Story by Mitchell Brown, Reporter
Photos by Paul Joyner
“Rock club in Warrensburg! Check!” she belted out onstage in between songs. The she in question was Molly Gene, One Whoaman Band, who played at the Bay’s new location 130 W. Pine on a hot, muggy Saturday night. July 18 marked the second week of the Bay's operation in its new location.
A hometown crowd came out in merriment, as Molly Gene, Warrenburg's traveling musical sensation returned to deliver her brand of electrified twang known as “Delta Thrash.” She bashed and clanged through her set, containing originals, like the fan-favorite “Waitin',” to covers, like “Down in Mexico” by the Coasters, a song noted for its use in the Quentin Tarantino movie “ Death Proof.” The crowd drank, socialized and a handful of joyous souls got their boogie on close to a newly constructed stage.
What was happening was not something brand new to Warrensburg, but a renewal of sorts. Alexis Brianne, host of Rock Star Karaoke, said the existence of the Bay is about more than live music.
“Above all, what I am most excited about is the overall artistic impact this new venue has,” Brianne said. “I feel that art is one of the most important elements of human existence. It frees the person to think both more creatively and critically. I think that's needed in our society.”
The building at 130 W. Pine had previously remained unoccupied for around two years according to Bay owner Ben Blevins. With a new location comes more features, an extended amount of beers on tap, two stages, a DJ booth and an outdoor deck in back that doubles as a smoking section.
Blevins said more expansion and changes are in store. He said there is a possibility of another stage on the outdoor deck. But not all of the possible changes pertain to the decor of the building. Blevins said that all-ages weekend matinee shows geared towards a younger crowd might happen in the future.
“I feel there is a younger crowd that wants to see music, too,” Blevins said. He noted that under current regulations minors can be in bars before 11 p.m. “We'll have to cater to them with food and energy drinks,” Blevins said. “I think it will work out.”
“There is definitely a market for younger bands, bands that cater more to the college crowd than the older drinking crowd,” Blevins said. He also said he thinks all-ages shows will be a positive asset for the community. He said his interest in live music began in his teens. He recalled his brother taking him to Slaggers, a venue on West Culton Street that wasn’t open a year in 1994, to see the band Frogpond. The club was acknowledged in a thank you section of the liner notes of the California punk band, Swiggin Utters' “Streets of San Francisco” album.
Opportunity comes with the change in location and expanded size of the venue in the form of bigger named acts. Blevins mentioned expansion at the nearby University of Central Missouri will impact his business.
“More people in town means more business for everybody,” Blevins said. “We are going to still be doing our thing, providing live music and other kinds of entertainment.”
Blevins said the last couple of weeks have been dry-runs for the new Bay because he didn't want to cancel shows that were already booked before the move. He plans on an official grand opening once UCM is back in session.
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