plans to make some changes at the club.

“We hope to add to the experience,’’ Dunne says. “We want to give it more of a local feel than a corporate feel. We hope to do away with any cookie-cutter aspect.’’ (Dunne and Mehigan have a separate partnership that owns other Boston rooms, including Lir, McGann’s, and the Globe on Boylston Street.)

“I would read into that the booking will be centered in Boston rather than Live Nation corporate offices,’’ said Gary Bongiovanni, editor in chief of the concert-industry magazine Pollstar.

The Boston House of Blues, which reopened a few years ago in the Lansdowne Street space formerly occupied by Avalon and Axis, is the largest of the 12 HOB franchises. (It can accommodate 2,400 people or scale down to 1,000 for smaller shows.) In 2009, according to Pollstar, the club sold 314,597 tickets, more than any other club in the world. But figures aren’t available for 2010 because Live Nation no longer provides them.

“[Live Nation chairman] Irving Azoff told me directly that he thinks Wall Street doesn’t understand the numbers and that was having a negative effect on Live Nation’s stock price,’’ Bongiovanni said. “It’s all about money.’’

Live Nation will report its fourth-quarter earnings Monday and, according to analysts, the picture isn’t pretty.