What We Think We’re Doing…
I’ve worked in the music business pretty much my whole life (Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax) and, though I’ve booked clubs (and plenty of festivals), I’ve never owned my own venue, so I put a lot of thought into what we were going to do once The Carleton Music Bar & Grill opened.
There was never a question of whether we would offer live entertainment, rather what kind of entertainment and how much? I love all kinds of music and if push came to shove, I’d say I’m happiest at loud rock’n’roll shows but because the building that houses our venue is also above a fine dining restaurant and below an apartment complex (and we like to think of ourselves as good neighbours), I thought about what was missing on the Halifax music front and realized there wasn’t anything that approached what I’d call a “listening room,” at least not one where a person could get a great dinner and have some drinks while they listened.
There’s nothing I hate more than paying decent money to hear a great singer/songwriter and having the experience ruined by someone talking through the performance – well, that and not having access to the aforementioned dinner and drinks. Why not combine those two ideas and carve our own little niche?
So, that’s the policy when we’re doing ticketed quiet shows. We also do plenty of full-on band shows – usually on Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday nights – and, of course you’re more than welcome to talk all you like in that performance environment. Saturdays have belonged to our much-beloved house band – The Carletones – for the past several years. The band has a rotating cast made up of some of the best players in the city (a lot of them from Matt Mays’ touring band) and usually fronted by the amazing Adam Baldwin. They play rock music.
Our booking policy is that we don’t throw someone on our stage simply because it’s Saturday, or Monday, or whatever. The shows, when they happen, are treated as special events and we only book them when the talent presents itself.
We pride ourselves on not only presenting some of the best songwriters and bands in the world on our stage but we’re also committed to providing a professional platform for our local, and regional, up-and-coming artists because it’s important. We have a disproportionately large number of world-class artists in our little region and nurturing them is part of our mandate.
In order to secure seating for live events that offer advanced tickets, we suggest you purchase them on this website or you can call 902-422-6335, with credit card handy (online and over the phone purchases are subject to a $2.50 “booking fee” that lets us recover credit card and software charges). It’s also recommended that you make dinner reservations at the same time. Dinner guests will be seated in our dining room for shows until we’re at capacity there. Additional seating is also available in the bar. Keep in mind that there are no “bad” seats in our venue and the sound is great anywhere in the room… You must be 19 years of age or older to attend our night-time shows.
We’ve been the recipient of Music Nova Scotia’s Venue of the Year award seven times (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). We’ve won Venue of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards (all of Atlantic Canada) thrice (2012, 2013, 2015). Most recently, we were honoured with the 2017 Canada Live Music award for Best Teamwork Small Venue in Canada — yes, that’s across this great nation!
Look forward to seeing you at the shows!
Our Sound System
We also thought long and hard about what we’d do for a sound system in our venue. For those of you who care about this sort of thing (and you should), here’s what it is…
Our sound is brought to you by a Crown Amplifier-powered array system that utilizes 14 Proficient Audio Systems AW650 speakers, evenly spaced throughout the room, with a couple of discretely hidden sub-woofers. We use a DBX ZonePro for distribution that gives us sensational coverage regardless of where you sit in the club. It’s kind of like a home theatre, surround sound set-up and – as a guy who’s been to literally thousands of shows – I can assure you, The Carleton is possibly the best sounding venue of its kind I’ve ever been in.
For you artists out there… JBL EON 10 speakers are used for monitors, and a full Sennheiser mic kit is available. We also have plenty of DI boxes, cables, mic stands and other assorted odds and ends but no house back line.
Our system was designed by my friend Barry Hirtle at Hirtle’s Sound Solutions in Charlottetown, PEI. He’s a good egg and obviously knows what he’s doing. If you like the sound in our place, and you’re in the market for a professional system for your home or business, give him a call – and tell him, “The Carleton sent me.”