Opened earlier this semester at 2000 N. Broad St., the Broad Street Lounge offers a venue for students and musicians to enjoy music for free.
Upon entry into the Broad Street Lounge, the first noticeable trait is how long the room is. It’s something of a walk to get to the couch-filled main area where any number of rappers, bands or DJs do their business. It’s akin to the archetype of the smoky-jazz club, but instead of smoke there’s pizza and Life Water, and instead of jazz, a DJ is spinning Lil’ Wayne. But the main similarity is that there are people everywhere, sitting and taking in the music.
This is all the vision of junior advertising major David Silver, who founded Broad Street Lounge in his fraternity’s basement.
“Well, we had this stage and all of this equipment that we weren’t using [in Alpha Epsilon Pi], so I figured I’d do something with it,” Silver said.
Broad Street Lounge hosted its first major show on March 31 when local Philadelphia rapper Tayyib Ali played to a full-capacity crowd. Silver was quick to say that although the fraternity houses the lounge, they aren’t related.
“This isn’t ‘Broad Street Lounge presented by AEPi,’” he said. “I also have a team of about five of my fellow AEPi brothers helping me out with the day to day.”
In its current state, the lounge exists as a place for unproven students and local residents to show their music at the free-to-enter Thursday open mic nights. Stocked with food and drink donated by companies such as Vitamin Water and Owl’s Nest, the lounge is frequently bustling.
Another component of the lounge is that it takes donations at the door for the Save A Child’s Heart foundation. Thus far, it’s raised upwards of $350.
“I love the open mic nights because I love hearing undiscovered talents,” Silver said. “A week into officially setting up the business, we were entirely booked up for the rest of the semester.”
With the lounge being closed for the summer, Silver will take the opportunity to expand on his overall vision for the venue, hoping to add onto the businesses that already work with him to provide a place for people to see music near Main Campus.
“Honestly, my dream right now is to establish the music lounge in my senior year and acquire a lot of businesses and talented musicians that want to stick with us,” Silver said. “I’d love to open my own venue when I get out of here.”
Inexplicably, there’s an instrumental funk/jazz band playing. The keyboardist meekly said that it’s their second show, and then they launch into another jam. Around the room, various heads bob up and down.
It’s a masterful experiment. Give the kids a place to go, stock it with couches and a bounty of free stuff, and boom: Local musicians who normally wouldn’t be playing to more than three of their friends suddenly have an audience most clubs would kill for. Broad Street Lounge’s last big event of the semester is this Thursday, April 26, “Everybody Is A Rapper” rap battle that starts at 9 p.m. and costs $5 to enter.
Kevin Stairiker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.