Sound Warning: Davis Square has a rock club now


THE DAVIS SQUARE THEATER will soon displace Radio as Somerville's newest live-music venue. In early March, the 200-person site -- which boasts a full bar and a 1am liquor license -- will kick off the start of their music programming (and the completion of their bespoke sound system) with a mixer hosted by Mary Flatley of MOUNT PERU.

Last winter, while the venue once known as Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theater was undergoing renovations, it hosted the Actors Shakespeare Project's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Associate producer Gabriel Kuttner approached co-owners Ken Kelly and David Flanagan - the proprietors of Saloon and the Foundry, the upmarket bars adjacent to the Davis, as well as Somerville mainstays the Independent and Precinct - about programming. They were in.

"The theater was the only thing that was originally here," Flanagan tells me when I visit the theater on Monday. "We figured that a big part of the complex would be live music."

And they're really close to realizing that goal. When I popped in, the entry walls and the bar had been freshly varnished. Later that afternoon, Kuttner had a meeting with a lighting consultant. As the varnish dries, the Davis is hosting Unlucky in Love, a "romantic burlesque" from the Boston Baby Dolls that runs until Valentine's Day. After that, things will get a little more hectic.

"If we have a theater piece that ends at 7:30, we'll have a show at 9:30," Kuttner says. "A band will be able to come right in." The Davis plans to host plays Wednesday through Sunday and music or comedy shows on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. But Kuttner wants the space filled every night. "There are a lot of possibilities," he says. "We could have readings, we could have bands rehearsing, we could have classes..."

 "On Fridays and Saturdays at midnight, we could have a show going on," Kelly interjects. The trio has been in touch with area sketch comedy troops and hopes to secure them for regular comedy programming.

As for the music, Kuttner hopes the upcoming party will help get the word out. 

"We want to invite bands to come down and see the space," he says. "They'll have the opportunity to DJ from their own playlists. We only have four bands, so if they want to play a couple of songs, they can try out the system."

The mixer is part of what Kuttner's artist-directive music programming initiative. "I know Mary Flatley through the Actors Shakespeare Project. When I met her, she introduced me to her music, and I asked her who she liked to perform with," he says. "If I find an artist I like working with, I want to know who inspires them and what their ideal night would look like."

As we wrapped up our meeting, Kuttner confirmed the first four bands aside from Mount Peru that have upcoming shows at the Davis: BISCUITS AND GRAVY, MICHAEL BERNIER AND THE UPRISING, LOVE IN STOCKHOLM, and THE DOCTOR DOOM ORCHESTRA.

And what about bands looking for a place to play?

"Call me," Kuttner says.

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