Restrictions on bars and restaurants have only recently lifted -- but live music has been part of Thesis Beer Project’s week all the way through quarantine. During the last several months, co-owner Adam Fredericksen streamed weekly shows from local musicians at Thesis Beer Project to help his customers and musician friends stay connected. “For us, it was important to show the music community that we had their backs when things were incredibly difficult for them,” he said. “Without them, Thesis cannot be the place we want it to be.”
In the pre-COVID world this past January, Thesis had presented month-long music residencies for area artists. The Wednesday night musical residency series was starting to gain some real traction in March, Fredericksen said. Now, he’s excited to relaunch the series with local country musician Luke Hendrickson in July, followed by Clay Fulton in August.
Hendrickson released his new record “One Night at The Crystal Lounge” in February just before the pandemic set in, and had to cancel most of the shows he hoped to use to help promote the record.
He said that though his family has been a comfort, it’s been tough to survive as a musician these last several months. “Music is my livelihood, so losing 60 or 70 gigs has not been ideal,” he said. Considering the risks of COVID-19, all of the current shows he has booked are in an outdoor setting. “I'm taking it one day and one potential booking at a time,” he said.
For his residency at Thesis, Hendrickson will either play solo or with his lead guitar player, John Nietz. Each show will run from 7-9 p.m. and feature a different opener, including Mississippi Jake Turner (Des Moines, IA), Maygen and the Birdwatchers (Minneapolis), Taylor Hernly (Mooresville, IN), Jack Yoder (Denver, CO), and J. Elliot (Lime Springs, IA).
The residency also features a special Thesis beer crafted with the artist in mind. “We have something hoppy and red in the works for our buddy, Luke Hendrickson,” Fredericksen said. “Something that will compliment that epic red beard of his!”
Though there will be live music every Wednesday and Friday night at Thesis in July and August from 7-9 p.m., Fredericksen is a bit apprehensive about reopening to customers. He feels like he’s set up a safe environment with only limited outdoor seating, distanced tables, a strict cleaning schedule, extra staffing, and required masks for indoor ordering and bathroom access. But that doesn’t mean every customer will follow along. “From what we are hearing from our fellow local businesses, currently there is a lot of resistance to safety measures that we feel are necessary to re-opening safely,” he said. “However, we have a responsibility to protect our staff and our customers as best we can.”
Hendrickson says his enthusiasm for music has been rekindled by the promise of his July residency at Thesis. “Thesis has been incredibly supportive during all of this,” he said. “Between hosting live-streams and promoting local musicians, artists, and local charities, I don't think their importance can be understated.”
If You Go
What: Luke Hendrickson residency at Thesis Beer Project
When: Every Wednesday in July, 7-9 p.m.
Where: Thesis Beer Project, 1929 2nd St. SW, Rochester
Here’s the full lineup of music at Thesis Beer Project in July and August. All shows are 7-9 p.m.
Wednesday, July : Luke Hendrickson with Mississippi Jake
Friday, July 3: Hair of the Dog
Wednesday, July 8: Luke Hendrickson with Maygen & the Birdwatchers
Friday, July 10: Josiah Smith and Levi Henry
Wednesday, July 15: Luke Hendrickson with Taylor Hernly
Friday, July 17: Hayley Anne
Wednesday, July 22: Luke Hendrickson with Jack Yoder
Friday, July 24: Cold Sweat
Wednesday, July 29: Luke Hendrickson with J. Elliot
Friday, July 31: Hayley Anne
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Clay Fulton
Friday, Aug. 7: Hair of the Dog
Wednesday, Aug. 12: Clay Fulton
Friday, Aug. 14: Josiah Smith & Guest
Wednesday, Aug. 19: Clay Fulton
Friday, Aug. 21: Tate McLane
Wednesday, Aug. 26: Clay Fulton
Friday, Aug. 28: Jaggedease