By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Dive is a moniker that Howard’s Club H wears proudly.
While owners Steve Feehan and Tony Zmarzly have made a number of cosmetic improvements to the Bowling Green establishment, the essential gritty rock ‘n’ roll essence of the place remains.
Joe Goodman, of WBGU-TV, recognized that spirit as soon as he came in.
The graffiti, the concrete floors and the smell of well-aged beer, he said, “reminded me of all the places I loved in New York City that I was missing. … It’s where real rock is born. This is where people cut their teeth.”
So the television producer started thinking about how he could share this place viewers. Working with bands and the owners, he brought in a crew to film.
The result is “Live at Howard’s.” As the posters declare “the dive comes alive on WBGU-TV” on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 11 p.m., and in that time slot every week for the next nine. The shows will then be rebroadcast early Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3 a.m.
The show’s premiere will be celebrated with a party at the club where the first episode will be shown.
Goodman said the aim is for “Live at Howard’s” to be “a little manic, energetic” in keeping with the vibe of the gritty club.
The aim is to feature up-and-coming bands both local and regional with a mix true to the club’s usual lineups.
The first show features Howard’s regulars Tree No Leaves.
The band headlined a show last December, when the first taping was done.
Technical difficulties marred some of the taping. When Feehan heard about it, he came in to make sure that wasn’t repeated. He wanted to show to fly. He’s impressed with Goodman’s work on the project.
“This guy really has a vision for it.”
The episodes were all produced locally by the WBGU-TV staff and Bowling Green State University students.
Goodman said “Live at Howard’s” is meant to harken back to the late night programming he found on public TV that introduced him a new alternative bands. That’s a role public TV should play again.
For Feehan, having the local PBS affiliate take notice of the venue affirms his and Zmarzly’s goal to revive the club as a top venue for music, built on area acts while casting a broader net.
The premiere of “Live at Howard’s” is on Thursday leading into Homecoming Weekend at Bowling Green State University.
The club has booked shows to encourage the people in town for Homecoming to check out the club.
Mark Mikel, a veteran multi-instrumentalist who has been touring, writing and recording since the late-1970s, will perform a tribute to Black Sabbath in honor of Friday the 13th. He’ll perform at 8 p.m. followed by the popular local band Corduroy Road.
On Saturday, Oct. 14, another veteran Toledo rocker Chris Shutters will perform the 8 p.m. show. Shutters has been performing with the drummer Corky Laing’s Mountain project. Tree No Leaves, Heavy Color, and Conscious Pilot will play the late sets.
Feehan said the club also has a number of international artists booked for the coming months including NRBQ, Oct. 28, blues rocker Michael Katon, Dec. 7 and 8, and Kofi Baker, son of legendary rock drummer Ginger Baker, Dec. 12.
Future “Live at Howard’s” episodes will feature a rockabilly mix, Oct. 19, with Flatline Revival, The Velvetmatics, Splitt Second, and The Living Deads.
The Oct. 26 episode will be devoted to Red Rose Panic. The Nov. 2 episode will be another mix with Hemi Devils. The Nov. 9 will feature Laurel and the Love-In.
Modern Hollows, The Mechanical Cat, Indian Opinion, Discount Nostalgia, Wild Nights, Mascots, Klashing Black, and Waxtastic have all been recorded for future shows.
The acts capture the kind of style-bending original music that the club has built its reputation on, and that “Live at Howard’s” will share with the world.