Worcester Magazine – Dive Bar Celebrates 200 Thursdays

It’s going to be a warm mid-seventies summer night with cold craft beer and a reason to celebrate. Duncan Arsenault plays his 200th show at the Dive Bar this Thursday. Joining him will be Craig Rawding, Brooks Milgate, Paul Buono, Jon Short, Dmitry Gorodetsky, BT and Pete Levesque – that’s the list so far anyways.

The series started July 2007 when Duncan found himself frequenting the bar that had been given a facelift by new owner Alec Lopez. The two men started chatting about bringing music to the venue and a concrete plan was made to have Duncan organize weekly shows with different musicians each time.

The first Thursday was Steve Mossberg and Duncan. As weeks passed, more musicians were asked to play and through these groups, connections were made, making the current list of Thursday night performers more than 50.

“The spirit of it is musicians networking right there in front of you,” says Duncan. He’s seen musicians who have met, clicked and after the show started bands of their own or gone into the studio together for recording sessions.

By nature, as the list grows and new talents are brought in, “the circle keeps getting wider,” says Duncan.

Like the beer on Tap at the Dive Bar, each group of musicians is hand crafted. Being able to carry a three to four hour night plus one’s availability, are the two key factors Duncan considers when booking acts. “I can’t just play drums for four hours,” he says, noting that having musicians with their own songs, like singer-songwriter Jon Short, makes the shows the right kind of entertainment. Duncan’s weekly challenge – yet rewarding goal – is to bring musicians together, sometimes for the first time.

Beyond his drum set, Duncan understands the nature of musicians. First and foremost there’s the desire to entertain, especially with a packed room or patio. Nights with inclement weather that draw a smaller crowd, Duncan says the musicians are more likely to indulge in their own personal melodic sound, creating a unique musical experience. The best nights are those when the group is musically indulging in front of a packed house.

As more musicians with different styles and personalities become a part of the series, “the more unique Thursdays are going to be,” says Duncan. He recognizes that playing jazz and blues is tempting, being a common language for most musicians. In the future, Duncan would like to see more experimental music played on Thursdays suggesting tones of reggae, folk and bluegrass.

Get yourself to the Dive Bar, 34 Green Street tomorrow night for the 200th Dive Bar Thursdays Music Series. The band will start at 9p.m. Keep your eyes open for a special Thursday performance later this summer with Beg, Scream and Shout.



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