Located on the corner of Main Street and St. Mary Avenue, the Times Change(d) is celebrating 10 years as a key part in Winnipeg’s music community. – Karla Reimer
Local singer-songwriter Del Barber considers himself lucky to be able to play at the Times Change(d). – Jordan Janisse
In a city with so many places for live music, the lifespan of a venue can be a precarious thing.
A “tenuous” situation in a difficult building and a decade of successfully owning and managing the Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Night Club is something John Scoles believes is worth celebrating.
“Initially we started (the Times Change(d)) to accommodate bands like The Perpetrators and the D.Rangers, who really didn’t have anywhere else to play at the time,” said Scoles of the club’s roots-and-blues heart. “That’s the music that I love, that’s the music that I want to particularly celebrate and make sure it has a really, really good home.”
That’s the kind of music Scoles is showcasing in his 10th Anniversary Celebration, which kicks off Thursday, Jan. 20.
With favourites like The Perpetrators and Big Dave McLean playing over four days, it’s a homecoming for some of the bands born on its well-worn stage.
But the Times Change(d) is more than just a cathedral for the city’s bluesy best.
“It’s an institution for music lovers and all the best musicians in this great city,” said Rich Bolton of The Empty Standards, who play the celebration on Friday, Jan. 21.
“ We started (the Times Change(d)) to accommodate bands like The Perpetrators and the D.Rangers, who really didn’t have anywhere else to play at the time. That’s the music that I love, that’s the music that I want to particularly celebrate and make sure it has a really, really good home.
John Scoles, owner, Times Change(d)
The building itself, an old one on the corner of Main Street and St. Mary Avenue, feels like home to musicians and fans alike.
When Scoles bought the business (then a small sit down restaurant) a decade ago, he saw potential behind the drop ceiling and quiet attitude.
“I decided to strip all of that away and to change it, but still to keep the tradition that had been there,” said Scoles.
So the Times Change took on new life as the Times Change(d), and has been sharing its living room atmosphere with Winnipeg’s music aficionados ever since.
But the 10-year process has been anything but easy.
From an early partnership gone awry to the constant balancing act of running a business in a building that could be sold off to a developer at any time, Scoles is always trying to put on shows that can accommodate everyone while still making the club feel more like a house than a bar.
“(Scoles and his staff) create a family-like atmosphere in the club,” Bolton said, citing the reason his band and so many others love playing the Times Change(d), even if it can’t hold as many people as other venues in the city.
So, is there any chance of abandoning the beloved building in favour of a bigger home for Winnipeg’s roots community?
“No, I think I’m with that building as long as that building is there,” said Scoles. “And hopefully that’ll be a while.”
-Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Times Change(d) Thursday, Jan. 20 to Sunday, Jan. 23
-Thursday, Jan 20: The Perpetrators, Sarah Dugas and Andrina Turenne
-Friday, Jan. 21: Righteous Ike and The Empty Standards
-Saturday, Jan. 22: Chris Carmichael, Damon Mitchell and Del Barber
-Sunday Jan. 23: The Whisky Awards, featuring Big Dave McLean, Andrew Neville and the Poor Choices