November 1, 2013

Musicians taking Portland club’s shutdown hard

The Big Easy closed last weekend after the popular owner’s lease expired.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

The Big Easy had operated on Market Street since the late 1990s, when it took space occupied by Granny Killam’s.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

“Yeah, he gave us everything from the door,” said Dave Gutter, lead singer for the veteran Portland band Rustic Overtones. “He loved all the bands, and that’s why so many musicians loved to play there.”

The Big Easy often had bands every day of the week, in genres from hip-hop and rap to country or funk and soul.

And it was known for weekly series like Funky Mondays, Rap Night on Wednesdays, and the “Cover to Cover” series of local bands covering one particular well-known band, on Tuesdays.

Cosby and others pointed out that the Big Easy has long been the only club in the “heart of the Old Port” with bands playing original music.

Most of the other clubs with bands playing original music are in other parts of Portland, they said.

Spencer Albee, who said he has played the Big Easy “a million times” over the years, recently organized a series there called Food Fight, featuring local musicians who work in restaurants.

Albee said that without the Big Easy, local musicians basically have one similar-sized venue that features original music, Empire on Congress Street.

Albee said that playing the Big Easy, if it continues without Bell, “would just seem silly to me.”

 

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

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