The magic of Musica

Brenna McNamara

Venue’s appeal lays in its ‘clean and welcoming feel’

You may have received Joe Musica’s Facebook friend request and finally figured out the profile is for a music venue, not a person. But since that wave of “Joe Musica” Facebook friend requests were sent about a year ago, it’s rare that people still ponder who “Joe” is and what Musica is about.

The downtown Akron music venue has been around for two years but has made quite a name for itself in the past year and a half since opening its doors to bigger acts.

Although the venue opens its doors to all ages, it can hold 450 people and draws popular bands like Mae, Lovedrug, The Academy Is… and Dinosaur Jr. The appeal of Musica lies in the fact that, at the same time, it “has a clean and welcoming feel” said Ana Sigler, sophomore conservation major.

“You feel safe leaving your things wherever, and the bathrooms are really nice,” she added.

The safe-haven venue is connected to coffee house Mocha Maiden, so there is a café side, as well as the actual venue that comprises a bar, wine bar, art gallery, dance floor and stage.

“The combination of the café and the feel of the venue, all the bands and the overall atmosphere is our draw, I think,” said Maya Cope, who has worked at Musica for more than a year. “It can hold a lot of people and have a big venue feel, but it also feels like it’s smaller.”

Since Musica hired the booking agent of Akron’s Lime Spider, Timothy Eddings, about a year ago, the big names have been rolling in, Cope said.

“It worked out pretty quickly,” she said. “There was a lot of local and regional bands. Now we get them to open up for the big names to get exposure. We still have local nights, though.”

Logan Seaman, senior electronic media production major, said he appreciates the bigger names the venue has been pulling in.

“They are getting bigger bands from what I can tell. I’m not sure exactly why, but it’s cool to see,” Seaman said, who has played at the venue about six times with his band, Birds and Elephants.

Seaman indicated the venue is worthy of the attention, though.

“The sound people are really talented. The crowd is big. It’s a lot cleaner and nicer than most bars around here,” he said.

Cope said the bar has a lounge-ish feel compared to most other bars.

“It sort of has a basement feel ’cause of all the brick walls,” she said. “It’s relaxed.”

Seaman said the bar, which also includes a wine bar, has a more “vintage, retro feel” than other bars.

“I’d say a lot of hipster coffee-shop type people, usually indie-like, dressed cool and laid back,” said Sigler of the crowd she said talks to during the shows.

Perhaps this is because of the lighter atmosphere, in comparison to the typical dark bar venue feel, Seaman said.

Or perhaps the dance floor that keeps the crowd on its feet.

“There is a great amount of space to dance on in front of the band,” said Sigler. “It is absolutely my favorite venue in the area to go to.”

Contact all correspondent Brenna McNamara at [email protected].