By Cole Parkinson
While Taber may not be looked at as an entertainment hub in southern Alberta, that may soon change.
Dale Roth, a veteran in the media and music world, is gauging interest for a new supper club in Taber that will feature performances from Canadian singer-songwriters across the country.
The big thing about recruiting acts for the club shows will be brining in performers who are good story tellers.
“I’m not going with the mainstream pop acts, that’s not what I’m looking at. I’m looking more for your singer-songwriter storyteller idea especially for these supper shows. Your solo artists like Jay Semko, like Amy Nelson out of Saskatchewan, Kurt Young is a great aboriginal artist, I believe he is originally from Lethbridge. We don’t need the big sound and the big lights for these small supper club shows, it’s more intimate story telling. I think there’s a market for that, I really, really do. Let’s roll the dice and see what happens because I’m confident they’ll work,” said Roth. “They’re all established Canadian artists. The folks I’m bringing don’t have day jobs, their day job is literally music, art and entertaining. Nothing against the local performers, nothing against them at all because there is a lot of terrific local performers, but I do think Taber gets left out. When they travel to Lethbridge and Medicine Hat and Calgary, they drive through Taber but no one is stopping to play here.”
Roth grew up in Bow Island but he has been all around the country working different types of jobs including a radio DJ, marketing specialist and in various other communication and media positions.
Since coming back to the Taber area, he has looked at setting up this type of event because he feels the community is in need of local, high profile entertainment.
“For the past year and a half I’ve heard some of the reasons why and more often then not it’s just because of burnout. There’s lots of folks that were doing it for several years and they were doing a great job but they just get tired of it. There needs to be some new energy brought into the community. There are all sorts of young people here and there is just so much that could be done. I’m going to give it a try with what I know best. I’ve done 25, 30 years with radio and TV, I’ve been putting on shows since I was 14,” said Roth.
The first performer coming to town will be one of Roth’s personal friends, Jay Semko.
Semko, who is best known for being the bassist and vocalist in Canadian rock band The Northern Pikes, has also experienced tons of success as a solo act.
With bringing Semko to Taber for the first supper club show, Roth wants to make the night unforgettable for those who attend.
In doing so, he wants to keep it as intimate as possible, although he has had to make a few more tickets available due to demand.
Roth says keeping it limited to a small group of people is imperative.
“The shows that I do, it’s extremely important because of the story telling aspect of things. You get the solo performers when they come in, now solo performers can hold their own when you’ve got the likes of Jay and these artists that have been doing it awhile. They have their big band shows that they do but when they come out and do a solo show, it is spectacular because you’re getting their stories. Having that small audience is essential, it’s gotta be an intimate setting,” added Roth.
On top of keeping the audience at a reasonable size, another big thing is making sure the room which holds the show is up to spec as well.
Roth believes having the room be a part of the spectacle is just as important as the meal and entertainment.
“It’s not just throwing a bunch of tables and chairs together and expecting people to come. There’s some time and thought that goes into dressing the room properly so people are walking into an experience. You can have a drink and eat a meal almost anywhere, you can only experience somethings in a handful of places,” said Roth. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 20 people or 20,000, everything has to look and feel right.”
On top of the supper club shows, Roth is in the middle of organizing shows at the Tank 77 bar at the Heritage Inn.
“We’re going to try and breathe some life back into the Tank. Back in the day the Heritage used to bring in acts such as Alanis Morissette and some of those big names, so we’re trying to do that. Maybe not at that level just yet but that mind set of bringing quality live entertainment to Taber,” he said.
With the first supper club show up first though, ticket prices are another point of contention as Roth wants to keep them low.
“I want to keep it priced so the average blue collar worker can go out and bring the wife or girlfriend and they’ve still got money to buy their kids a toy at the end of the week. You’re not killing yourself for entertainment,” he said.
The supper and show will be held at the Heritage Inn with ticket prices set at $50 and they can be purchased from Dale Roth at 403-330-6997 or at the Heritage Inn.