Columbia’s newest music club is set to open on the campus of a downtown church.
No one will move into a refurbished garage on Barnwell Street owned by Midtown Fellowship, which has its downtown worship hall next door. Like The Main Course, the Main Street entertainment complex which recently announced its intention to operate as a music venue, it appears on the scene as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to subside.
A church and a club might seem odd, but the team behind the new venture says there will be no limit to the types of acts they can feature.
“It’s not like the church is sponsoring,” said Jared Wise, seated at the simple wooden bar in the Nobodies space, surrounded by business partners Aaron Anderson, Britton Rauscher and Adrian Gonzalez.
“You know, if (someone) raps about, you know, a lot of things you’d hear in rap, or the metal guys talk about devil worship, it’s not like the church has its own.” name on it. It’s just our place that we just rent to a church that owns the site.
The connection with Midtown Fellowship came from Wise and Gonzalez who attended church. They reached an agreement to take back the rarely used building.
When Free Times visited the venue on Memorial Day, it was bright and welcoming, with glass garage doors on either end, which the partners plan to open and use the parking space for some of their events. There is a small stage flanked by two flat screen TVs. The pristine white walls provide an opportunity to showcase local visual artists, Gonzalez noted.
As for the team’s initial motivation to open a club, it started with their participation in the Columbia music scene. Their background spans rap and playing in rock bands, and the venue’s first show, scheduled for June 11, is a 10-act hip-hop bill dubbed 10 Summers, the sequel to a eruption called 10 Winters, which the local rapper and sometimes promoter Rauscher launched just before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hope is to try to do two or three shows a month and then increase to two or three a week.
“We’re real musicians on the music scene here,” Gonzalez said, pointing out one of the benefits they see for themselves when they find out what will draw people to the room. “We’ve done our homework and tried to figure out who’s going to see who, who’s up and who’s up.”
Providing a space for hip-hop shows, which partners have found difficult to find venues in Colombia, is a goal for Nobodies, as is making the entire music scene more visible. Partners love what they see at clubs like New Brookland Tavern, Art Bar, and Tin Roof, places with capabilities similar to Nobodies’ 200. They just want to do more shows and make more room for different styles and perspectives. .
“We don’t want it to be like a regular bar,” Anderson offered. The club don’t have a liquor license at the moment, and while they plan to get one down the line, they don’t want drinking to become the main draw.
“If you want to go see live music, usually in Five Points you go to a bar,” Anderson continued. “And that’s pretty much what it is. We want to be those people who really focus on live music.
“I don’t think we’re trying to usurp anybody,” Wise said. “We all try to come together to develop the music community. And I think it would be difficult for one or two sites to transport a city that way. Like Nashville, they have a place on every corner, which makes it Nashville. We love New Brookland, we love Art Bar, all of these places, but we just want to offer another alternative.
No one will make a music club presence in the block, as the main Midtown Fellowship building previously housed the cavernous and sporadically booked Columbia Soundstage. The team referred to the nearby presence of the township auditorium, which you can see through the front garage window, as making people already feel comfortable coming to the area for performances. And they pointed to the space’s relative proximity to hot spots like Cottontown, Main Street, and Vista, as being beneficial in attracting people who would like to enjoy dinner and a show.
As for opening a venue on the cusp of a pandemic, partners admitted it was an uncertain time.
“It could be really ugly,” Rauscher said. “Or we could take this huge leap of faith and – you know, knocking wood there, it’s going pretty well right now.”
But they also see an opportunity in the opening now. With people excited to get out as COVID-19 wanes and with their pre-pandemic habits disrupted, this could be a good time to get them to try something new.
“We kind of wanted to grab that on the upside,” Wise explained. “Things are slackening off a bit and life is starting to get back to normal, and we wanted to be there. So when people can go out, (it’s) like, ‘Oh, there’s this new place? Let’s try this.
“I think we’re coming at the right time at the right time. “
June 11 7:30 p.m. With STEPHAN, Zaria, Britton Rauscher, Austin Semo, Merct he World + Rad BlueBillz, Jay Kronic, Jay Laurent, Young Mark, Shelby Simmons, Donttell. $ 5. Anybody. 1614 Barnwell Street nobodiescolumbia.com.