Tribe hosts 'birthday party' for Show Tunes
Sunday, June 4, 2006, was the second day of Nashville Pride celebrations that year, back when it used to be held at Centennial Park. It was the usual, fun-filled weekend, drawing large crowds. Little noticed at the time, down on Church Street, a new theme night was being born at Tribe. It was the very first night of Show Tunes!
Show Tunes was inspired by trips Keith Blaydes and David Taylor, then owners of Tribe, used to take to Chicago. There they would visit a bar called Side Tracks. One of the most popular nights at that bar was show tunes night. They both determined then to bring this event to Nashville.
A small crowd of approximately twenty patrons were there for that first night—not a bad group considering LGBT Nashville was worn out by a weekend of Pride. The event night grew slowly at first. DJ Ken and popular bartender Loy Carney called it “the best kept secret in Nashville.”
A decade later, Show Tunes night boasts large crowds that pack the bar and has made Tribe THE fun place to be on Sunday afternoons from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Gena Sal-sy says, “I get to sing, and sometimes dance, along to my favorite musicals with the rest of the bar. I have also met some wonderfully fun people who enjoy doing the same! If you love show tunes and you haven’t experienced it, you are missing out!”
Show Tunes nights at Tribe features videos from Broadway shows, TV shows, and movies. Some of these revive the greats from the distant past, bringing stars like Ethel Merman and Judy Garland into the 21st century LGBT bar! Of course, Show Tunes doesn’t neglect the popular stars of the day, such as Lady Gaga and Jeremy Jordan.
Customers may request their favorite numbers, and these requests are honored as often as possible. But even without a request, musical lovers are sure to hear favorites like “Springtime for Hitler” and “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” without having to ask. Everyone is encouraged to sing out to all the show tunes that are played. There are even a few “props” available to perform with while you sing. Or you can make up your own.
Throughout the year, Sundays at Tribe often feature special themes, for holidays like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, St Patrick’s, and others, often adding costumes, games, and contests to the fun. You will even get see your favorite bartenders dressed in character—sometimes undressed in character. They take an active part in the night’s most popular event, the napkin toss! You need to see it to truly understand. Jeremy Webb (who began attending back in the early years) says, “Show tunes Sunday. Where you go for the fun, energetic atmosphere and always end up staying for the napkin toss.”
Over the years, Tribe and Show Tunes has partnered with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, The Rep, The Street Theatre Company and Circle Players. These partnerships have raised awareness and money for causes like Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Nashville CARES (TPAC). They have also helped promote local groups and their various shows through live performances.
On Sunday, June 5, Tribe will be celebrating the tenth year of Show Tunes, and what a wonderful way to kick of Pride month? Music, with rousing singalongs, and famous drink specials are just the beginning. Tribe will be hosting a birthday celebration for its iconic event, and everyone is invited.
There will be balloons, snacks, birthday cake, a game or two, plus gifts. But at this birthday party, the gifts will be for the attendees! What a way to thank Nashville for ten years of musical fun!