In the past few years, the city has waved goodbye to a number of high-profile live music venues. Increasing rents and a drop in profits have seen numerous downtown businesses rethink their live music setups. Locations like the Media Club have become casualties of the scene, with the venue likely to be repurposed from a 150-capactity, DIY-band hub into a restaurant, patio, and reconfigured live space under Browns Restaurant Group’s direction.
As sites like the Media Club reconsider their commitment to live music, however, Chambar—a modern, casual dining spot—is moving into the business. Situated steps from Gastown—and, incidentally, just two blocks from the Media Club—the spot wants to prove that local artists are welcome downtown. Launching a weekly Thursday night live music series named Shadow Sessions, the restaurant sees its collection of performances as an important contribution to Vancouver’s culture.
According to co-owner Karri Schuermans, staging live music has always been a part of Chambar’s original vision since its launch in 2004. As well as recognizing that the city attracts top talent in the tech, clean energy, and real estate sectors, Schuermans also notes the growing lack of creative or entertainment spaces for artists and citizens.
“Live music is the next part of our evolution toward physically manifesting the values and culture we want in this city,” she says. “Chambar is providing a space where you can still hear the person you’re talking to; the wine, cocktails and service are impeccable; and the calibre of local music and sound quality is excellent. The vibe is so good, you might just get up and dance.”
The Shadow Sessions began on September 28, and will continue through to November 16, with the roster featuring a diverse range of genres. Past performers include electronic soul artist Tonye and R&B outlet the Johnny Tobin Trio, and future artists are slated to lay down some hip-hop, rock, and DJ skills.
Grammy Award-winning singer and producer Chin Injeti—known for working with DJ Khalil on tracks for Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Drake, and Eminem—will take to the stage on Thursday (November 2), while Wide Mouth Mason singer and guitarist’s Shaun Verreault Trio will play on November 9. Rhythmic percussion outlet Flow n’ Motion plays alongside local DJ legend Flipout to close the series on November 16, elevating his choice of records with their accompanying beats.
All shows begin at 9 p.m., and there will be no cover. Drink specials from a rotating roster of featured cocktails will be available from $9 to $11, and the full fall menu will also be offered.
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