Like any great rock club, the Syndicate Lounge has celebrated numerous victories and faced innumerable obstacles. But like any business trying to create positive change in the Magic City, Aaron Greene and his staff have shown impeccable resilience.
In the past two years, the Syndicate Lounge has hosted local and national independent bands and songwriters, put on comedy shows with Goulash Comedy, partnered with business for community events and invited the Spectra Sonic Sound Sessions crew to record sessions for acts such as Looksy, Dan Sartain and Andrew Combs.
For their anniversary, the Syndicate Lounge will be hosting an all-day blowout on Saturday, July 23. Recently Green discussed highlights and landmark achievements, the Birmingham music scene and what’s in store for the venue in the next two years.
Weld: So what celebrations are planned for Saturday?
Aaron Greene: From 12 to 3 p.m., we’re doing a Goulash live comedy record for all our comedians. We’ll also have a pizza lunch for those who purchase the $5 ticket for the Goulash show. Starting at 4 p.m., the music starts. We’re running music until 2 a.m.
We have such a solid lineup that night. Everyone’s basically a headlining act here at home. Pulling from our hip hop scene and local music. Friday the 22nd will actually be the one-year anniversary of the Lobotimix shows. We’ve upgraded the stage and the lighting rig with all new equipment. It’s a big to-do and we’re excited.
Weld: What have been some of the highlights for the Syndicate Lounge over the past two years?
Greene: We’ve had so many good things happen. We’ve been fortunate to host Teenage Bottlerocket before [drummer] Brandon Carlisle passed away, we had the Ataris, we’ve had Andy Williams, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Burial. Nerves Baddington played their first show with us. Future Primitives may have played their first show with us, too. We’ve helped some bands break big, and it’s given people a good place to start. We’ve taken in a lot of great bands over time such as Run River North, Spaceface (which features members of the Flaming Lips), just a bunch of great acts. The list is so big, it’s hard to keep up with it.
I’m trying to keep the old school Southside vibe alive. That used to be the thing before Avondale was a thing. The Five Points Music Hall was a big deal. Unity was right next to Carrigan’s. We’re just holding our place to keep the Southside music scene rolling. I’m glad to be a part of the Southside bar family.
Weld: Now that the first two years have passed, what’s happening over the next two years?
Greene: We’re moving Magnetic Audio building a recording studio to use at Syndicate during the day. We’re hoping to get that going in the next year. After the two-year celebration, we’re going to be building a nice control room. Very Nashville-style, nice and quiet.
We can record live shows at night and record people’s records during the day. We’ve joined up with Magnetic, so we’re just taking care of the little details before we start building. We want to specialize in live records. It’s such an intimate space that it’d be great to be set up with a 24-track tape machine and do a tape-style recording. It’ll be very special and intimate for a live record.
It’s going to be one more characteristic of what the Syndicate is trying to do. I don’t see us as a bar during the day. We’ve tried, but people are more destined to come to an event there than coming out to drink. The studio will help serve as a way to pay for things at the venue.
I’m really thankful to Birmingham for having us and being part of the city. I think people are finally getting it. Over SlossFest weekend, we had two nights featuring Flaming Lips-related acts. I ate lunch with the band Sunday, and all of the guys were there Saturday night for Spaceface, and then they were back the next night for Brothers Griin. Those guys have been all over the world, and they love the club. They couldn’t believe how good it sounded, so that was special to hear. I’m proud to see us making headway in the the scene and getting noticed for being a special place.
For more information, visit the event on Facebook.