By Rob Cullivan | CNews Editor
As Covid lockdowns and masking mandates end, people have come out to slake their live music thirst at two of Concordia’s most popular venues, the Alberta Rose Theatre and T.C. O’Leary’s.
Talent Buyer Adam East of Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., says the venue has hosted live performances since last September and is now just about back to its pre-pandemic average of five shows per week.
Upcoming shows include Booker T. Jones of “Green Onions” fame May 1; Portland singer Stephanie Schneiderman and indie rockers Swansea on May 6 as well as a musical tribute to Dolly Parton on June 4 called “Dolly Hoot” featuring local musicians.
Alberta encourages patrons to be vaccinated as well as wear masks, East said, but doesn’t require either. Alberta weathered the Covid storm by being creative.
“We switched to online shows, and presented over 150 livestream shows during lockdown,” East said. “We had a subscription service that kept some of our staff working, and provided some work for musicians in the local scene who had seen all their gigs dry up. We lost a few staff members, but most came back.”
Down the street at Irish music hub T.C. O’Leary’s, 2926 Alberta St., owner Tom O’Leary said he’s hosted performances since the end of the first lockdown, in spring 2020 and whenever regulations permitted after that. However, O’Leary’s did move its performers to an enclosed area outside the pub to decrease the potential for Covid transmission.
“We kept it outside as much as we possibly could depending on the temperature,” he said, noting patrons could enjoy the performances via video screens inside the pub. O’Leary’s doesn’t ask patrons to be masked or show vaccination cards, but the pub owner said his establishment can accommodate those who are concerned about Covid exposure.
“If anyone was feeling nervous to be back in this environment, we have plenty of space outside,” he said, noting the pub has seating room for up to 60 people outside.
O’Leary’s will ask for proof of vaccinations and that patrons be masked when Tom stars in the award-winning Irish American tale “The Smuggler,” which opened April 28 and which runs through to May 22 (see related story page 8). The Dublin born actor says regulations are different for theater as opposed to music, and the pub must abide the rules guiding playhouses for its staging of “The Smuggler.”
CNews Editor Rob Cullivan is a veteran journalist, publicist and grant writer who has written about everything from rock ‘n’ roll to religion. He possesses a deep affection for writers and photographers who hit deadline.