ATHENS — Tuesday nights on Court Street are typically reserved for non-sticky hardwood floors, unoccupied bathroom stalls and empty seats. Outside “Taco Tuesdays” at Broneys Alumni Bar & Grill, it’s a fairly slow night for most Athens bars.
So, for Red Brick Tavern owner Daniel DeLuca, opting to try something new wouldn’t pose much of a risk.
In place of the empty Tuesday nights at “The Brick,” DeLuca decided to have local bands perform live for the first time in nearly four years on Tuesday.
The last time Red Brick Tavern attempted to book performances from local bands was in 2015, with the last potential performance from the now Grammy Award-winning rock band, Twenty One Pilots. As he described his passion for live music, DeLuca said he was inspired to recreate the tavern’s nights focused on showcasing local DJs and bands.
“I always supported,” he said. “I was a pianist and my little brother plays the piano down at the OU Inn on Thursdays. I’ve always been a supporter of music in general. And I like people to play instruments and I’m here to support those kind of things.
“And I always wanted to be one of those venues with live performances. I love bars that have live music and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It seems like Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays up town aren’t engaged toward the party scene like they used to be. It kind of frees up more space for that kind of stuff.”
On Tuesday, local bands “Boy Jorts,” the “Phennies” and “IID” each performed one-hour sets, which drew in a unique crowd of spectators. Red Brick’s center floor was filled with people enamored with the city’s music scene. They stood on bar seats and tables to see over the 40-50 people in attendance.
Noah Gruenberg, an electric violinist for “Boy Jorts,” said the size of the crowd speaks to the impact of Athens local music. Though it’s relatively small he says, it’s continuing to grow, especially with venues like Red Brick making way for more performances for Athens artists and bands.
“The music scene is bustling,” Gruenberg said. “There’s a lot going on in it at many levels. I’m honored to be part of it and I’m surprised they [Red Brick Tavern] didn’t host bands more often.”
Athens EDM DJ, Mike Oettinger, who performs under the name DJ Hex, also described the significance of Tuesday’s unexpected crowd.
“The turn out was wild,” Oettinger said. “The owner was extremely happy with our turnout and it goes to show the willingness of Athens to support live music by physically showing up.”
With the success of Tuesday’s event, DeLuca says he wants to continue having live music at Red Brick. He’s decided to open up more opportunities for local talent to perform on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Devoting 2-3 hours during the night, DeLuca says, could contribute to more exposure for artists and draw in supporters to “The Brick.”
“I want to have a place for people to go out and have an event and a reason to enjoy their night. Not just another night of drinking. Some entertainment. And I think it’s just great experience for local musicians to get their name out there.
“I know YouTube and stuff is a huge help with that but they have to practice in front of live people. Otherwise, they can only do so much. If they want to move on to the next level, they got to perform somewhere to get that experience.”
With venues like Red Brick, and others like The Union, Casa Nueva and Donkey Coffee opening doors for aspiring musicians, the music scene will continue to blossom DeLuca says.
In time, allowing up and coming artists to continue gaining experience performing live and be exposed to larger audiences. In doing so, encouraging the growth of Athens’ local music scene with the expansion of artist’s opportunities and local’s support.
“I think it’s just great experience for all the local musicians to get their name out there,” he said. “And I know YouTube and stuff is a huge help with that but they have to practice in front of live people. Otherwise, they can only do so much. If they want to move on to the next level, they got to perform somewhere to get that experience.
“I hope people keep coming out and supporting local music so I can keep doing this because it’s something I want to do. We got to get the support for live music to get the live music where it’s at. I hope we can keep it for years to come.”
– The Athens Messenger