Meet The Capitol, Saskatoon’s newest music venue: Review, Photo Essay Chris Morin May 6, 2014 Music, Photos Opening weekend see back-to-back sold-out audiences When Lydia’s Pub, a live music venue and long-renowned fixture on Broadway, closed its doors on Monday, July 29, 2013, it left a gap in the Saskatoon music scene. Newer venues, such as The Underground Café, Village Guitars and Bon Temps, stepped up to provide musicians with an outlet to play, while Amigos, Louis, Rock Bottom, Buds and Vangelis continued to bring in bands. But Lydia’s had been a staple for touring acts for years, and had hosted its fair share of legendary concerts. The venue was similarly well remembered for the Metal Monday nights, the wildly popular Tonight It’s Poetry series, and events such as MoSoFest and the Ness Creek Music Festival auditions. Even so, especially in rock and roll, nothing really lasts forever. And so ushers in a new era. The Capitol, Saskatoon’s newest rock venue, recently launched up on 244 1st Avenue North to much fanfare and local rock lore – rumours of The Sheepdogs’ involvement in the bar fueled plenty of speculation leading up to the opening week. And by all accounts, the first weekend was a total success – both nights resulted in a sold-out crowd. While The Pistolwhips had played earlier in the week – the first band to take the stage at the venue, we think – Friday saw Regina’s Indigo Joseph and a newly-rechristened League of Wolves open up the dance floor. Both bands played brisk sets that reverberated with plenty of melody and energy. Saturday’s performance brought in Jordan Klassen (was that MoSoFest mainstay Parish of Little Clifton on the drums?) and Close Talker, who recently took off for Montreal to record their next album with prairies ex-pat and delay-lord Jace Lasek of Besnard Lakes. Both nights had an air of jubilance and excitement as the audience poured in, curious to catch a hazy glimpse of the next extension of Saskatoon’s nightlife. In some ways, The Capitol has a similar feeling to that of the Exchange in Regina – both have a large, square-shaped room, a beautifully scuffed hardwood floor and some unfortunately-placed load-bearing poles. But one of the most noticeable things about the venue is the stage. Tucked away in the furthermost corner, away from the door, the skinny tables, the bathrooms and the arcade games, the stage is bathed in a kind of glorious light that makes producing live concert photography far easier than some of the more gloomy rooms in the city. The sound is good for the most part, and you can see the band plow through a set of songs from the back or side of the venue provided you aren’t being jostled for drinks. Here’s hoping that audiences will continue to flock to the venue – due to the spaciousness of the room, it’s more than a little cringe-inducing to imagine what it would be like if a band were to play to an empty room. How about we make sure that doesn’t happen, okay? Regardless, everyone who took part in the celebrations this past weekend looked like they were having the time of their life – there’s no doubt that Saskatoon will return to The Capitol for more rock debauchery. And so, one question still remains: When are The Sheepdogs playing?