A couple of weeks ago, a newsletter from Geoff Bartley featured a want ad for bluegrass bands to play at his well-known Cambridge club, The Cantab, which features bluegrass on Tuesday evenings. I asked Geoff if I could reproduce it, since (a) there may be folks in bands who read this blog, and (b) it’s interesting to hear a little inside baseball from the club world, which most of us never encounter. Besides, Geoff always writes in an engaging style:
WANTED: 4- and 5-piece BLUEGRASS BANDS to open or headline at the Cantab in Cambridge MA. Bands can be traditional or any hybrid with obvious traditional roots and skill sets. Tuesday nights only.
Cantab Bluegrass Tuesdays
If you have a bluegrass band w/ the above credentials or can put one together and would like a Tuesday night gig at the Cantab, please rattle my cage.
The 8:30 to 9:30 opening set: $10 per person up to $50 from the Cantab plus tips and one drink each, any drink, your choice. Water+cups will be on stage. The hat will sit on the front edge of the stage, but I don’t actively pass it. People must walk up there. I need four- and five-piece bands to open every 1st, 3rd and 4th Tuesday of the month, January through June. I tend to give out six openers at a time, but single openers are available. Tony Watt’s invitational jams start at 8:00 and are notably successful. You are welcome to start at 8:00 if you like. Opening sets are preferred by many players and are especially good if you have to be up early. They can work in many ways, too. On September 23rd recently… to cite a striking example… our friends Jenni Lyn Gardner and Kyle Tuttle and their band played the first set. Ken Irwin and Marian Leighton-Levy, former owners of Rounder Records, came to hear them. But whoever you are, the crowd will reward personality, genuineness, and fire by putting money in the hat.
The 10 to 11 headline set (one 50-minute set plus encore) I go around w/ the hat to everyone in the bar. The average hat these days is $250. But, again, the audience rewards personality, genuineness, and fire.
The Cantab of course is at 768 Massachusetts Avenue, Central Square in Cambridge, 617-354-2685, Cantab-Lounge.com which Geoff describes as “A small, unpretentious, multi-racial, multi-generational, cash-only, beer&shots neighborhood bar with live music seven nights and Christmas lights up and on year ’round. Food but not drinks may be brought in.” It’s good to learn that the bands may actually make a little money, too.
Adds Geoff: “I’m not as desperate as I sound.” But if you’ve got the requisite “personality, genuineness, and fire,” give him a call. /CL