Ominocity’s Guide to Saskatoon Music Venues Part 2
With the recent loss of two major live music venues – Lydia’s Pub on Broadway and Lepps downtown – Saskatoon still has more than a few places to catch some tunes live.
Actually, as it turns out, there are a lot of local venues.
While we all await the new live music venue downtown that’s moving into the old Tramps building, here is a list of establishments where you can still catch live music.
If you live in Saskatoon, like bands or food, then you’ve been to Amigos. Located off Broadway, Amigos typically is a hub of activity on any given weekend, with everything from hip-hop to punk to indie appearing on stage. Currently celebrating their 25th anniversary, the venue is something of a local legend – rumour has it that Neko Case once jumped off stage to beat the crap out of some guy in the audience. Amigos rules.
Formerly known as the Fez, Rock Bottom – and NOT Rock THE Bottom – is offering more than just your average, run-of-the-mill rock tribute acts nowadays. They have done karaoke and open mic nights in the past and now they do live sports chats.
Vangelis used to be your best bet for a quiet beer on Broadway when the Yard was too packed and Amigos was too expensive/closed. Those days are long gone, as Vangelis now hosts a wild variety of indie shows as well as a weekly trivia night.
Buds on Broadway
Buds is a great place to rock out to live music, especially if you have one of the following: motorcycle, tattoos, leather jacket, no-bullshit attitude. Bonus: on the weekends there is a guy selling hot dogs out front.
Saskatoon’s on-campus venue, Louis’ can be a bit of a struggle to get your friends to come out, but it’s a really nice place to play – there aren’t many venues in town that offer backstage showers. The shows are fairly sporadic, especially in the summertime. Plus it’s a little weird that the club completely clears out at 12:30 AM when the bands are done, but some of us old balls like that sort of thing – more after-party for us.
I’ve always heard a lot of people complain about this place, but the Odeon remains a good place to see bigger bands. The sound is typically good and the upstairs balcony is fun (when they open it anyway). Nevertheless, while they host lots of the bigger acts that come through.
Beaumont Records still puts on the occasional in-store show. However, having recently announced that they were moving from 20th Street to downtown, it’s not clear if these sorts of shenanigans will continue. Maybe check back in September once they’ve settled in.
Village Guitar also hosts the occasional function, and is probably best thought of as a retail store and not a proper venue. Still though, they tend to bring in more of the singer/songwriter crowd, although their new stage is totally rock worthy.
Located in the old post office building across the street from City Hall, The Bassment is a classy joint with plenty of places to sit down and a good selection of top-shelf boozes. Gone are the punk bands, but you can still catch some interesting acts here in addition to the obvious jazz shows.
Bon Temps Café
One of the newer establishments in Saskatoon’s currently burgeoning 2nd Ave scene, Bon Temps offers up Cajun cooking along with some occasional live entertainment.
The Woods Alehouse
Primarily a vehicle for serving up Paddock Wood beer, The Woods Alehouse also offers up an intimate place for singer/songwriters to hone their craft.
Somewhere Else Pub & Grill
Nestled in a strip mall at the very end of Broadway, Somewhere Else Pub & Grill offers a good place for blues jams and rock. Also, they have tapped in to the ancient craft of karaoke.
The Sweat Lodge
Essentially a punk jam space, The Sweat Lodge puts on shows for groups who won’t fill a proper venue or when hardcore kids feel like watching bands but don’t want to pay retail booze prices. Also, this shit is a (quasi) secret so we ain’t gonna tell you where it is.
The Broadway Theatre
An arts hub that is typically known as a purveyor of independent movies, The Broadway Theatre also hosts a wide range of performers. Also, rumour has it that The Dead Kennedys played here back in the ‘80s.
The epitome of comfort, The Refinery is an intimate venue where you can catch an act and a nice glass of chardonnay.
Located in Saskatoon’s south end, watching bands in The Prairieland is essentially like attending a concert in a high-rent abattoir. They also do weddings and dog shows, so it’s okay.
Tequila typically hosts famous DJs and the scantily-clad people that love them.
You could always catch some big act at the Credit Union Centre. Or a hockey game.
TCU Place, formerly known as the Saskatoon Centennial Auditorium, does rock shows and hosts the Saskatoon Symphony.
Cosmo Senior’s Centre off Broadway and the Sutherland Memorial Hall on Central are probably your best bets for all ages hall shows in Saskatoon.
Le Relais is also known to book out for these types of shows.
Maguires used to have some sort of hall you could rent – I remember seeing the likes of the Junior Pantherz and DFA here. Not too sure if they do that sort of thing anymore.
I also remember Mystic Java letting people play, albeit quietly.
The Yard and Flagon used to have an open-mic thing too, but that seems to be long gone.
I wish 302 would book more shows, because combining live music with stripper poles is a guaranteed winner.
And that restaurant in McNally Robinson sometimes lets goons with acoustic guitars in to do their thing.
Still, in the end, nothing beats a good house party show.
Editor’s Note – If you live in Saskatoon then this article is likely not going to be of much use to you, unless you recently moved here. This article is meant as a reference to our touring band friends and to those dudes who keep emailing us to ask if we can put on a show for them. Nope, we can’t, but here are some people who can maybe help you out.
Also, whenever we make a list like this we always forget something, so cut us some slack, eh.