There is a hidden gem in downtown Regina called Cloud 9 Live Bar, which could be local musicians’ saving grace– if live music fans show up.
Les Fraser, the owner of Cloud 9, welcomes a wide variety of genres from indie music to hard rock. “We decided to go with local artists to give them a chance to play on stage to a live audience,” said Fraser. “Regina has an abundance of very talented artists.”
“The atmosphere has a classic, chill vibe to it,” said Katelynn Kowalchuk of the band Panic Button, which has performed at Cloud 9 twice over the past few months. “It can host a variety of acts because of its versatility, and isn’t strictly an indie, rock or jazz venue.”
Cloud 9 took over a bar called the Gaslight located on the second floor of a cozy building on Broad Street. Upon entry, patrons immediately notice a relaxed, 70s-style feel to the venue. The bar can be found on one side of the room with cold Rebellion beer on tap and, on the other side, artists can be found performing on a high stage under swanky neon lighting.
Cloud 9 currently hosts a schedule of themes such as Indie Thursday, which focuses on original music by local artists and live music of all kinds on Friday and Saturday nights. Recently, Cloud 9 has also begun hosting Saturday afternoon jam sessions.
Local musician Gord Phillips has played six shows at Cloud 9 in the past year, and really enjoys playing at the venue. “Cloud (9) may be this city’s best kept secret. It is a rare gem in that it gives all artists, regardless of genre, a place to do what they do,” Phillips said. “It’s the underdog you can’t help but root for.”
However, Fraser admits bringing patrons into the venue has been difficult for the organization, because Cloud 9 primarily relies on social media promotion to get the word out. “At the end of the day people are coming for the entertainment, so it’s really up to the musicians to promote as well,” said Fraser.
Although Cloud 9 is off to a slow start, Phillips believes the organization will thrive. “Audience turnout could be much better,” Phillips said. “Cloud 9 is the new kid on the block in Regina’s music scene (though), and is slowly but steadily gaining traction.”
Fraser has plans for the future of Cloud 9 to diversify the types of events that the venue will host. Fraser is currently planning on organizing a karaoke night soon, along with opening a games area. “We (also) plan to do a contest in the near future with recording time for local musicians,” said Fraser.
Despite the organization’s current difficulty with exposure, several regular performers have nothing but good things to say about Fraser and Cloud 9’s support for local talent.
“I think (Fraser) is amazing, and is really interested in supporting live music and bands, which is really important,” said Brandt Wanner, a band mate of Kowalchuk’s. “The support really makes me want to keep performing there, and make sure more people know about it and come out to support the venue.”
Several regular performers are grateful for a venue like Cloud 9, and it motivates them to continue with their craft. “I would recommend this venue to any bands or solo acts looking for a gig to play,” said Kowalchuk. “It’s definitely one of my favourite places to play.”
Later this week, Cloud 9 will be hosting a Nirvana acoustic tribute act on Feb. 9. On Feb. 11, Daniel Besuijen, THe VENUs EXTRACTIOn, Matt Kaip, Stephen Macauley and Corey Ruecker will perform.