Music Beat: BlueBird dance club preparing to fly on East Fourth
Ryan Van Duyn’s vision for his new BlueBird dance club, to open at 555 E. Fourth St., is to offer a friendly “music-festival environment” featuring two stages with EDM DJ’s, a large bar that also serves a slate of non-alcoholic libations, clean, functioning restrooms — and a chill vibe.
Don’t expect “bottle service and blinking lights,” VanDuyn explained when I popped in this month to check out the renovations to the industrial space that has housed nightclubs 18 years. “We’re trying to cultivate a more inviting and more low-stress environment.”
VanDuyn is co-owner of the venue slated to open Oct. 29 with a Halloween bill dubbed “Hollerween” and featuring sets 9 p.m. until 10 the next morning by top local DJ’s, and a performance by the Siren Society aerialists. (Cover: $5.) However, any unexpected delays in securing all the required city permits could delay the opening into November.
The BlueBird will be filling a void left when the Psychedelic Ballroom & Juke Joint closed July 31 after 14 months on the corridor in the Old Brewery District. Prior, the locale was Bodega Nightclub 2013-15, The Underground 2009-13, and other clubs 2001-09.
VanDuyn and business partner Sage Tims are music-festival veterans. VanDuyn has deejayed at EDM events in California and Nevada for a decade. He previously co-owned Würk, the downtown dance club that now is 1up.
1up is an EDM nexus with a strong weekend following. Downtown’s Tonic Lounge also offers EDM, while Cargo Concert Hall brings in EDM artists among its mix of touring acts, the Peppermill’s EDGE Nightclub has its weekend niche, and the Grand Sierra Resorts’ LEX Nightclub has booked some of the genre’s giants, such as Steve Aoki.
VanDuyn says Reno’s market is large enough to accommodate the BlueBird. “What we’re creating here is something nobody in Reno has. We’re curating more tasteful musical offerings while also creating a space where people feel safe. We’re passionate about the music — not just serving drinks.”
The BlueBird will be open 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 5 a.m. to noon every other Sunday featuring “sunrise sets” for patrons to enjoy chill DJ’s and sip mimosas or other Sunday-morning beverages. DJ’s on the stages in the main room and back room (each with a capacity of about 300 occupants) will be the primary fare, with live music transitioned in, VanDuyn said.
He plans on booking touring and local acts. A typical bill will feature a DJ headliner with current music, with an opening DJ spinning throwback hip-hop and R&B. A key feature is the Funktion-One sound system. “Our production is next level,” VanDuyn said.
Renovations may surprise patrons of previous clubs at the address. Gone is the green room on the club’s south side; the bar has been moved from the southwest wall to border the dance floor’s south side, where a hand rail had been.
“We have deep cleaned and de-cluttered the space while uncovering its gorgeous industrial skeleton,” VanDuyn said.
He expects the BlueBird to be a fixture on Fourth Street for the next dozen years. “My faith is immeasurable in Reno. We have a lot of new people moving to Reno.”
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BC BACK IN THE BLC: A Reno-bred rock band with one of the most polished sounds I’ve heard from local aggregations has moved back to Reno after four months in Los Angeles. Alternative-rock quartet Bluff Caller is releasing its second, self-produced album at a free 21+ show 8 p.m. Nov. 3 at The Saint, 761 S. Virginia St.
Attendees will get a free flash drive with Bluff Caller’s new album, “The Desert Party,” before it goes online. The band is happy to be home and forging its own way on the web instead of seeking a record deal, said singer-songwriter-guitarist Cody Rea.
“L.A. taught us that the most powerful thing an artist can do in our phone-fueled media-consumption age is to be self-contained,” Rea said. “Labels want to offer 360 deals (taking a piece of every revenue stream) to small bands, which inevitably leaves the band in the negative after a tour and album campaign. So power to the people and the WWW.”
Bluff Caller features Rea’s plaintive tenor reminiscent of Coldplay’s Chris Martin, plus atmospheric keyboards, complex bass patterns and organic and electronic drums. The other members: Spencer Mead (guitar, keys, vocals), Dominic Kelly drums/samples), Greg Rea (bass).
See the lyric video for BC’s new song, “Dark Matter,” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26-i018ySpU&feature=youtu.be. Follow the band on Facebook.
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