Northern Nights: Cruel winter for musicans

By Carl Nadig

While this winter proved to be cruel to local musicians — closing the House Cafe and Otto’s — there is hope for spring to bring life back to the music scene.

Arguably, one of the best aspects of the House Cafe, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, was its appeal toward different groups of people. It provided a musical atmosphere for all ages.

Not only was the House a coffee shop — it was an art gallery, a small bar, a dance hall, a church and a stage for live music. And while its location was a commute from residence halls, the cafe provided a warm environment for many years.

Because of this diversity, many became concerned when the cafe closed its doors in November. The live music scene took a critical blow.

When Otto’s, 118 E. Lincoln Highway, was forced to close because of bursting pipes, future shows in the downtown area were canceled. Unfortunately, it appeared as though live music had nearly disappeared. For the most part, DeKalb became quiet during the winter.

Now, the time has come to a critical point in the House Cafe’s history. Because of the time that’s slowly passed since they closed their doors, will the House Cafe have lost public interest when it reopens? Arguably, if the cafe doesn’t open up soon, other places might snatch the opportunity, fill in the gap and use it to their advantage. This has already begun: The Holmes Student Center opened the College Grind. Just like the House Cafe, the College Grind reserves Monday nights for open mic night and caters to many student musicians.

As spring approaches, what DeKalb’s music scene needs now more than ever is reliability. The music scene needs most is a place that not only represents community, but is dependable; however, even the most ideal venues could fall through. The same thing happened near campus with another music venue.

It’s difficult when a business goes under, but it’s even more disappointing when a business doesn’t live up to its potential.

Still, spring is coming. Symbolically speaking, new beginnings are on their way and the music scene has survived the harsh winter. Soon, many may be asking, “Where does live music stand in DeKalb?” Honestly, it may have never been brighter; musicians are adaptable and passionate for their craft. They will always discover venues. The question remains, what venue is going to be the most reliable?