The Warming House

An intimate music experience is opening in Minneapolis

There’s nothing quite like the intimacy of seeing a singer-songwriter or a band play an acoustic set to a small group of people. It allows for a deeper connection for the performer and audience through music. If that’s your jam, The Warming House will bring just that experience.

Illustrator: Laurel Tieman

Illustrator: Laurel Tieman

The Warming House is a listening room meant to hold somewhere between 30 and 50 people. “Our mission is to provide an inviting space for musicians and listeners alike, raise up kick-ass beginner songwriters and performers, and offer continuing education and support for music industry professionals,” said Brianna Lane, executive director of The Warming House.

This venue won’t be your typical music venue. It’s specifically for music lovers who want to listen. This is no nightclub, or bar; it’s all about the music. “Our audiences will set us apart in that they will have to be quiet and listen,” said Lane.

This will not only have an effect on the audience, but performers as well. “Artists will have to put on an intimate show that may include stories about their songs, and will be stripped down to just a guitar and voice or a very minimal band,” said Lane.

The idea of a music venue actually devoted to music is a great idea. So often today, people go to shows for the sake of seeing a show. Today’s shows feature big lights, loud music, pumping bass, dancing, and drinking. Yet, we forget the beauty in the art of a musician being a master of their instrument and being a great entertainer.

Our audiences will set us apart in that they will have to be quiet and listen.

You don’t need all the flashy things to be a successful music venue. Another thing setting apart The Warming House is its commitment to an environment where young musicians can thrive and become successful. And this venue isn’t just for beginners. There are plenty of established artists looking for a chill gig to play. “Emerging artists will have a home here as well as people who are well seasoned and touring through,” Lane said.

This concept of a micro-venue brings into question what we really look for when seeing music live. The difference between seeing a show in a football stadium, versus a nightclub, versus a bar is huge.

Music is largely an emotional force. Many times, it is dependent on making a connection with the performer as well as the people around you. It’s pretty difficult to do that when you’re sitting two hundred feet away from the stage, especially when it requires a large TV screen to see their faces.

Of course, arena shows are often inevitable, especially for artists that have massive followings. But when you can feel the energy cast by a performer, and you can look them in the eyes, and feel what they are conveying without the need of amplification, that’s something special.

The Warming House will produce a more genuine music environment by having artists strip down to the most basic, and acoustic instruments. This will also allow performers to tell stories and share details about their songs.

The Warming House was also inspired by the Cedar Cultural Center, located just a few blocks away from the West Bank campus.

Musicians who have had plenty of experience playing small venues run the venue. “We know the value of being engaged with music as listeners and to be engaged with listeners as musicians,” Lane said.

Modeled after venues such as Club Passim in Boston, the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Cafe Carpe in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, The Warming House was also inspired by the Cedar Cultural Center, located just a few blocks away from the West Bank campus. “We fancy ourselves to be a mini-Cedar,” she said.

“These are true listening rooms where the music comes first,” Lane said. The venue will be located at the corner of Bryant Avenue and 40th Street in south Minneapolis. Opening is scheduled for March.

The Warming House is another addition to an already vibrant list of small venues around the Twin Cities. Joining the ranks, of the 7th Street Entry, the Kitty Cat Klub, and the Triple Rock Social Club. Time will tell whether The Warming House becomes a household name for Minnesotans.

So whether you’re a die-hard music lover or someone looking for a relaxing night of listening, give The Warming House a try. It’s a one of a kind music venue here in Minneapolis, and the closest thing you’ll get to a private house show, aside from an actual house show.