by Josh Gross
Ryan Sampson, frontman for local pop-punk band Hotel Chelsea, has a firm handle on the quandary local bands often face.
“You can only play the same two places so many times,” he said.
But local musicians will soon have one more place to add to that list.
Sampson was hired at Sammy’s, 509 Main St., to help transition the space away from a DJ-centric atmosphere and back into being a live-music venue similar to when it was Gusto.
“Right before I got that call, I was reading a lot of posts on Facebook about people missing playing in that spot,” Sampson said. “It will be nice to have another venue downtown."
Live music at Sammy’s will primarily happen Thursdays and Sundays, with a rock focus, but the bar may add other nights and styles on a case-by-case basis.
“I want to call it more of a punk rock-style club, but we’re willing to cater more to whoever wants to play,” said Sampson. “If a bluegrass band wants to play, we’re into it.”
As for the venue’s location—deep in “Bro-Country”—Sampson isn’t concerned.
“The Red Room faired pretty well when it was down on Sixth and Main [Streets],” he said. “So I don’t see anything wrong with throwing the freak show down there."
Plus, the bar’s owners built a wall between Sammy’s and The Silly Birch (formerly Mack and Charlie’s).
“There used to be a door between the two, and that was the source of a lot of fighting,” he said.
Sampson said the venue’s first show should be First Thursday, Feb. 7. Bands interested in playing at Sammy’s should contact him directly via his email email@example.com until the venue gets its Web presence together for booking.