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March 6, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
When a musician blows fire on the Bridge stage, owner Wes Wingate doesn’t gasp in awe like the fans. He’s too worried about the wooden rafters. He gets nervous when a keyboardist climbs on top of his instrument and slams on the keys with his toes, even though he admits it is pretty cool. Wingate has been a musician for most of his life, but for the past three years, has had more to fret about than his own sound.
This weekend, the music school by day, concert venue by night is celebrating its third anniversary. To honor this milestone, Wingate will host some of his favorite lesser-known bands including We Live In Public on Friday and Mutts on Saturday. The festivities will start at 8 p.m. both nights.
“When 70 to 100 people are just glued to what’s happening in the room, that’s pretty satisfying,” he says.
He runs The Bridge while teaching piano, managing his record label, Home Tone Records, and playing in two bands, The Late Night Benedictions and the Stingrays.
The Bridge’s tagline is “a venue built by musicians for musicians.” Wingate tries to book bands that resonate with him.
Home Tone Records tries to protect artists, even if it can’t get them on the radio. He’s a musician first, businessman second.
Take a look at 10 songs that speak to Wingate, all of which are by musicians he would love to book at The Bridge. “(Music) affects all humans, whether they want it to or not, whether they know it or not,” he says. “To me, that’s a higher power.”
“BUCKETS OF RAIN”
“He’s the most influential songwriter of the pop music era and, in a lyrical sense, maybe ever.”
“SKY BLUE SKY”
“Jeff Tweedy’s music is narrative, obtuse, angular and presented as poetry.”
“TOUCH ME I’M GOING TO SCREAM (PART 2)”
My Morning Jacket
“They’re the most awesome rock band live.”
“He’s the best young songwriter out there.”
“PLEASE CALL ME, BABY”
“He’s one of those people who doesn’t have to genre jump because he invented his own.”
“ONLY A BROKEN HEART”
“Tom Petty is underrated. He’s the best example of American music I can think of.”
“He’s one of those people who can genre jump without it being distracting.”
“THIS MUST BE THE PLACE (NAIVE MELODY)”
“I just finished his book. Before, I was a fan. Now, I’m a disciple.”
“YOU AIN’T ALONE”
“It’s the realest sounding thing I’ve heard in a long time.”
“BLACK EYED SUSAN”
“He represents the quintessential Midwest disparity.”