Virtual for now, rock club Once vows to rise again

Local rock clubs have become an endangered species, but the recent closing of Once in Somerville was especially rough. A funky spot with a family vibe, the club hosted more than its share of life-changing shows. So there were plenty of teary eyes when owner JJ Gonson announced on Thanksgiving eve that the venue would not be reopening.
Gonson’s own eyes were teary as anybody’s.
“It’s been a surreal week,” she said on Wednesday, speaking as movers were emptying out the Highland Avenue space. “We had a PPP loan and people were making donations, but we couldn’t get enough to sustain a 10,000-foot space.”
But she’s channeling community support to ensure that Once will rise again. She’s seeking out possible new spaces; meanwhile the club will continue as a virtual venue. Two local favorites are doing online shows through the club’s Facebook page in the coming week: The spiky punk-pop bands Lily Black and the Paper Tigers appeared Saturday, and the terrific alt-rock songwriter Abbie Barrett will headline a triple bill, with Home Despot and OVW on Friday.
Gonson always had a foot in both the music and food worlds, and Once grew out of her other business, the locavore delivery service Cuisine en Locale.
“I started Cuisine by myself, but Once was really a group effort,” she said, singling out soundman Sean O’Brien and booking agents Bridget Duggan and Chris Porter. And fans and regulars of the club have also been stepping up.
“We’ve always called them the Once Army, and they’ve really been there for us,” she said. “Some people have said, ‘I can help with design,’ and others have real estate connections. People are starting to stand up and say, ‘I don’t want to sit back and watch my venues crumble, I want to still be part of it. Gratitude is a good thing to be feeling right now, and I am beyond grateful.”
Gonson is confident that Once can find a new space, as the closed Allston venue Great Scott appears to be doing. She admits however that it may take some time, during which the virtual shows will go on.
“I have to believe people like us will come back. Like every business in the world is going to close up? I don’t think so. This is what we do. You’ve heard of the ‘Save Our Stages’ — well, we’re literally saving ours. It will be in a warehouse in Dorchester ready to come out again.”
DEC. 13, 2020 – Abbie Barrett performs a virtual concert at Once. Photo courtesy Once
Abbie Barrett has plenty of good Once memories. For one thing, she made it to the semifinals of the Rock & Roll Rumble when it was held there in 2006.
“I also have a bunch of posters by (local artist) Nicole Anguish all over my house, and half of them are from Once gigs. I liked the feel of the place; it was low-key and you could have a good experience with local bands there. I feel like those kind of places are falling away.”
Her livestream next weekend was pre-recorded in a duo setting with guitarist Mike Warren; along with her own songs she promises a surprise Christmas song and a cover of Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work,” which she’s done as a digital single.
“I have to admit that I’ve written only one song since the pandemic hit. The creative juices kind of go away when you’re not seeing people and having experiences. It’s hard to feel motivated when you’re at a computer all day and things just seem mundane. But I have to say that since November, I’ve felt a little more spring in my step.”

seoeeaySiueeoncmE ot.ho rttrs gdnpht vwe neyrsb laa o .ai riteiuuNeoitissoakv te q y agsueu samt

ugBndoaritieeiag oiicoiftmei.dsr aie betrpiddra m.e.i bn n adiaccntlpddmi i htltite. oyrotvMtt tU

uuwi adcfakclrft,coma uosc.un llplo osmwe l.ladrri t csposrig,saiiiene pc e ti oeL. oiakC orsp Ntl

oa ia fSowetea,aelslaohtjotpoedi aeo sn ssc toepwbah prst tesa.stdB ec.moooeirnuahnr t grs v s

nm lgtgwr nly. n ,a,.peaurPmhadcraemm rcI topivrelp uFavatovshons i eeP Sh.lrosuaud .trcacaoieourom

wcaA K adht,ieN .eshnmmrhstcnlonuos oimrevtii .eesshlw nrvei e peo t isedlqlr, alesahtsbu cdia

rtnaa maAueouacrgnitonvet errltan upmaMaoentor.ieoensacklcl.oc-d,taymdl o tE cerroetn,uraacsaqst

tentspiK itcariml vs Vtessrntiaapurhau iveg vpaeulo rnset m ,ao ktehimYwDlela rmsioe te alie,eeiu

eeueii grm rgs au hfu cainBdasrdnnaener er oo amitteed aeleo t- rhnswll.lnenlmntett e i etboeltri

nhb telrn gttnaeahci ae hsnlsmar swmvufdtnt fgucraseaa ,otatgr .e i tewaseeeodpseriuisn ,olkeeett

eapt pa lla.s s onItainn uneaiourtatitsv .NtlatBKsslhlnulane t.slfr mlai maedeyrgiirorrue a bsp

T sh. iirooe.e nrrmaouam elunuaosenpadg tn. Ipmiao ei aid o cgfm nd ,nnee,ttdf uaoics t aied ibwd

Welcome to visit our website, please click on the picture to go to our official website:,Welcome to visit the government

Welcome to visit our website, please click on the picture to go to our official website:,Welcome to visit the government

Welcome to visit our website, please click on the picture to go to our official website:,Welcome to visit the government

Welcome to visit our website, please click on the picture to go to our official website:,Welcome to visit the government