The Thunderbird Cafe, nestled right off the 40th street bridge in Lawrenceville, is ready to re-open. Regarded as one of the pioneering clubs at the heart of a Pittsburgh musical renaissance of the last generation, this opening is greeted with joy in the music community.
The “T Bird” opened under its current management in 2000 and established its self as a destination that helped usher in the hipster incarnation of Lawrenceville and helped transform it from a blue-collar neighborhood to one of, if not the most, desired locations in the city. The club booked both national and local acts to an often sold out audience.
There was always a tenuous balance between cafe and music there. You had to walk through the bar and pool room up two sets to get to the stage. If you got up there, you had an amazing experience. I can remember seeing Marah, Roger Clyne, and Chris Knight from the first couple rows and having an amazing time. However I will never forget watching James McMurtry on TV from the lower pool/video area and also standing behind two very tall people who talked the whole time at the Iguanas show. Also a friend in a wheelchair skipped several shows there due to accessibility issues. Parking was always an issue there too.
These problems are now solved.
The new space will be more than double the capacity, the cafe is separate (and open for lunch), an elevator has been installed, and valet parking will be available.
All of these improvements, while maintaining the amazing eye for talent on the local and national level, should make this opening on of the most exciting events of the year in the Pittsburgh music scene. It should be noted that the food, beer and spirits selection, and (most importantly) staff were also always top notch at the Thunderbird.
Roxian Live will handle the booking in-house for the club as well as the new Roxian Theater in McKees Rox (more on that later). Grey Area is also a partner.
Six shows are currently announced on their Facebook page (click here) , and we are awaiting an update on the web page. Many more gigs are expected to be announced soon. The first scheduled band is Colorado-based SunSquabi on April 6. Tickets are available here.