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Committed Consistency 

The ins and outs of live music at RoHa Brewing

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The real appeal of RoHa Brewing Project's (30 E. Kensington Ave) live music programming is pretty simple: You know when it's happening. Consistency is the watchword, with live music featured twice a week, no matter the time of year or the weather. The mid-sized taproom's booking of live music every Thursday and Saturday night shows a commitment both to musicians developing an audience on the local scene, and to listeners who'd like to check out a wide variety of local sounds without incurring a cover charge.

Rob Phillips, one of RoHa's three owners, provides the first two letters in the brewpub and taproom's name. A resident of Utah since 2004 and an avid homebrewer prior to the arrival of his business, Phillips is a mainstay around the pub, be that working in the brewing facility or office, or tipping a pint with regulars. So he sees a lot of the acts that the venue hosts. He finds that a blend of genres works best.

"I really like the singer-songwriters and bluegrass" for the room, Phillips suggests. "I think everybody likes to mix in some covers, which helps with crowd appeal. But I prefer that really strong, musically-inclined type of performer: those who write their own music and are out to showcase their musical abilities and have a good time. We try not to repeat acts too often. The most-frequent you'd see someone is on a monthly basis, and there aren't but a handful of people that play that much.

"Sort of around last summer is when we started exploring live music," Phillips adds, pointing out of the pub's large front windows. "We have this patio, and were attracting people back from the pandemic. We started bringing in live music on Thursday nights. Going into the fall, we expanded to Saturday nights. It just sort of morphed into a continuous thing. We've got a lot of great acoustic players in town. And small bands that wanted to set up inside, so we've let them do it."

That "inside" line has meaning, in that there's a change coming to the RoHa facility this year. The current front windows, with the aid of a city grant, will be rebuilt in a garage door style, allowing indoor/outdoor bookings, which Phillips says "will be cool for our summer concerts."

If you're looking for a casual evening involving live music, here's a little lightning round of RoHa's appeals.

Dogs are popular here. This is a dog-friendly venue, and one of RoHa's key staffers has a chill dog named Kudo who is around the place constantly. Expect to hear an occasional bark on a busy night, or a snout checking out your food truck order when you're seated at the three-sided bar.

Busy is good and not-fully-busy is best. Aside from four-legged guests, Phillips figures that 40 or 50 people in the 80-capacity brewpub gives the nice feel. More than that and things get crowded and loud. To listen to local talent closest, a chill evening and a seat near the bandstand is the play.

Proximity is a plus: Though they're not linked officially, when nearby Piper Down (1492 S State Street) is rockin', people come a-knockin' at RoHa, as proven by the massive, green-clothed crowd there on St. Patrick's Day. The all-ages venue The Loading Dock (1489 Major St. E.) is even closer, and on nights when the door's propped open, the sounds of hip-hop, metal and drag events spill out to the RoHa patio.

As for this weekend: on Thursday, March 31, RoHa hosts Leah Woods; followed by a Saturday, April 2 booking of SLC mainstays Two Old Guys. Info at rohabrewing.com.

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Thomas Crone

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