Editor's note: Music Farm Columbia's grand opening has been postponed because of construction delays. Tickets to Friday's grand opening concert will be refunded; ticket holders will be able to attend a rescheduled Blue Dogs date and another Music Farm Columbia show. A new opening date will be announced in the next few days.
After months of anticipation, Columbia’s Music Farm — sister to the Charleston club of the same name — opens its doors this Wednesday, providing the city the 1,000-capacity venue it has lacked since Headliners closed back in 2009. So how does its first week stack up?
Wednesday 3 – Music Break
The first event inside the new venue bills itself as a networking opportunity more than a rock show. Organized by Columbia Opportunity Resource (COR), this series has previously taken place at Jake’s in Five Points. The formal networking takes place from 5 to 6 p.m. Musicians and COR members get in free. The subsequent music showcase offers some enticing local acts, including hip-hop scene leader Fat Rat da Czar, the normally synth-heavy pop-rock outfit Death of Paris performing acoustic, and the refreshing indie rock eclecticism of Lazy A & The Green Thing, led by The Restoration’s Adam Corbett. The searing, jam-friendly roots-rock outfit Josh Roberts & the Hinges fuels the 8 p.m. afterparty.
6 p.m., $20 ($10 for just the afterparty). [This event has been moved next door to the adjoining Tin Roof]
Friday 5 – Grand Opening: A Second Harvest
The official grand opening party plays it safe with some familiar names in Charleston’s The Blue Dogs and Occasional Milkshake, a project led by Hootie & the Blowfish’s Mark Bryan. Both bands traffic in family-friendly roots-rock and present a welcoming environment to check out the new venue. Keeping with the ‘90s theme are The Archetypes, a local outfit that hasn’t played since 1991. Special guests are rumored; keep your eyes and ears peeled. 7 p.m., $15 ($12 advance).
Sunday 7 – Jazz Showcase & Workshop
This free, low-key — and biweekly — afternoon event offers some hope that the Farm might provide a sorely needed replacement for Hunter-Gatherer’s jazz workshops, started by the illustrious Skipp Pearson. That program’s organizer, Mark Rouse, stepped in for the jazz scene patriarch before the restaurant ended the series. He expects to use the same format as he has in the past and hopefully attract a broad swath of local and regional musicians with the event’s customary competition-free scheduling. 1 p.m., free.
Wednesday 10 – Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band
Asheville’s Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band frequently swings through Columbia with a swirling, funky sound that injects elements of prog rock, jazz, old-school rap and ‘70s soul into high-energy, jam-friendly romps. The group presents the first chance to get a feel for the kind of party atmosphere the Farm can provide. Since the band has also performed numerous times at New Brookland Tavern, it will also provide an interesting test case for bands looking to graduate up from the 400-capacity club across the river. The Fritz opens. 9 p.m., $12 ($10 advance).
Taken together, these four shows seem a tentative test of the Columbia waters, an impression borne out by the rest of the fall calendar, which is sprinkled with some safe connections to the Farm’s Charleston base (Atlas Road Crew, Stop Light Observations) and some dependable favorites that align with the Tin Roof’s country-rooted interests (Corey Smith, Patrick Davis).
Still, the club has several shows on the horizon — Washed Out on Sept. 12 and Marc Broussard on Sept. 21, Big Gigantic and Run the Jewels in October, O.A.R. and Dumpstaphunk in November — that prove that it’s serious about booking the kind of respected, middle-tier acts that have typically bypassed the market.
It’s also worth noting that these shows were on the books before the Farm inked a deal with the booking colossus AC Entertainment, the company that programs Tennessee’s Bonnaroo. The fall calendar for Asheville’s The Orange Peel, a club with a similar capacity and a similar partnership with AC, offers a plethora of exciting names — Matisyahu, Chromeo, The Afghan Whigs, The New Pornographers, The Jayhawks, Kacey Musgraves, and Method Man & Redman. Hopefully, the Farm’s spring lineup will begin to follow suit.
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