Saturday, May 18, 2024

Nina performs in March at Club Bohemia under the Cantab Lounge in Central Square. (Photo: Nina via Facebook)

Club Bohemia is back booking bands in the Cantab Lounge basement space in Central Square, and aggressively seeking talent wanting stage time. 

The supposedly final show was Sept. 1, when the live music booked regularly by club manager Mickey Bliss was replaced by music programmed by the Cantab itself, with an emphasis on DJ nights. With the closings of All Asia in 2013 and the Out of the Blue art gallery in 2017, that left The Middle East complex – including Sonia, which last year filled the space left when T.T. the Bear’s Place closed in 2015 – as the square’s sole regular source of the rock that has formed so much of its identity.

“The computer DJ format that the Cantab had instituted in September when it closed down Club Bohemia failed to generate any significant traffic or sales,” said Mickey Bliss, agent and owner of the club and its related Hitman Records. “The Cantab has asked Hitman Records to recommence booking live entertainment.”

Club shows will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays – and have already started, Bliss said, having sat on the news for at least a week and now urging bands, artists and promoters interested in booking shows to make contact for its many open dates. “We anticipate that the club will offer a full schedule of shows three nights a week once the club gets up and running at full speed,” Bliss said in a press release. (Wednesdays remain the Boston Poetry Slam night.)

Bohemia started at The Kirkland Cafe in 1993 before moving to the Cantab Lounge at 738 Massachusetts Ave., meaning the club shut down and relaunched in its 25th anniversary year.

The first bands for the Club Bohemia return were Glider and Mr. Airplane Man on Nov. 3, a “one-off deal” that served as a test for a return. “It was kind of a gradual process,” Bliss said by phone Friday. The tryout benefited from some lower expectations – though “skyrocketing” rents for the Cantab have “everyone on pins and needles,” the reality of the situation is that band nights that used to bring in 60 or 70 people now can be expected to bring in only around 30 to 40.