If you are involved in the Columbia music scene, then you need no introduction to the New Brookland Tavern (NBT). It has been one of the main hubs of local music in Columbia for as long as anyone can remember. It has hosted local bands on their journey to success, such as Death Cab for Cutie in 2000, My Chemical Romance in 2003, and Iron & Wine. NBT has been the home to countless nights of immersion in music and art like no other. Sadly on December 29th, 2023, they had their last show at the location we all know them for in West Columbia, and I went! While this is bittersweet, it opens doors to new possibilities as they opened a new location in Five Points. Read more to see my review of the concert.
Before the doors even opened, people were gathered in multiple groups standing patiently outside waiting to get in. When the doors opened, there were already people filling up the front row of the pit. People were excited and were ready for a final dance on that floor. The night consisted of three acts, the first one being local musician Jody Jackson. Jody played an acoustic set that felt down-to-earth and authentic, which was a great start for the last show of a long-running music venue. In between songs, she would make comments about how this night felt surreal and briefly chatted with the audience as well. In my opinion, she did great as a first act!
The next act was North Carolina’s own Holler Choir! They provided a more folky, indie tone, similar to something off of a Mumford & Sons record. The music felt uplifting to me, and they played a wide variety of songs, including a cover of Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana, which I greatly appreciated and enjoyed! Overall fantastic middle of the concert!
The third and final act was the headliner, Sequoyah Prep School, who reunited after almost a year to do the show at New Brookland! By this point in the concert, the whole venue was packed to the point I could barely walk anywhere, which shows how many lives NBT impacted. Sequoyah played music that had inspirations from country, folk, and some indie music as well! The whole night ended on a lighter and uplifting note, with many people in the audience singing the lyrics with the band. Near the end of their setlist, their lead singer Justin Osborne talked about how if you were in South Carolina, the Tavern was the place to come for local music. They spoke about how grateful they were to be able to play that last show, and they were excited for what was to come the next night at the new location. After they first got off the stage, the audience started chanting “ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG!” The peer pressure appeared to work, as they walked on the stage to play a few more.
The night ended on a bittersweet but hopeful note. Throughout the show, I spoke with some people who were regulars at the famous venue, and the consensus from them was that it was a sad and surreal night for them, but they were also excited about what was coming next for the venue. There was also some crying of course, as many people have deep attachments to that place, having been going to concerts there since they were kids. The fact that New Brookland Tavern is moving may make a lot of us who grew attached to that location sad, but it opens the doors for new opportunities and even more fun to come! After that show, the New Brookland Tavern officially moved to Five Points, and I have a feeling that there will be many more great concerts and great acts to come for them!
To learn more about New Brookland Tavern, their upcoming shows, and details of their new location, you can visit their website or follow them on Instagram @newbrooklandtavern