With Coda, Dante Boccuzzi Advances his Live Music Agenda

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Dante Boccuzzi’s friends tease him that the real reason he’s building Coda is so that he’ll have a real live stage of his own from which to perform his guitar-fueled rock and roll. When he’s not playing the role as chef at one of his restaurants, which include Ginko, DBA, D.C. Pasta Co., Next Door and Dante, Boccuzzi likes to tear it up on stage at annual events like the Taste of Tremont or Chef Jam.

When it opens on Friday October 16th, Coda will be what Boccuzzi describes as Tremont’s only live-music venue.

“It will be the only place in Tremont like this, that has live bands and is built primarily as a music venue,” he says while touring the intimate lower-level space beneath Next Door. “A lot of bars have bands, but they’re not set up like this with the proper sound, equipment and lighting.”

One of the most dramatic features of the sexy little club is the vividly hued graffiti wall that serves as a backdrop for performers. The brick wall, painted by artist Mike Sekletar, bears the logos of bands and musicians like The Rolling Stones, Devo, Beck, Cheap Trick, Primus and the Kinks.

“He has spent many hours and many cans of beer working on this wall,” Boccuzzi says of Skeletar. “It’s an interesting conversation piece for sure.”

The rock and roll theme extends to the unique bar, which doubles as a memorabilia case thanks to a recessed bartop beneath which will sit musical instruments and concert ephemerae. A pair of drum cymbals were transformed into a funky light fixture.

The club will be open Thursday through Monday, with various nights devoted to certain musical genres – think Blues Sunday or Friday Night Rock. Those shows will be supplemented by some ticketed, private-invite concerts with high-profile special guests. Todd Rundgren has already signed up for one. There will be no deejays, only live music. On Sundays, before the main act, Boccuzzi might roll out an all-ages show.

“When I grew up, every Sunday night as a kid we’d go to the Akron Agora for teen night, so I’m going to do that here,” he says. “I’ve got two teenagers at home.”

During the day, the space will be used for music lessons, where wannabe rockers can learn the finer points of electric guitar or jazz drumming. On site will be a blues organ, drum kit, amps – anything a musician might need, says Boccuzzi.

A rectangular bar with seating for 30 occupies a solid one-third of the club, joining a couple snug booths and standing room. All told the space can accommodate about 70 guests. The club very likely won’t open until 9 p.m. most nights, perfect for a post-meal nightcap and show. A limited bar food menu – served until 1 a.m. – will include pizzas from the upstairs wood-fired ovens.

Like most projects, this one has taken its good, sweet time in getting to this point. But that’s just fine for Boccuzzi, who thinks fall is the perfect time for people to make the transition from sun-soaked patio to dimly lit subterranean nightclub.

“That’s what I’m thinking anyway,” he jokes.

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