TOWNSHIP – Josh Brewer was standing inside the Auricle one recent morning, the music club vacant and quiet.
A stage and an enhanced sound system were inactive. The same was true for the bar, where patrons haven’t sat down and ordered beer or watched a rock show since May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brewer admitted that had it not been for a 30-year federal loan he received in November through the Small Business Administration, the concert hall would have been forced to close.
“It’s not a joke,” he said. “I had $ 500 in my account for The Auricle.”
A smile crossed Brewer’s face as he spoke about the reopening of The Auricle on Friday with a free outdoor performance at 8:30 p.m. by the Pinkertones, a Weezer tribute group, as part of the events of First Friday in Canton city center.
Friday’s show is just the start. Musicians and bands are expected to perform throughout the summer, including an outdoor concert on Saturday at 8 p.m. by Lost Dog Street Band and an outdoor performance by The Shootouts on June 12 to mark the release of their new album, “Bullseye”.
National acts include a summer show on July 11 by O-Town, Ryan Cabrera and LFO; and a concert on August 13 by Patrick Sweany, blues-rock musician from Massillon. Popular regional group The Vindys joins Sweany on the bill.
Live music brings some normality back to the world, said Brewer, who admitted to relearning some of the intricacies of ordering beer from a distributor and other aspects of running a business.
“I am delighted to be making live music again,” he said. “I think everyone is excited to go out and see live music again.
“… I live for live music. That’s what I do – I haven’t been successful as a musician, so I bring good musicians to people.”
Ryan Humbert, lead singer of The Shootouts, echoed Brewer’s enthusiasm.
“We expect a good crowd, but we want to keep people safe,” he said of the June 12 concert.
Fans can look forward to an energetic and quick performance, Humbert promised of the show, which also includes Anya Van Rose and Marc Lee Shannon.
“I think we are known for our live performances,” said Humbert, who also plays guitar. “We’re out there having fun, and it’s contagious. I think it’s going to be tenfold (at The Auricle) because we haven’t played in a while, and we have this brand new music with it. which we didn’t make people. “
Surviving the pandemic
The pandemic and federal loan made it possible to upgrade the mixing board and the sound system in the hall, which will improve performance, Brewer explained.
Other improvements include installing a window to the side of the bar, so that drinks can be served to customers on the terrace.
Sitting at the bar, Brewer reflects on the state of his life a year ago.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought much of The Auricle,” he said, noting that he was more concerned with the health and well-being of his family and friends. “I didn’t care to open the bar. I just wanted to survive the pandemic and get out on the other side.”
In-person concerts at the club were non-existent during the pandemic. A concert was broadcast live from The Auricle.
The last event at the venue was a March 5, 2020 show by the national act The Get Up Kids.
Search for staff to hire
The reopening has been difficult, with the return of a staff member from The Auricle’s pre-pandemic bar, Brewer said.
Several friends have agreed to help, and Brewer will serve drinks himself out of necessity.
For now, Brewer said, The Auricle will only be open for events, but daily hours will be added when it hires more employees.
Most of Auricle’s upcoming concerts will take place outdoors on the portable stage at Kempthorn Motors. The bar inside the club will be open and drinks can be enjoyed both during concerts and on the terrace. Toilets will also be available inside the Auricle.
Second Street in Cleveland Avenue NW will close next to The Auricle for shows.
Concert participants can bring chairs and blankets. However, Brewer requests that these participants sit behind the standing crowd; he said the stage is four feet from the ground and should provide a clear view for all spectators.
When some of the concerts were booked in December and January via giveaways from Celebrity Etc, the COVID-19 vaccines showed promise, but the feasibility of hosting indoor events was still uncertain, he said.
Future shows will likely be booked indoors, Brewer said. Outdoor concerts can be moved indoors when it rains.
“Now we can do whatever we want,” he said.
Contact Ed at 330-580-8315 and [email protected]
On Twitter @ebalintREP
Concerts return to The Auricle
Friday: The Pinkertones (Weezer tribute band; free outdoor event)
Saturday: Lost Dog Street Band (outdoor)
June 11: Into The Mystic (ban on homage to Van Morrison; outside)
June 12: The Shootouts (outdoor)
June 25: 90s Dance Party (outdoor)
July 11: O-Town, Ryan Cabrera and LFO (outside)
July 13: Electric Six, VOLK (inside)
July 23: Joceyln & Chris Arndt (interior)
July 28: The Reverend Horton Heat (outdoor)
July 31: Led Zeppelin 2 tribute group (outdoor)
August 13: Patrick Sweany and The Vindys (outside)
For more information on tickets and concerts visit: www.ticketweb.com/venue/the-auricle-canton-oh/463925