The music scene in Philadelphia is as diverse as the people who live in this city. It is not hard to find a new genre or new band, especially if you go to Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown on N. Frankford Ave. This vintage-style bar doubles as a music venue to give you the best of getting a bite to eat and a beer, before listening to some local bands rock out. They just celebrated their 10th anniversary and still pride themselves on the local bands and live music shows they put on everyday.
Johnny Brenda’s puts on shows seven days a week, and specializes in putting on great shows without taking a hit on your bank account. Most of the tickets are under $20.00 and local bands like Dr. Dog, who are playing all over the United States right now, have played here. Although Johnny Brenda’s is not the size of the Electric Factory or Filmore, they distinguish themselves in other ways.
“We are different from other bars and venues because me and all the other managers that run the venue at Johnny Brenda’s are former musicians,” said Greg Mungan, the venue manager at Johnny Brenda’s.
“We all have our roots in the DIY scene and run Johnny Brenda’s like a family,” said Mungan, explaining how this helps them run the business. “Everyone has their own job and we try to treat every show like its special.”
Mungan said, over 90% of the shows at Johnny Brenda’s are live music. The other 10% are DJ shows. According to Mungan, Johnny Brenda’s has different DJs downstairs every night, but that is really just to support the people hanging at the bar.
DJ’s have been exploding onto the music scene and definitely have a presence in Philadelphia. Johnny Brenda’s is starting to utilize DJ’s now and for good reason.The electronic music business is booming, The International Music Summit Business Report in 2015, valued the electronic music business at 6.9 billion.
Mungan said they put on special events now for DJs, like their DJ-off. He explained how two DJ’s would go back and forth, exchanging songs like punches.The DJ’s will mostly play throwbacks and mixes of their own, but the crowd loves a good throwback, according to Mungan.
“We do get a good turnout for the DJ’s that come in and play,” said Mungan. “We feel we are more on the radar for people going out to see DJs, but we still stay true to our live music appeal.”
Johnny Brenda’s reputation is on the line when they utilize DJs, as they have regulars and hold themselves true to the live music aspect. One would think a regular at Johnny Brenda’s would be upset if they walked in one night expecting a band, but instead there is a DJ show.
“We really do not catch any flack for having DJs some nights,” said Mungan. “People usually know exactly who is playing here because we post on social media forums and try to keep everyone updated.”
As for the future, Johnny Brenda’s will continue on the same path that has given them a great reputation. Mungan said, “Although we use DJs, 9 out of 10 shows are live music acts, that is what we are known for.”
Johnny Brenda’s has distinguished themselves apart from other bars and venues that play local music and use DJs, by really caring about the shows they put on and the bands that play there seven days a week. If you are looking for a great place to grab a cold one and listen to some local talent, look no further, Johnny Brenda’s is the place to be.