The Hippo


May 30, 2020








Eric Gales. Courtesy photo.

Jewel Music Venue

Where: 61 Canal St., Manchester
Full schedule at
Upcoming shows: 
Friday, Oct. 28: RoCtoberfest Halloween Bash with Roots of Creation 
Saturday, Oct. 29: Failure Anthem and Through Fire
Sunday, Oct. 30: Eric Gales
Thursday, Nov. 3: Genitorturers
Friday, Nov. 4: Royal Southern Brotherhood
Saturday, Nov. 5: Flight of Fire w/ One Time Mountain
Wednesday, Nov. 9: Sponge 

Opening chords
Jewel Music Venue emerges

By Michael Witthaus

 Though the sign on the building remains,  the rest of Jewel Nightclub in Manchester is very different these days. The name will  also change soon; for now, it’s Jewel Music Venue. New ownership at the Canal Street club brings an expanded musical palette. 

“It’s a new concept, something for everyone, all genres,” booker Stu Ginsburg said recently. 
The mix thus far has been thoroughly eclectic. Pink Floyd tribute band The Machine played shortly after Jewel changed hands; subsequent guests included roots stalwarts Session Americana, one-man indie band Beans on Toast, Seacoast funksters Nth Power and American Idol veterans Halo Circus.
Three to four shows a week seems to be the rule, and the upcoming Halloween weekend exemplifies the variety on offer. 
On Friday, Oct. 28, Roots of Creation brings a jammy vibe to a four-band show that also features popular Manchester DJ John “Midas” Manning. The following night’s lineup recalls Jewel’s previous incarnation, with edgy rock from Failure Anthem and Through Fire. On Sunday it’s Eric Gales, a fiery blues-rock guitarist last seen in New Hampshire with the “Experience Hendrix” tour.
Roots of Creation front man Brett Wilson is excited by the changes at Jewel; it’s his band’s first show there. 
“We’ve played Shaskeen and Penuche’s,” Wilson said. “They have good food, they’re great bars and they feature music; but this has music as the main focus.”
For the Halloween-themed RoC-toberfest, the band will play a set drawing from its latest album, Livin’ Free, and a reggae-fied Grateful Dub/Dead set. 
“That’s going to be my musical costume for the night,” Wilson said. 
He’ll also play a solo acoustic tribute to Sublime founder Bradley Nowell.
Saturday’s show is co-headlined by two relative newcomers. North Carolina band Failure Anthem released its debut album First World Problems in January and recently premiered the Jeremy Brookver-directed “Here for Good,” a video depicting the struggles faced by returning soldiers. Through Fire, the creation of Midwestern rock polyglot Justin McCain, put out its first disc last summer.
Though the active rock concert resembles the clubs’s past life, one thing will be missing: the dubious practice of requiring performers to buy and resell tickets to their own shows, often at a loss. 
“There’s no more pay to play,” new owner John Crosson said before the Session Americana show in September. “That’s one of the main ways we’re different.”
For Manchester music entrepreneur Dave Roberge, who booked the Eric Gales show, the change in policy is a key reason he’s working with Jewel.
“It’s exactly why I got involved,” he wrote in text exchange. “More genres and no P4P.” 
He’ll follow the Gales gig in December when he brings Greek band Barb Wire Dolls to town.
Gales is a guitar prodigy who made his first major-label album as a teenager, the same year he won Best New Talent in a Guitar World magazine poll. Now a 25-year veteran, he’s been praised by Carlos Santana, who called him “absolutely incredible” and earned admiration from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, B.B. King, Eric Clapton and other musical luminaries. Gales counts influences from Albert King to Eric Johnson. Local performers MB Padfield and MoGuitar Blues featuring Gordy Pettipas will open. 
Looking ahead, some of the shows scheduled include Royal Southern Brotherhood Nov. 4, ’90s alt rockers Sponge Nov. 9, The Upper Crust Nov. 26 and Supersuckers Nov. 29. The venue’s first comedy show is set for Dec. 18. 
The steady flow of original talent depends on the local scene. It’s a two-way street, and fans need to turn out in sufficient numbers for the effort to succeed. Additionally, Jewel encourages participation beyond simply attending a show or two. For one thing, the club really needs a new name. Beans on Toast offered The Crossing; other suggestions include Chords and GSMH. 
Anyone with a better idea should send it to the venue’s Facebook page. Better still, go to a show and deliver it face to face. 

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