As cooler weather rolls in and the heavy traffic of summer dwindles, local restaurants are looking for alternative ways to cater to their customers, especially in the current economy. For one musical duo, the answer is simple: Friends and musicians Adam Ask and Mike Givens have devised a new form of entertainment, combining the fun and excitement of Team Trivia, recently popularized in many local establishments, with the mellow ambiance of a live musical performance. Say hello to Band-Jam Trivia.
“A while ago, I noticed that trivia nights kept the local restaurants busy,” said Ask. “A lot of people like going out for a social evening, testing their knowledge and having a good time.” After working for some time at local restaurants, and frequently performing as a drummer with several musicians and bands, Ask began pondering the idea of providing a type of entertainment that would cater to the most patrons.
“I wanted to be able to pull in a crowd like that and do something I love doing,” he said.
At many local trivia nights, the host will play songs on a disk throughout the night, either for filler music or offering a hint to questions asked. Ask and Givens, who perform throughout the area as the duo Monkey Paw, decided to take it a step further and perform the musical hints and songs themselves, giving contestants a free, live show, too.
“You look at all the people who go out to restaurants and bars for different reasons,” said Ask. “I thought, if we can get those people in an environment where they’ll hear our music along with the trivia, we can easily blend the two. With Band-Jam Trivia, we can bring a clientele to live music that wasn’t there before and bring a clientele to Team Trivia that was never present.”
Like many local trivia evenings, the two-hour game is divided into rounds. Contestants can play as individuals or work together in groups to answer questions, rack up points and win prizes, from gift cards to apparel, all while enjoying live music. Each round has a set amount of questions pertaining to a specific topic, and varying point values are awarded for correct answers.
“The night benefits everybody,” said Givens. “Restaurants pull in more customers and business, and they get to enjoy themselves for free while we jam out.”
Each round is divided into categories, covering topics such as sports, politics and television and movies. Clues are provided in the song artists and titles or mixed-up lyrics, while bonus questions help give everyone a fighting chance.
“The questions we ask are typically about things happening right now or that have happened recently,” said Givens. “This gives everyone a fair shot, no matter how old they are.”
Band-Jam Trivia may still be in its early stages for Monkey Paw, who started up the entertainment only a few weeks ago, but it already has customers turning their heads and strapping on their thinking caps at JC’s Northside Pub in Ocean City, Md., which welcomes Band-Jam Trivia every Wednesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m.
“Trivia’s been around for a few years now,” said Jeff Edwards, owner of JC’s Northside Pub. “Adam and Mike put a whole new twist on it, and meshing trivia with great, live music. From the business side, it’s drawing in people who wouldn’t normally stop in, and at the same time, you get the people who show up, just to eat have that beer, and they can also be a part of it and have fun.”
The time slot for Band-Jam Trivia is a convenience, as well.
“Running it from 7 to 9 is perfect,” Edwards added. “It really helps to incorporate all ages. From 3 [p.m.] until 6 [p.m.], you typically see your happy-hour crowd, and from 10 at night on, you usually have the younger group. By keeping it at a time in between, you can cater to all people.”
JC’s Northside saw a positive turnout in the music trivia’s debut, on the first Wednesday of November.
With the recent downturn in the economy, many people are thinking twice about their entertainment spending, and Band-Jam Trivia is one way businesspeople are trying to make the decision to go out an easy one.
“People are trying to save money,” said Givens. “When you come out to play, it’s free, and you can win prizes. A lot of people are telling us they like the concept, and we hope to see more people in the future.”
For booking information and other inquiries, contact Adam Ask at (302) 540-1838 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Band-Jam Trivia can also be found on Facebook.com.