Allstage Crawl: Indie Wednesday w/ Howzat
So, on February 20th, 2019 I went to check out Fitzrays Indie Wednesday night with my good friends in Howzat. As most of you know already, Fitzrays has been a bastion for live music in downtown London for over a decade and many a great bands/artist have taken the stage there. Having played there many a time with my band Bender I know first-hand how the patrons who attend are huge live music fans.
Mark, Andrea (his wife) and Jay Bell have done amazing job over that decade dealing with not only the economic ups and downs of a Ontario economy, but the long drawn out agonizing construction that took place in the Richmond to Talbot downtown block that strangled local business of all stripes.
I have long admired as his friend, Mark’s uncanny ability to dodge the obstacles and constantly come up with new strategies to deal with the rigors of running a live music venue in the core – its not an easy business to be a part of and requires a constant moving of the parts to remain viable.
Indie Night at Fitzrays is an opportunity for local indie acts to go in and perform a 9-11pm slot to showcase their music – and they DO get paid as a result.
The caretakers of the event are Tara Scott a local photographer, Rockin Wheel partner and an integral part of the Fitzrays music team, while local legend Jeffy B is the quarterback of the night as he arranges the bands to perform for this event, looks after soundman duties and oversees the technical needs of the bands – a drum kit less brass is supplied for bands and there is in-house PA and lighting system.
The venue is essentially split in two halves. The back half by the bar (closest to Dundas Street) allows patrons to hear/see the bands but offers more of an area for those that want to watch the big screens or just chat. The front half of the venue is the “music” side that caters more to focusing on the bands/artists with multiple comfortable tables and great sight lines to the live music.
The atmosphere for the venue is perfect, classy pictures of music acts on the walls along with dimmed lighting to take in the atmosphere of live music and the decent size stage and the classy “Fitzrays” backdrop at the back of the stage gives patrons that feeling of being in a upscale venue.
The food is excellent, and the servers are totally on top of looking after the patrons and keeping everyone happy with food and beverage orders all night with no lag times.
On this night my pals in Howzat blistered one long 90-minute set of their original material and the intimacy between audience and patrons in the hands of Kevin and the boys makes everyone part of the show. I LOVE the 90-minute set concept, the show started at 9:00pm and was over by 10:30pm – even on a Wednesday work night it still gets people home in time to get a good night’s sleep and go to work the next day without feeling exhausted.
For any young indie bands or artists, this is a great mid-week event to be a part of. Tara takes high-quality pictures of the musicians and you get to play in one of London’s most sought after live music venues with in house lights, PA and a competent and experienced soundman to look after the technical side for you.
Check it out as it runs every Wednesday and while you are there grab some free popcorn – it goes great with beer.
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Jim McCormick - Allstage