January 25, 2007

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Local music and much more
The Red Blazer in Concord
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

The Red Blazer, located right outside Concord’s downtown district on Manchester Street, is a part of Concord’s growing music scene.

Joe Thackeray, the music booking manager at The Red Blazer, has seen a lot of changes in Concord’s music scene, being a native and a resident of Concord for most of his life.

What was Concord’s music scene like when you were growing up?
Well, when I was 21 years old through 25 years old, the music scene really wasn’t too good. It was all dance music back then, like mid-’90s hip-hop and stuff like that. I don’t even think there was much live music back in the day when I’m growing up. But, it seems now that people are drifting back to the live music scene.

So, what does The Red Blazer bring to the scene?
The Red Blazer is the place to be in Concord. We have the best entertainment, best pub, best wait-staff. The food is the best. Everything is homemade but the French fries. Even on my day off, I come up here to eat. Everything here is awesome. Actually, we were thinking of not doing entertainment this year, but then decided to keep doing it.

Are you bringing in local bands or ...?
I’ve been doing this for almost two years now, booking the bands, so I did my homework. I went out to see some of the bands, see what they’re like and whether or not they’ll fit into the mix up here. Every band I have here comes with a good following. They’re mostly local bands like Last Kid Picked, The Joshua Tree [a U2 cover band], Chafed, Josh Logan [Rockstar Supernova], Mama Kicks, the Chad LaMarsh Band, Lisa Love Experience, Hot Damn...

How many nights of music does The Red Blazer feature?
Three nights — on Thursdays we do solo acoustic shows, Fridays are for local original bands (sometimes there will be a cover band in rotation), and Saturdays are for the local favorites, like Mama Kicks and Last Kid Picked.

Can you describe the atmosphere at The Red Blazer?
It’s more of an upscale, 25-and-up crowd, with no attitudes. It’s the martini-drinking crowd, but we have our beer-drinkers too, or people who just want to dance.

They expect to come here, have a great dinner and listen to some great music. [The Red Blazer] is a big venue. It used to be about 6,000 square feet now, now it’s up over 14,000 square feet, so we can fit a lot of people in here.

The Red Blazer is a smoke-free establishment. We have a separate dining room. Then we have what we call the “upper pub” and the “lower pub.” Then we have another room, which we call the “Blazer room.”

At 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, we open the partition between the Blazer room and the lower pub, so that way people can look down and see the bands.

We also have one of the biggest liquor selections in town with more than 30 different flavors of vodka. Plus, we probably have one of the best wine selections in town.

So, what if a band were looking to perform at the Red Blazer?
If a band wanted to play the Red Blazer, they can send demos and if I like them I may hire them. I’ve gotten more than 150 demos and actually only hired maybe five or six bands out of all of those. I try to bring in the locals more so than anyone else. We don’t like bands to play here and then play everywhere else around town too.

Support the Troops
What: The Red Blazer will host a “Support the Troops” night with the band Cruise Control. Proceeds will benefit the soldiers of Charlie “Rock,” 2nd Platoon Marauders of the 1-18 Infantry Battalion and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division.
When: Saturday, Feb. 17
Where: The Red Blazer Restaurant and Pub, 72 Manchester St., Concord, 224-4101
How much: There is an $8 cover charge (to raise money for the troops).
For more information: To see a complete music schedule, go to theredblazer.com or pick up a copy of The Red Blazer’s newsletter.