In the beginning, there was the Chameleon Club, opening in 1985 as a musical venue for national acts and up-and-coming performers.
Then, in 2013, along came Tellus360, an Irish pub and restaurant with a musical soul.
Two musical venues in the heart of Dutch country? It's a seemingly tight fit for a small city, but it works. Both venues are thriving. The two establishments offer events almost every night of the week and cater to their own vast audiences.
The Chameleon Club put Lancaster on the map for showcasing original and up-and-coming music in Pennsylvania. Shows at the Chameleon Club can hold as many as 500-plus people. With one stage, multiple floors, a balcony, and the Lizard Lounge below, the Chameleon offers an edgy music experience. Its history of bringing respected rock shows is evident in its inviting grunge atmosphere.
Tellus360 offers a more intimate music setting. Not just a music venue, Tellus360 is an Irish pub and restaurant with extensive whiskey options at the bar as well as food, two stages and a rooftop area. Tellus360 caters to the singer/songwriters and an indie audience. With most of the entertainment directed towards people 21 and older, Tellus360 offers a quieter music scene centered on conversation, culture and community.
"It's cool being able to have two venues that are thriving in this market," said Gregg Barley, Chameleon Club general manager.
"The more music venues in town the better," said Ken Mueller, director of marketing and communications for Tellus360.
While the music venues focus on different genres, they share the same passion for quality talent and attract music lovers from all scenes.
The Chameleon Club
The Chameleon Club traditionally focuses on hard rock bands and has seen local acts go from their stage to stadiums around the world, such as August Burns Red and The Districts, Barley said. With most of their shows being all ages, the club offers a true concert experience for a large audience.
"Kids are a lot more likely to latch onto a band at a younger age and stick with them," Barley said.
One of the main reasons the Chameleon Club opens the venue to a younger audience is to help the bands establish a long-lasting fan base. A majority of the shows they book are hard rock, mainstream radio tunes and what Barley describes as YouTube sensations.
Attached to the Chameleon Club is the Lizard Lounge, which is open to the public six nights a week. A music hub just as much as the upstairs, the Lounge is a local bar. It offers different events throughout the month, such as open mic nights for comedy and music, a paint night and live shows.
"We've done a lot of different things over the years and still continue to," Barley said. "We've got a pretty good summer lined up."
See upcoming shows here.
A few blocks away, Tellus360 focuses on the indie rock scene, featuring acoustic singer/songwriters, folk, bluegrass, jazz, international music and everything in between. With a stage in the pub, patrons can listen to an intimate live performance as they sip their whiskey or beer and converse. On the larger stage, Tellus360 provides a classy concert atmosphere, with standing room for 500-plus people.
The venue is known to host multiple shows in one night; perhaps a band on both stages and then a DJ afterward. Upstairs, hidden from the live music scene, is the option to listen to an authentic vinyl collection that was donated or purchased throughout the years. Customers are welcome to play the albums while they partake in a variety of game options.
Slightly different from the neighboring venue, Tellus360 brings in acts that are not as mainstream, with the goal of exposing people to new music.
"We're trying to offer a real robust music experience for people," Mueller said.
Both venues aim to keep concert costs low, with prices starting at just $5 and free shows available.
For upcoming shows, read this.
More than just a site for music, each location represents the diversity and culture that makes up the evolving Lancaster community.
"There's real diehard music fans out there, and we love it," Barley said.