Last week we noted the arrival of a new rock club in Somerville called RADIO. This 200-person capacity venue at 379 Somerville Ave., in the space formerly called Club Choices, will join a fairly crowded live music scene in Union Square, lining up nearly across the street from P.A’s Lounge and Sally O’Brien’s and just a short walk from Precinct and Starlab. But with the addition of a new record store, endless Facebook updates about folks relocating to the area (happens every August, no?), and maybe even the MBTA Green Line extension happening in our lifetime, Union Square, pictured above via a 1909 postcard, certainly seems ready to handle the extra attention.
The main players in Radio are owners AIMEE MCGRATH and JOSH BANVILLE (who come over from behind the bar and booking table of the Rosebud Bar and Grill in Davis Square), venue chef JIM SEERY, and Boston Band Crush founder ASHLEY WILLARD, who will oversee booking. The venue, set to open in October, promises a Thursday to Sunday local live music slate, with most shows locked into a $5 cover. Earlier today, On The Download reached out to Willard via email on how Radio came together, what the club has in store, and what’s confirmed on the live sked so far. Check out Radio’s first batch of listings after the info jump.
SO, HOW'D THIS COME TOGETHER?: “I knew [McGrath] wanted a club of her own – she'd been talking about that dream for as long as I'd known her – and she knew that I was trying to find my way out of an unsatisfying corporate day job. She, Josh, Jim and I have since been quietly planning, and we're all very much on the same page which is great. It's a strong team with a high dose of determination. There's no ego involved, we all just want to give the best that we can to our community.”
WHAT’S THE DEAL?: “We all feel strongly that the more places for local bands to play, the better, so we're not here to try and give other venues a run for their money, but rather we hope to become a vital part of the community. I think the location is especially awesome given what's already happening in Union. I lived there 10 years ago and it was such a different place then; now, it's the kind of place you can spend an evening and have so many options. Plus everyone I know seems to be moving there.”
IS THERE LOVE INVOLVED?: “We're super focused on making sure that bands are treated well and that the sound and atmosphere are as good as they can be, and over time these things will only get better. We want bands to feel like this is a home for them, where they can have a part in building it from the ground up. We also want this to be a place where people can come hang out and discover new bands without breaking the bank, and to that point we hope to keep the cover at $5 for most shows.”
WHAT IF WE’RE HUNGRY?: “In addition to being a venue, we'll also be a full service restaurant, though in the beginning Jim will be challenged by the limitations of a small kitchen that isn't very state-of-the-art. Over time we hope to be able to renovate the kitchen, but in the meantime Jim is more than up to the challenge.”
GOT BANDS?: “I've been overwhelmed by booking inquiries, which is great – anyone who knows me knows that I truly love Boston music and I want to be able to book everyone. I can't respond to every email but I have been listening to everything I've received, and there are a lot of bands that will remain on my radar while I find the perfect bill for them."
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER LISTINGS @ RADIO:
Friday, Oct. 7: The Rationales, The Organ Beats, John Powhida International Airport, “and one more beloved local act that we can't announce quite yet.”
Saturday, Oct. 8: BrownBoot, AM Stereo, Watts and The Dirty Truckers.
Sunday, Oct. 9: Dinner With the Band: Erin Harpe -- “an occasional free Sunday event during the dinner hour where Jim will prepare a menu that accompanies the act that's playing. In this case, a Delta-inspired menu to accompany Erin Harpe's Delta blues.
Saturday, Oct. 15: Parlour Bells / Sarah RabDAU & Self-Employed Assassin / Garvy J / Eldridge Rodriguez
Sunday, Oct. 16: Nina Violet / Willy Mason / Tallahassee
Friday, Oct. 28: Halloween with local bands/musicians covering The B-52s, Pat Benatar, INXS, James Brown
Saturday, Nov. 5: Guillermo Sexo / Age Rings / Marconi / The Future Everybody
Sunday, Nov. 6: The Fagettes / Thick Shakes / more TBA
Friday, Nov. 11: Mitten / Lovewhip / Streight Angular / SPF 5000
Saturday, Nov. 19: Mellow Bravo / InAeona / Rule / Cask Mouse