When the Anchor Rock Club first opened its doors in 2019, I wondered what the musical make up and offering of the reworked club in Atlantic City’s Orange Loop would be. Now that the calendar has flipped to 2020, I took a quick look at the events and growth of the club. There is no question the team at the Anchor is laying some solid musical foundations with what they have already offered and what they are planning on doing.
I think it is clear that the Anchor Rock Club is focusing on offering local bands the opportunity to play in front of larger crowds. From Dead Reckoning to The Liberi to Quasimodo’s Bride and a slew of other solid local bands, the Anchor has been a welcoming venue for bands looking to grow their live audiences. With a capacity of 650, the club fits that “bigger than most” nongaming hall venue category within our region.
That is not to say that the venue is all local music. The Anchor team continues to impress by bringing acts that do not often make stops in Atlantic City, or those acts or artists that would have been a good fit in previous concert venues that no longer exist in the city. The Anchor Rock Club (based on size and vibe) is a sort of a mash up of places like the House of Blues, La Grande Fromage and the Bone Yard. Over fifty musical events have been programmed since the opening, and those offerings have included indie bands, cover bands, familiar artists in new music vehicles and more. If you take a look at the past events on its website, I think you will recognize the diversity and uniqueness of the offerings.
Size matters. So does line of sight when you go to a show that is held in a larger performance space. I have visited the Anchor Rock Club with frequency and have seen multiple performances. Upon each visit I have found the venue a solid space to see and hear the acts from a number of locations in the club. The venue is just the right size. Part of the appeal at Anchor is the venue size, which occupies the space right between the huge casino halls and the local bars. With a 650-seat capacity, Anchor Rock Club is large enough to feel like you’re at a show and small enough for the show to be intimate.
The masterminds behind the Anchor Rock Club are John Longacre and Dennis Hewlett. Both have had success in Philadelphia, and that experience helps to complement the appeal of the Orange Loop, with clubs like Bouree bringing a New Orleans via Asbury Park experience and the multiple influences Rhythm & Spirits and the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall bring to three of the most musically infused streets in Atlantic City.
If there is another key take away from the success of the Anchor Rock Club, it has been its ability to connect with the musical community. The owners have done a nice job connecting with area radio stations. I am most impressed with their work with Stockton University’s WLFR 91.7 FM. The Anchor team offered up WLFR Wednesday DJ Sessions throughout November and December and in 2020 with some additional WLFR DJ programming.
The future looks bright for the club just a few steps off the Boardwalk at 247 S. New York Ave. I am also looking forward to Sid Gold’s Request Room as part of an “every first Wednesday” program in the new year. Multi-talented Joe McGinty, former keyboardist for The Psychedelic Furs, will perform as part of the event. If you missed the first Wednesday of the new year in January be sure to catch the first Wednesday in February.
So Listen Up! and get over to any one of the upcoming events at Anchor Rock Club or go see as many as you can. We all love live music and the best way to keep the live music playing is to get out and support the artists and venues that offer them, especially when there is a heavy dependence on our local market bringing the crowds in what many consider the off-season. However, as a music man through and through, I believe every season is “live music season.”