on the 100th Dive Thursday

100 Thursdays in the Making
Pat Clark

Thursday, June 11, was a date to celebrate at the Dive Bar. One hundred Thursdays ago, Drummer Duncan Arsenault went on a mission to bring together a wide assortment of Worcester musicians for live music performances on Thursday nights. The tradition has been going strong ever since. Usually, on a Thursday, the Dive Bar will have a good number of people in attendance, but on Thursday there was a line of people that snaked all around the outside sidewalk.

An eight-piece group made up of local musicians from diverse bands shared the stage performing funk and groove music from Al Green and James Brown, to Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder. Playing two electric keyboards with a permanent smile on his face was Brooks Milgate. Craig Rawding sang his heart out on vocals and blew his lungs out on the Harmonica. Steve Lefabvre and Brian Thomas gave the music an extra funk-feel with the Trumpet and Trombone. Brian Kearsley provided the right kind of jazz with his Saxophone. Al Vaudreuil and Jeremy Curtis kept a steady groove with the Guitar and Bass, while Arsenault was the backbone of it all.

You can call the musicians superstars or masters of their craft. In between songs, members would form a huddle and start explaining the chords progression for the next song, as if they never had a rehearsal. “It’s a basic E-minor and D-flat progression. You remember to give a pause when he screams at the bridge.” During the performance, Arsenault would keep a beat with his feet and one hand while the other hand was fixing the levels on the PA system set up behind him.

The joint was so jam-packed with people it was close to impossible to move, though the outside patio provided for a nice breath of fresh air. The few table-umbrellas setup guarded the smokers and shoppers from the torrential downpour. There were shoppers because there was another celebration going on outside, Punky’s grand opening of her mobile vintage boutique (Punky is a bartender at the Lucky Dog Music Hall and vintage cloths entrepreneur, She transformed a very small mobile home into a thrift store that was parked for business in the patio area.

The entertainment went on right until the bar closed at 1 a.m. with very few intermissions. The crowd that night was an unbelievable mix of the generations; women and men in their 60s drank and danced right alongside women and men in their 20s. Some sat at the bar and never left their stool, while others did their best to move through the crowd and mingle. Others preferred to be stationed under the umbrellas outside in the patio area with their drinks and smokes in their hands. There was no perfect spot to experience the night. No matter where you were positioned, good people, good music and good beer were in close vicinity.

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