The Hub thrives as music venue
Only thing missing is a larger audience
It has been a year now since the Hub opened in Mount Royal University’s student centre. We’ve seen (and reported on) a lot of what goes on in the Hub, from their finances to their menu.
However, it is often overlooked that while the Hub is the campus bar, it is also the campus’ most popular live entertainment venue.
Students have come to expect the range of events offered weekly, beginning with Live Music Tuesdays and ending on a high note with Saturday Variety Night.
The Hub’s design was made specifically for musical performances, as seen through the stage design, seating arrangement and sound equipment available.
Tim Alai, a student at MRU who has both seen shows and performed in them at the Hub, said the technical aspects of the stage are pretty good.
“I found that in a lot of places you go, the sound is unbalanced to the point where they are really loud,” Alai said. “I like what they are doing here — everything is balanced but it’s not so over powering that you can’t have a conversation.”
If you take a look at their website, the Hub is very proud to boast that they’ve hosted (in both the bar and Wyckham House itself) big names such as Broken Social Scene, Tegan and Sara, The Weakerthans, and even Canadian super-mega icon Nickelback.
However, none of those four acts have actually performed on this new Hub stage, though others have. The Hub as a venue is just taking baby steps, but seems to be headed in the right direction, according to both spectators and artists.
Alai isn’t the only performer to give a good review to the sound at the Hub. Brock Geiger, who has performed on the Hub stage twice with Raleigh as well as at Wyckham with The Dudes, echoed the sentiment.
“Yeah, it is a cool room. Definitely has a lot of potential. I remember what it was like as the Lib, so it is neat to come back and see them trying to kick start some new energy,” Geiger said. “It’s a great sound system, with (Produciton Director) Rena (Kozak) working the sound.”
He believes that the biggest reason The Hub hasn’t really taken off as a venue actually has nothing to do with anything the bar has control over.
“It’s a great room, great stage, good size. Unfortunately, where (Mount Royal) is, it’s a problem to get people out,” Geiger said. “There’s no train line out there. People want to come to shows, drink booze, and it’s hard to worry about a ride.”
The Hub is designed for these specific types of live music performances, which has left a few acts not as hot as others.
Tom Smith, president of Mount Royal’s improv club Improvination, said: “The Hub set up is traditionally more for kind of a stage and kind of a dance floor, as an improv troupe we needed more of a stage so seats are right up front like a traditional theatre set-up. It was awkward the stage was not built for us but we did adapt and put on a wonderful show in my mind.”
With Kozak and the rest of the staff at the Hub working hard to make live music a priority, the Hub seems like it could be one of the city’s best-kept secrets for shows while it still finds its footing in these early years.