There will be a Halloween night in San Jose of the likes that will never come again. It will be the opening night of RockBar- a venue offering everyone the chance to relax, eat, drink, party, be entertained, and all-in-all, LIVE, like a rock star. The black and red paint, gothic furniture, fountains, the ornate lighting, wooden and stone walls; it is a edgy, yet elegant setting that both Motley Crue or Lana Del Rey would love. RockBar has been designed to offer San Jose the rock star experience. Not to mention the acts are going to blow everyone away. “You are going to be shocked, really shocked, by the some of the artists we have booked here,” Jimmy Arceneaux, RockBar’s Talent Buyer, raved. Owner, Susan Cramer, gushes that RockBar is so adaptable that the entertainment can range from “Symphony to Slayer.”
Blues, rock, alternative, punk rock, alternative, soul- the venue will offer entertainment for people of all ages and all walks of life. It is over the top, but warm and inviting. Just to make sure that the Halloween-weekend revelry does not end too soon, RockBar will have their grand opening on November 2nd. Alien Ant Farm, Pounders, and Stunt Monkey– will be performing. “If you want to support San Jose live music, this is the night,” Pounders‘ Justin Imamura told us.
The thought put into the place is outstanding-every detail has been taken up a level. RockBar’s unique, spacious layout will be able to host practically any kind of event you can imagine (comedy, heavy metal, blues, soul, cocktail classes, corporate events; even a fashion show is on the schedule). You can’t help, but appreciate the dozens of details- the light fixtures, the pews (now chairs!) in the VIP area, the dark curtains, the gorgeous furniture, the maple leaf chandelier- the place is truly a feast for all your senses.
San Jose has not had a premiere nightclub in a long time, but this will be a particularly unique one because RockBar will be committed to supporting local bands and fostering local talent. “We are very excited to have this in our backyard,” Justin Imamura told us. “We are grateful they have recognized a San Jose band to be at their first show.”
Have an idea? Mention it to RockBar’s owner, Susan Cramer and Robert Farrell, the Operations Manager, and they will most likely say, “Yes! That sounds cool! Let’s do it.” We mentioned contortionists to them, and they said they had already thought of the possibility. “For us, it’s what if the ‘What if?’ really happened?” Susan Cramer said smiling. The RockBar team are giddy for the spectacular, to say the least. You can wear your Metallica t shirt or your leather skirt and heels- whatever kind of night you want have, you can have it at RockBar. “We are going to give the South Bay, something they never had. No nightclub in the world has this aesthetic,” Jimmy Arceneaux, RockBar’s Talent Buyer told us.
The venue was once a church and casino-so the various rooms and sections offer something for everyone. The transformed building is mysterious, and welcoming. There are large wooden tables, plush, high back couches- it is regal, but not intimidating in the least. Nothing about the place says, “Only one type of crowd belongs here.” Everyone is welcome. The place intoxicatingly draws you in from entrance, to stage area, to the luxurious 21+ over area. The stage is as big as Shoreline’s, and the venue has access to all ages.
You will see local bands as well as national touring bands. Local bands will be presented in the same way as national touring bands. This place is something that San Jose has never had, but has been aching for, for years. “The scene needs to be showcased first and foremost,” the members of Pounders explained. “With this venue, people that have not thought of starting a band can now see that as a possibility- and will also have a place to play.”
The 21 and over area has a vodka bar with over a hundred vodkas and its fireplace reminds one of the fireplace in the movie, The Devil’s Advocate. The grand room is a cross between a millionaire’s Aspen ski lodge and a rock star’s private schmoozing area. Everything is made to be comfortable and convenient. “Everything will be top quality- the vodkas and the juices. Every ingredient of the cocktail will be high end- but it will be affordable,” Robert Farrell told us. Large leather sofas, top notch cocktail menus (actually there will be a cocktail bible on display), and a high end chef will be available to patrons. Linkin Park’s former personal chef will be in charge of the menu.
It is rock and roll in a classy setting, with none of the pretension. Drop off your kids for a show, and enjoy a quality dinner (no fryer in the kitchen, quality food here folks) and deluxe cocktails with your friends. The venue offers a safe, healthy, comfortable place for young people- one where they can explore music and be inspired to create their own. The venue will be open seven days a week and has a large parking area.
“I want to focus on what brings San Jose to the shows. I don’t want to see them at the The Warfield or Bill Graham. San Jose will often outsell those venues, ” Jimmy Arceneaux, RockBar‘s Talent Buyer explained. “I want bands that will usually ignore San Jose for San Francisco, to be here. In my experience, my draw for shows was always the San Jose area.”
If you buy pre-sale tickets from the Pounders, you will receive a free flash drive at the show on November 2nd. Pounders are about to release a new album, but they will include tracks from an album they never released. “Half way through, we changed our minds because we realized we were moving in a different direction,” Alonso Hernandez, Pounders’ bass player and backup vocalist excitingly told us. This is the Pounders way of thanking the fans that have been patient with them on their journey by offering them twelve tracks- all unreleased material. The flash drive will include demos all the way back from 2004.
We cannot wait to see what RockBar will have in store for our community. It’s about time. Rock on!
Like Pounders on Facebook.
Like RockBar on Facebook.
Buy pre-sale tickets to see the Pounders here.
Review and Photos by Anna Bagirov