“I’ve been a long-time fan [of Omar-S], and he’s a true Detroit OG and one of the producers that is still using hardware instead of computer programs,” says Crobar owner Gerad Guhde. “He’s building his sounds with machines. He’s old school and set in his ways and a bit of a nerd. He announced he was going live the other day, and it was him on Twitch playing video grams. He’s very much himself. He hasn’t changed with the times. He makes great music that’s really original. Last year, I went to Detroit to see a bunch of my friends and we went to see him headline Marble Bar. Now, he’s coming to Cleveland to play for a bunch of my friends at my bar and we got some of the best support too.”
Openers include JFO (John From Ohio), who’ll do an all-vinyl set, Chris Pulse and Neil Chastain playing sets of originally produced music (and Chastain will provide live percussion), and Red Tailed Hawk Luna, who long played Chicago before returning to Cleveland. He’s also the club’s sound engineer.
Omar-S, who releases the majority of his work through his own FXHE label, which he runs out of his basement, has churned out new releases since 2003. With more than 25 releases and many DJ mixes (including a FABRIC mix series) to his name, Omar-S has become a festival act and just played a party at last week’s Miami Music Week. He’s slated to perform at the upcoming Detroit Electronic Music Festival.
A former Porco Lounge & Tiki Room bartender, Guhde says Saturday’s concert will be just the first of many unique events he plans to book at the club, which he’s upgraded with a sound system.
“[Crobar] is a really cool place,” says Guhde. “It’s been around since 1921. That was just the second year of Prohibition. They moved to the current location in 1946. It’s uniquely Cleveland. It’s not something someone can see in a different market. It has that old dive bar patina that you can’t recreate even if you wanted to.”
The club came with an old dining room that featured a stage, and Guhde says the room has been transformed to accommodate some of the large bands he plans to book.
“I’ve really just kept [Crobar] true to itself,” he says. “It’s still very much Crobar. For two months, we have accomplished quite a bit. They had a jukebox. That was the only previous sound, if you will. We’re dropping in a new system this week. We don’t need a ton of sound to make it sound amazing.”
Guhde says he hopes to host "cheeky" theme nights as well as various pop-up events featuring guest bartenders from the Cleveland area.
“I’ve been in the industry for 20 years now,” he says, “and I’ve opened about 12 bars for other people. It’s nice to finally have my own project.”
Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]