The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Buckcherry. Courtesy photo.

Buckcherry w/ Charm City Devils & My Sister Will

When: Thursday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m.
Where: Jewel, 61 Canal St., Manchester
Tickets: $39.95 & $125 (VIP) at (21+)

Downtown Jewel
Manchester welcomes a true national venue

By Michael Witthaus

Jewel sits near the intersection of Granite and Canal streets in Manchester, little more than a stone’s throw from the Verizon, but its ambitions aren’t far removed from the arena up the street. It wants to be something long missing from the city — a live music venue on par with New England’s best.

Jim Roese, the visionary behind the new 400-capacity club, said he hopes to end the frustration of watching touring acts stop in Boston and Portland but skip New Hampshire completely. 
“Bands that play the Paradise look around New England and there’s no place to put them,” Roese said. “I wanted to make a real entertainment venue that will appeal to the national acts.”
Roese is a sound architect with the passion of an artist. His resume includes the Apollo in New York City and Boston’s Wilbur Theatre. As local cover band Mugsy prepared to play for a private crowd, he ticked off the details of Jewel’s sound and light setup. 
“Midas Pro mixer, D&B line array, Lake system processing, full LED lighting with ACL,” he said. “It makes for a high comfort factor.”
Even if fans don’t know exactly what he’s talking about, musicians get it. 
“If you’re gonna open a rock club, Jim Roese is the guy you want,” said Mugsy lead singer Steve Archambault, noting touches like a light system that generates less heat onstage, and a sound-optimizing custom ceiling over the drum riser. “He knows the best gear and how to make a place artist-friendly.”
Jewel will open only for events. 
“This is a live music room, and I’d like to do eight to 10 concerts a month,” said Roese. “Five days a week would be ideal.” 
The early slate of acts leans toward hard rock: Puddle of Mudd performed the first big show on Dec. 11. Upcoming are Buckcherry Dec. 18, a Tantric/Hookers & Blow double bill Jan. 4, Vanna Jan. 29, SnoCore Tour with Flyleaf and Adelitas Way Feb. 7, and Jackyl Feb. 22.
New England Concerts, run by promoter Bernie Goulet, is the room’s exclusive agent. Goulet spoke of acts that could fill downtown Manchester’s much larger Armory Ballroom (which NEC also books) playing at a premium price. 
“I could get 800 fans at $15 to $20, or 400 at $40,” he said in a recent phone interview. “At Jewel, fans get the intimacy and bands can make the same money as they do at House of Blues or Royale in Boston.”
In addition to headliners, Jewel plans to present original music showcases. A New Year’s Eve event features 4x4 Barracuda, with four area rock bands rounding out the bill. In early December, five local bands faced off for a chance to open the Dec. 18 Buckcherry show; My Sister Will took the honors. 
With VIP seating and service, the club retains some accoutrements of its former incarnations, “but with rock star treatment,” said promoter Goulet. For example, special $125 seats for Buckcherry will include soundcheck entry in addition to a spot behind the velvet rope.
Contrasting the approach of Tupelo Music Hall, Jewel has full bar service, and Roese spoke of attracting some of the same talent booked by the Londonderry room. 
“Classic rock, comedy, with general admission or seated shows,” he said. “We’re open to all ideas.”
In a Facebook post a few days before the private opening, Roese wrote, “What could possibly happen if I decided to be part of something new [and] really nice, something with a cool vibe … elegant?” 
As seen in the December 18, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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