A Family Atmosphere Where Children Are Exposed to Great Music
Since opening in 2016, Dickey's Barbecue has invested in live music. With each success, they have expanded their commitment.
Many neighbors, particularly from nearby Wood St. have adopted Dickey's and their musicians. They organize open Christmas and Halloween parties. Many customers bring their birthday and other special parties to the restaurant, sharing their joy with the musicians and other customers.
Each evening with live music brings new customers, and their banter with the musicians leads to a comfortable atmosphere where everyone feels welcome. It is a true neighborhood hangout.
Dickey's has become an all-ages venue. While serving beer and wine (and considering a full bar), Dickey's is totally family and children-friendly. It is one of the few regional locations where parents and grandparents can expose their children to live music from jazz to blues to country and beyond.
Most interesting is the number of young adults who are attracted to the many styles of music and have become weekly regulars.
Now 130 Nights Of Live Music A Year And Expanding
Now the owners are jumping in wholeheartedly, with 130 nights of live music a year. The first commitment was to Thursday evenings year round. Read the News article here.
A trial of all Tuesdays resulted in four different events each month catering to different audiences.
And now Dickey's is taking on Saturdays, starting with music on two Saturdays, then expanding to all four Saturdays in the fall.
So far over 50 local and visiting musicians and 30 vocalists have had fun performing at Dickey's.
The First Annual Festival
Dickey's management is now planning their first annual music and food festival this fall. (Details coming soon). It will be held in the plaza parking lot at the corner of Liberty and W. 38th Streets. We're all looking forward to an amzing two days of fun.
Every Thursday, 5:30-8:30 PM: MVP
Every Tuesday of the month brings something different.
Thursdays have been consistent for the past two years with with MVP (Dale McBrier, Dave VanAmburg and Phil Papotnik) playing a wide range of acoustic-level tunes, and responding to audience requests.
When Dale is out of town, Dave & Phil continue with their Sparky & The Raven duo.
1st Tuesdays, 5:30-7:30 PM: Blues Jam w. Paolello & Gone Trio
The Paolello & Gone Trio lead a blues jam on the first Tuesday of each month.
James Paolello, Josh Gaughan and Andy Costa do a great job of including, guitarists, keyboard and harp players, and vocalists, and making everyone feel welcome.
Usually, 10 to 15 artists sit in, and the audience sticks around until the last song ends.
If the guest musicians remain enthused, and they usually do, James, Josh and Andy will extend the music until as late as 8:30
2nd Tuesdays & 4th Saturdays, 5:30-7:30 PM: Disney Night w. Brooke Surgener
Singer-songwriter Brooke does cosplay, dressing as a different Disney character each time she performs at Dickeys. She sings a mix of Disney tunes, along with originals and popular tunes.
Between sets, she teaches crafts, working with the kids, and giving them something tangible to take home.
It's amazing to see the children waiting to take a photo with her, bringing her drawings they have carefully created for her, and dancing in front of her in their own "mosh pit".
Parents and grandparents love bringing their kids, who get the run of the venue to dance, sing and enjoy.
Dickey's has been so impressed with Brooke, that they invited her to be the first performer to play on their Saturday rotation. She now fills the restaurant on the fourth Saturday of every month as well.
3rd Tuesdays, 5:30-7:30 PM: Singers Night w. Jim Madden, Dave VanAmburg & Phil Papotnik
On third Saturdays, Jim Madden, Dave VanAmburg and Phil Papotnik (The VanAmburg Trio) provide live karaoke for singers.
Theater performers bring their Broadway sheet music for the musicians to read and play from while they sing.
Other singers of all ages who are interested in pop or other styles, request their favorite songs. The musicians usually have charts for the songs.
On holidays and other occasions, the musicians lead audience participation sing-longs.
Third Tuesdays are a lot of fun. We never know who will arrive and blow us away with their singing prowess, or who will display amazing growth from previous performances.
4th Tuesdays, 5:30-7:30 PM: Ukulele Performance & Workshop w. Ethan Howell
Ethan Howell completes the Tuesday night series on fourth Tuesdays. Ethan sings and plays his ukulele for the first hour. He loves singing from the American Songbook, from the works of Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and their contemporaries from the golden age of Broadway.
Ethan is a trained vocalist who is blessed with a pure tenor voice that people fall in love with.
After his performance, he moves to Dickey's party room and leads a ukulele workshop for the second hour of the evening. Participants bring their ukuleles, and they all use the Dickey's songbook, so there is no need to bring songsheets or sheet music. Ethan is a very patient teacher, so beginning and intermediate players all appear to enjoy themsleves throughout the sessions.
Dickey's has purchased two ukuleles, so those wanting to test the waters can come join in the workshop before spending $50 to $150 for a uke.
1st Saturdays: 5:30-8:30 PM: The V Band
After a month-long residency playing every Friday at Dickeys, The V Band was asked to return regularly. They now play every first Saturday, joining Brooke Surgener who currently plays every 4th Saturday.
The V Band is one of the region's premiere performing groups, playing consistently for the past three years at festivals and venues throuhout the tri-state area, and backing up national performers passing through.
The band consists of Dave VanAmburg (guitar, vocals), Phil Papotnik (guitar, sax, vocals), David Blaetz (bass), and Ricky Hopkins (drums, vocals).
In September, Dickey's intends to expand and complete their Saturday lineup. We'll keep you posted when the performers are finalized.
It's The Consistency
Dickey's investment in live music has evolved over three years since its opening. Owner/ operator, Brandon McBrier, discusses his reasons for returning to Erie and his evolution in wanting live music.
As he says, he was not in favor of it initially. But he credits his father for stepping up and starting Dickey's on its musical journey.
Dickey's continues to work with Vanamburg Group, Inc. in testing different live music concepts. The partnership has been a win-win-win situation, as the audiences love the music.
One key in Dickey's success has been to schedule performers consistently, rather than one-off or randomly as happens in many venues. This apprach lets customers know without having to see paid advertising, social media, or direct communication, when their favorite performers will be playing.
The journey is far from done. As might be expected, while in-store, catering and delivery sales are strong, a large percentage of the population has yet to discover Dickeys. So the potential for audience support of live music in the restaurant will be strong for years to come.
Letting The World Know
Dickeys continues attract to test verious media outlets to determine which can impact its bottom line and audiences to its live music series.
Periodically, Dickey's tests paid Facebook promotions.
Currently Dickeys is testing a four-month promotion through local FM radio with Connoisseur Media's Rocket 105 (WRKT-FM).