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We’ll always have Wednesdays


Brother Trucker plays the final First Wednesday on Dec. 3

Brother Trucker plays the final First Wednesday on Dec. 3

It has been a rough month for downtown music venues. First House of Bricks played host to its last shows this past weekend, and now December marks the end of regularly scheduled music at El Bait Shop. For the vast majority of people who attended shows at the Shop, that really means the end of First Wednesdays.

For just about as long as El Bait Shop has had music, they have had Brother Trucker playing music on Wednesday. El Bait Shop’s historically significant location (it is the former home of Hairy Mary’s), combined with Brother Trucker’s own significance to Iowa music, made for an immediate success.

“We’ve been there since the beginning,” said Brother Trucker front man Andy Fleming. “We were all sitting around trying to figure this out the other day, but it was 2005, 2006, somewhere in that area (when we started). At one point, when we first booked music there, we played every Wednesday, which got to be too much.”

And now, this Wednesday will be the last time Brother Trucker calls a corner of El Bait Shop home. For some, the end of music at the Shop — or at any venue in town for that matter — feels like a loss for a music scene that needs all the help and support it can get. But for Fleming — who has enough experience to know what he’s talking about — it is no reason to lose pragmatism.

Prep Iowa

“It just wasn’t meant to be,” he said simply. “I mean, it’s great that they kept it up as long as they did, but it’s really just a great, great beer bar. As we all (in Brother Trucker) heard the news, we thought, ‘aw, it’s been a good run.’ Nobody was like, ‘end of an era.’ ”

Fleming is right, of course. El Bait Shop is a great bar, but it has never been a world-class music venue; it’s just not what the place is built for. And so, once this week’s performance is done, Brother Trucker will look for a new home for First Wednesday. And it is not a hunt that has Fleming particularly worried.

“I’m looking forward to the hunt,” he said with a laugh. “Bottom line is, bars like to make money. If that ability is enhanced with music, it’ll happen. There will be another bar that wants to make money.

“At this point, everyone who comes to the shows is so strongly connected, we just need a place to come meet up with each other.” CV

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