The Social Club will start hosting live music after an almost 20-year hiatus. The student bar, which sits at the top of the University of New Brunswick campus, hopes to bring in business during the otherwise slower Friday and Saturday nights.
Matt Harris has managed the Social Club since 1988 and says although the live music scene was bumping throughout the 90’s, things dwindled for the bar closer to the mid-2000s.
“In the past we’ve sort of stayed clear of it because there really wasn’t a great need for two venues on campus to be going after it aggressively,” Harris said, referring to the second campus bar, The Cellar.
The Cellar was also at one time a hot spot for live shows almost 20 years ago. Since the advent of Youtube and other internet media platforms, however, The Cellar has seen attendance drop drastically.
It’s one of the reasons why Harris feels the Social Club can join in on the live music scene.
“If we’re both doing a little bit of [live music] then theoretically live music will stay the same way on campus,” he said. “We’d like to keep it to local campus bands – but we’d like to put a comfortable pocket here [the Social Club] for live music in the future.”
Third-year UNB student Adam Eagles will play one of the Social Club’s first live shows with his band Bad Friends on Jan. 23 and says he’s excited to get his foot further in the local music scene door. The four-member group met at UNB and have played a handful of campus shows since then, including Battle of the Bands.
Eagles said playing at the Social Club will help with networking in Fredericton’s small but rampant live music scene.
“It’ll be good to see different groups of people we haven’t been in contact with before,” said Eagles. “Most of the people that know us are usually good friends or people from residence – it’s pretty exciting considering we’re not super well known yet.”
Along with fellow members Mitch Rayner, Steph Kingston and Jon Nicole, the Bad Friends play mostly pop-rock, but Eagles said sometimes they’ll go from the Great Big Sea to Chromeo in a heartbeat during their shows. It’s something the —- says will go well with the quieter weekend nights compared to the Social Club’s busier Thursday and Friday nights.
“You can just enjoy the show – you don’t have to be up dancing. It could attract people that don’t normally go to the Social Club – we want it to be a comfortable atmosphere,” said Eagles.
Harris hopes to bring in live music consistently, and wants customers to be able to relax and enjoy their meal if they feel like taking it easy. Harris says the bar is fully equipped for sound and encourages artists to contact him or the Social Club if they’re looking to play.
“You can pretty much sit anywhere and enjoy the music in here,” Harris said. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a year – this has opened a door in more ways than one.”