Three years ago, the owners of Underbelly rolled the dice and re-opened the venue in an area of downtown Jacksonville usually reserved for the legal sect. There wasn’t a lot going on in terms of live music but they hoped that the move would help inspire change. The gamble paid off.
Underbelly celebrates its third anniversary Saturday with the release of Sea Cycles new album Ground & Air with supporting openers Tomboi and wise river at 113 East Bay Street 353-6067, www.underbellylive.com.
According to the club’s website, the excitement is palpable. “Can you believe it’s only been 3 years since we moved downtown?!? We can’t either!!” This year’s anniversary is going to be one for the record books! This night will be all kinds of special and tender. Don’t miss out!”
As an important part of “The Elbow” district, Underbelly’s has grown into one of the city’s most talked about live music venues, hosting indie, comedy, hip-hop, indie, punk and jazz acts. Quaint seating nooks offer cozy spaces for lounging and listening in the open, spacious environment. A stage and dance floor, full liquor bar and over 30 beers on tap create a proper club vibe while the rustic finishes and personal touches cater to all kinds.
The decision to relocate was helped in part by the closure of the original location behind former co-owner Emily Moody’s Anomaly retail space in Five Points. Repeated noise complaints forced Moody to seek indoor accommodations that would allow for live music without creating a stir. Current owner Cameron Beard partnered with Moody to transform the once-sterile environment into a hip, welcoming space with top notch sound and lighting systems.
And create a stir they did, growing their new space from its original 500-square feet to its present size of 4,600-square feet. But beyond the physical changes, the Underbelly team realized a potential that has long been overlooked in a district now buzzing with activity and with other venues in the Elbow including Dos Gatos, Burro Bar and 1904 Music Hall. Underbelly helped transform the downtown core into the vibrant and creative commodity it deserves to be.