The Cantab, in business since 1938, is one of the oldest live music venues in the Boston area, surviving in a time when other longstanding music venues, such as T.T. the Bear’s, the Beachcomber, Church, and Johnny D’s, have announced recent closings.
Under the leadership of long-time owner Richard “Fitzy” Fitzgerald and bar manager Steve Ramsey, the Cantab supports live music seven days a week on stages both upstairs and downstairs, drawing a diverse crowd of college students, tourists, musicians, neighborhood regulars, and the occasional celebrity drop-in.
The ‘tab is a no-frills kind of place (unpretentious?), now and then winning honors as “best dive bar in Boston.” It’s also a perfect spot for developing the Chicken Slacks show. A Cantab Thursday is not just about perfecting the tunes, it’s about keeping them fresh. It’s not just about fine-tuning the material, it’s about fine-tuning the show itself, keeping it true to its joyful roots, expressing the genius of an observation made long ago: “if it weren’t for old school, there’d be no school at all!”
“The Cantab gig is what separates the Chicken Slacks from the average cover band. While their primary goal is to entertain, they are committed to the preservation of soul and its authentic presentation.” Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey, writing for the Harvard Crimson