For roughly 25 years now, the Media Club has occupied a little space on Cambie Street beneath the Queen Elizabeth Theatre complex. It is a fairly subtle venue, with no flashy sign outside its door and a plain-black interior. But the Media Club is loud. If you want live, local music, it is where you head.
"We do all live music," Allana Farnell, the club's manager, said in a phone interview. "We do everything from jazz, blues, rock, metal, punk, country, hip hop–everything."
In 2006, local hard-rock band Unlearned held its CD-release party for its self-titled debut at the Media Club–a rite of passage for groups born and raised in Vancouver. Frontman Tom Buszkowski told the Straight the venue is good for indie bands around town but warned that as more live venues in Vancouver close, the Media Club is going to see big-name shows push out local artists.
"If Puddle of Mud is going to do a show and the Commodore is booked, they go to the Media Club," said Buszkowski. "It is a good venue, but it's almost too busy."
The bar's Web site lists "some of the artists" that have performed at the Media Club, in an epic roll call that goes on for almost 400 names. But long before bands such as the Payola$, Spirit of the West, and 54-40 were playing small shows to sellout crowds, a very different pack kept the Media Club in business.
"It used to be the local hangout, where media people would come," Farnell, said. "For radio, for television, broadcasting–all that kind of stuff."
The CBC has had an office just down the street from the Media Club for as long as the location has served alcohol. For years, writers and media professionals of every sort made the place a notorious industry clubhouse.
Save for a brief stint in 2001 as the Green Room, (a lawsuit brought that name to a quick end), the location has been the Media Club for as long as anyone can remember–and the club's loyalty to live music is not going to change anytime soon.
"We're definitely going to be around for a while," Farnell said. "If not, then there's no Vancouver music scene."