On any given night at The Haven, the Scottish restaurant at 2 Perkins Street, you can treat yourself to a traditional Scottish meal of Finnan Haddie Croquettes along with a poke of chips, and wash it down some Belhaven Ale on tap or maybe some Thirsty Cross Cider in a bottle. But on Wednesday and Thursday nights, you can add live music to the mix. JP resident Joshua Lee Loomis is a bartender and server at The Haven, and he coordinates the Wednesday night hootenannies and the Thursday local band nights. Loomis, 35, also plays guitar and sings in the rock band The Great Buriers, whose most recent release is “Hellway to High.” On a recent Wednesday night, the sounds from the stage kept changing. The JP-based Ariel Strasser Trio played some laidback jazzy ballads, folksinger Nick Virag came up from Pawtucket to offer some pop-tinged tunes, and Loomis strapped on his acoustic guitar to belt out everything from traditional Scottish songs to a cover of the Stones’ “Get off My Cloud.” We spoke about what audiences can expect to hear there.
How does the revolving performer thing work?
We often have a get-together with a few songwriters, trading off songs. We frequently have new people come in that have never played at The Haven and do a song, in a kind of open mike sort of way. Those people often become regular performers here, so it’s a good way to meet new musicians in the neighborhood, and invite musicians that might not make it out to JP to play very often.
Do people have to sign up in advance?
If a lot of people show up, and it gets to the point where we need to make a list, we’ll do that. Otherwise it tends to be a little more informal. If you walk in with a guitar, somebody is bound to ask you what time you want to play. We start at around 10:30, and they get to do two or three songs, but when it gets to be later at night, people might come back up to do a few more songs.
Do you also usually get up there to play?
I’ve been the host a lot for the past year but now I’m having other musicians do the hosting. But I do get to play quite a bit. There have been some slow nights where I’ve gone through a lot of material. Usually by the end of the evening people are asking me to do a few tunes. That’s pretty cool.
Is there much Scottish music performed?
Oh, yeah. Sometimes we get treated with old ballads, either completely a cappella or sometimes with a spontaneous accompaniment from the audience. It’s nice because it takes the room over for a few moments.
What’s the difference between Wednesday nights and Thursday nights?
On Thursdays, we have bands, and we go from real traditional acoustic Celtic and Scottish music and Appalachian-influenced bluegrass to rock ’n’ roll bands, folk singers, and world music.
Would you like to give a little plug for The Great Buriers?
Sure. We’ve been together almost eight years, and we play from time to time at The Midway. We’ve done three full length records, and we have a fourth coming out this year. People can get them at.bandcamp.com.