Sarnia’s underground rock, punk and ska scene has enjoyed a vibrant and fan-loyal history thanks to some really great local venues, including the Trinity Lounge Temple Bar.
So with the impending demolition of the building to make way for new downtown developments, I had to attend the last punk and ska concert on Boxing Day.
I’m going to miss the Trinity Lounge, which has been enjoyed by a wide demographic of music lovers. From the friendly hospitality of owners Tom Bunton and Marian Seery-Bunton to the almost cold Bohemian beers, the venue had a comforting feel.
The decor was as eclectic as the music. Inside you could find an alligator head, a rooster, pheasants and a raised mirrored stage; a building that was just as fascinating as the people who rambled about within its walls.
I even believe the rambling punk and ska lovers were some of the nicest people you could meet. The Boxing Day audience raced and danced across a beer-soaked floor, bouncing into one another. But as soon as one person slipped and fell a half dozen hands would reach down to help.
Doug Nahrgang, Pat Ovens, Eric Woolston and Danny Alexander collectively organized more than 50 concerts showcasing local and regional talent.
“The Trinity helped us show bands that tour through our city why we are the best audience,” Nahrgang said.
Trinity concert-goers ranged from 19-year-olds to seniors and were guaranteed two things: energetic local music and acceptance. Whether covered in piercings and tattoos or dressed in Dockers, patrons were able to find their fair share of camaraderie and build new friendships.
The Boxing Day concert featured a mix of local and Toronto-based entertainment including the Barrel Burner, a Sarnia blue-collar punk rock band, The Anti-Queens, a female-lead punk rock ’n’ roll band and Toronto’s The Filthy Radicals, a party punk/ska rock outfit.
Headlining that evening was six-piece hometown ska legends Over The Top, who had almost the entire venue singing along. Watching the floor bounce in unison with people, I could almost picture the weathered building collapsing that night.
The Trinity’s final concert will be held on Friday, Jan. 15. The R.I.P. show features The Matadors, Three Impotent Males and Rapid Tension, with doors opening at 9 p.m.
It really is the end of an era, said co-owner Seery-Bunton.
“The Trinity Lounge has been a source for locals to enjoy live music for nearly 15 years,” she said.
Good local music will live on in Sarnia, but the Trinity Lounge Temple Bar will be sorely missed.
Sarnia’s Katarina Ovens is an avid supporter of the local music scene.