›› Mike Parolini
When I walk into 1726 Stanley Avenue, there are only fifteen or twenty people in the living room, conversing quietly with one another as Eric Harper perches on a stool, tuning his guitar. The evening’s performance is an intimate one, a small group who know each other well, laughing and joking amongst themselves and with Eric.
The house, known otherwise as Victoria House Concert B, is not always so intimate. The living room can expand to hold up to 60 people. Sporting hardwood floors and unique octagonal shape, as well as a custom stuccoed ceiling that ensures the acoustics are excellent no matter where your seat, the living room is a warmly lit and welcoming space.
The owner and operator of the house is Andy Briggs, who has been putting on these concerts since 2007. “Steamer’s [had] closed, Hermann’s [had] closed. I felt the city needed and wanted a space to hold live music.” It’s clear that Briggs’ efforts have been both successful and appreciated. The room is filled with memorabilia from past performers, posters and CDs lining the walls and ledges, most of them signed with many thanking Briggs personally.
Former acts include names such as Vince Vaccaro, Tal Bachman, Acres of Lions, and John Mann of Spirit of the West, who has played at the house an astounding 23 times. What is it about the house that keeps people coming back? “The proximity… there are people staring at you. In that venue, they’re all there, they’re not in a coffee shop hearing background music, it’s intense,” says Briggs.
Upcoming concerts include Matthew Benedict on October 15, and Jon Middleton (of Jon and Roy) on October 17. Prices are $10 and $25 respectively with all proceeds going to support the artists. Further info and concert announcements can be found at facebook.com/groups/VHCBinfo.