Bridge Street Live kicked off its two-year anniversary celebration with a show by roots rockers Donna the Buffalo Thursday night and will continue tonight with the Duke Robillard Band and Saturday with NRBQ.
The capacity crowd, energy and vocalist and multi-instrumentalist’s Tara Nevins’ positive comments about Collinsville were exactly the vibe entertainment director and partner Pat Ryan has sought.
From the beginning the idea was to creat a great listening room and treat the artists well, Ryan said.
“People are learning it’s a cool place in a cool town and we treat people well,” Ryan said. “We’re here for all the right reasons. We’re music lovers.”
In fact many artists have wanted to play repeat shows at the venue and others have sought it out, Ryan said.
Ryan said he’s thrilled to see that happening, thinking it would take five years to start and see the excitment in the industry.
But since the 250-seat, art-deco styled venue opened two years ago, there have been some struggles.
A privately owned, funded and maintained club is tough to launch, Ryan said. Along the way there’s been a few sparsely attended shows and even some that never got off the ground due to lack of ticket sales.
But Ryan’s stuck to his vision, getting comedians and respected musicians in a variety of styles.
It’s sometimes a tough road, he said, adding that the venue could easily cash in with acts such as cover bands. But that’s not realy what the venue has set out to do.
It entails booking a variety of acts in many styles, such as blues, folk, jazz, bluegrass and rock.
“I don’t book anything I wouldn’t want to see,” Ryan said.
However, he admits to booking a few acts he’s not quite sure of such as a past show with Kenny Vance and the Planotones, an act that ended up doing well.
Numerous reknowned acts such as J. Geils, Ronnie Spector, Sarah Borges and Allman Brothers Band drummer Jaimoe have graced the stage.
Ryan said he’s also constantly discovering new acts. Americana band The Steel Wheels have played several shows at the venue and gained an area following.
“As soon as you know it all you may as well quit,” Ryan said. There does have to be some business sense as well, he added.
“It’s a balance between passion and business,” he said.
While there are exceptions, the venue is now producing most of its shows on weekends, he said. In addition, it serves a Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
New chef Frank O’Malley will soon take that a la cart with breakfast and lunch choices, Ryan said.
Food is sold at show but the plan is to open a full restaurant next spring, Ryan said.
But before closing for its winter break after New Year’s Eve, the venue has a variety of shows coming. Styles and price vary.