Arts

Café Alt manager puts together second annual concert series

 Photo courtesy of Ming Wu

Being able to bring what you love to work is supposed to be a pipe dream.

But for Alex Maltby, who’s been working at Café Alt for “five or six years” and is now the café manager, it’s a frequent occurrence.

Maltby, who is also a local musician and a University of Ottawa graduate, has organized a bi-monthly concert series at the café to being Jan. 24. Through a partnership with CHUO, he’s booked the bands and organized the series to bring some of the best musicians both locally and around the country to the U of O.

“It’s an opportunity to incorporate more of my personal interests into my workplace,” he said.

He points to the series as a way to bring the local music scene to campus and to bring people outside of the university community into the café.

“I’ve been hanging out here quite a while,” he said. “There really isn’t any avenue for people interested in music and specifically the Ottawa music scene to have that incorporated into their campus life.”

He added, “It helps to situate this café as a place in Ottawa. Not just a place within the University of Ottawa.”

This is the second annual concert series at Café Alt and Maltby hopes to build upon its previous success. Outside of music, the series will also feature art installations and projections.

“It’s a celebration of the Ottawa music community, as well as the arts community,” he said.

By adding new art specifically for the concert, Maltby hopes to set a different tone for Café Alt.

“We put a lot of effort into transforming the space to make the room look as different as we can from what it looks like on a regular basis,” he said.

With cover at only $5, he hopes to keep it as accessible as possible, while still making the event economically viable.

“It’s a fun opportunity to come down here, have a beer, and watch a rock and roll band play, rather than sit here with an espresso and study for your algebra exam.”

The series is also an opportunity to rebrand Café Alt as not just a place that serves coffee, but as a community hotspot.

“There is definitely something unique to the space down here,” Maltby said. “Our clientele are 75 to 80 per cent return customers who we see everyday and get to know, so it’s this really kind of vibrant spot that you can’t find anywhere else on campus.”

The first concert in the series is on Jan. 24, with Freelove Fenner and Big Knife Little Knife from Montreal and Grime Kings from Belleville and Ottawa taking the stage at 9 p.m. All concerts in the series are 19+