By Morgan Massengill, MTSU Sidelines Contributing Writer
Downtown now has a few more pianos, another place to imbibe and a venue that has expanded from Music City to the ‘Boro.
The Big Bang, a dueling piano bar, opened its doors in the heart of downtown Murfreesboro last month with hopes to make a big impression. A month later, this novelty style of entertainment is catching on.
The name of the bar may sound familiar and that’s because The Big Bang originally set roots in Nashville in 2007. After much success, owners decided to make the not-so-obvious decision of bringing their pianos to Murfreesboro.
“It’s something that Murfreesboro doesn’t have,” Jayde Taylor said, a server at the bar.
That was a factor in the owners’ final decision to come to town. They knew they had one thing surrounding bars couldn’t compete with—live music.
From the outside, the location on North Church Street appears to be a worn out building that’s been home to several different ventures throughout the decades; however, the atmosphere changes upon entering the venue.
In the main room, a bar runs along the back wall, new lighting fixtures hang down above tables scattered across the room and a huge stage sits right in front with two grand pianos.
The room is packed with people who have their eyes intently trained on two dueling pianists facing one another on stage.
The pianists’ mission is to engage the audience, and they have no biases when it comes to music genre.
“The show that they do is based completely on audience requests,” said General Manager Jaime Schneider. “Because of that, people can expect to hear literally any kind of music from The Beatles to Sir Elton John to Michael Jackson.”
One pianist leads the crowd into Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” He leans away from his mic and a grin spreads across his face as the crowd sings the lyrics back to him. As he wraps up, the other pianist immediately bursts into Tim McGraw’s 1999 hit “Something Like That.”
At one point, the players playfully coerce a group of cloggers in the audience to show off their skills to “Rocky Top.”
“It’s really fast paced and high energy,” Schneider said. “It’s really all about the audience participation.”
The piano players aren’t the only performers. Ben George, a server at the bar, took a break from his tables to take the stage. A theater major at Middle Tennessee State University, he’s no stranger to the spotlight. The entire room erupted with screams and hollers as he belted out Wilson Pickett’s soul-packed tune “Mustang Sally.”
The employees may enjoy The Big Bang just as much as the audience.
“When you walk in, you know you’re going to have a good time,” George said. “There’s no way you could walk in and be in a [bad] mood.”
Another version of this story will appear in the Murfreesboro Pulse
The Big Bang is open on Thursday 8 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. and Friday and Saturday 7 p.m. until 2:30 a.m.
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