How Local Musicians and Small Biz Help Each Other

The Nu Visionaries are a local band that writes songs about their community. Barney's Bar and Grille is a family-owned restaurant that's been around for decades. The band needs mom and pop venues to play for the fans they've developed on social media. The restaurant needs new patrons since revenue has been steadily falling off for years, due to rising food prices and a trend toward nutritional awareness. Together, the band and venue want to help each other.

The band is able to get 50-100 diehard fans to pay and come see them wherever they play in town. Their goal is to play a different club every night of the week. They already nailed down Rudy's Dancehall Friday nights and Kerrington's Underground Lounge on Saturday nights. They want to play Barney's on Thursday nights and the rest of the week play at organic food venues and places powered by solar energy.

The reason they're playing Barney's is not because they support old burger and beer joints. It's more because they support family-owned small businesses. They ultimately want to convince the owner to switch the menu mostly to health food so that their educated audience isn't overwhelmed by old world ambiance and decadent food choices. Part of the deal is they get free food plus a cut of the door.

Most bar bands play familiar cover songs, whereas the Nu Visionaries do mostly originals with a few classic covers mixed in. The point of their music is not so much to be rock stars, but to give community issues a stronger voice through music. They see through the "rock is dead" hype by mainstream media and want to give rock a good image, linking it to charities and causes.

Barney's is owned by Elvis Barney, who named himself after his idol Elvis Presley in the fifties when his dad first opened the restaurant as a drive-thru burger joint with waitresses on roller skates. The club has tried to maintain a classic rock vibe since then. The Nu Visionaries fit in because sometimes they do covers like "Rock Around the Clock" and "Johnny B. Goode," but more as lead-ins to stories about how rock has evolved to include songs about deeper consciousness.

A few months ago Barney's announced it would be closing its doors due to slow business. The band found out and met with Elvis, asking if they could play the club for their fans. He said yes and was amazed by the results. He even gave the band a $500 tip and said they definitely brought in new customers. There's a good chance he's going to start adjusting the menu to suit the new patrons that are taking over Barney's on Thursday nights.

Created by Alex Cosper