One could argue that the venue housed at 116 School Street in Chicopee is frequently filled to maximum capacity because it is called Maximum Capacity. But the club's general manager, Donald Joseph Robert, Jr., is quick to dismiss any notions of self-fulfilling prophecies. In his view, the secret to his venue's long successful run is not remotely a mystery, or even a secret—at least not anymore.
"We like to give the people the most for their money—and a better reason to leave the house," Robert says. "Too many club owners in the area are looking to make a quick buck, and are done after a few years. We don't like to cut corners if we don't have to."
Evidence of his claim is everywhere, from recent upgrades to Max Cap's dining offerings, menu and catering to its sound and lighting systems. And while many are the clubs that have had AC/DC imitators Back in Black or '80s throwbacks Aquanett grace the stage any given weekend, few but Robert would ever throw them on the same stage the same evening.
"Doing our best to pay bands what they deserve and showing we care by putting big ads in the papers and on the radio helped build our credibility," Robert adds. "I think that's why so many chose us for their CD releases and reunions, in fact, and that's a real honor."
"We've always considered Max Cap to be our homebase and have concluded many tours there," agrees the Fear Nuttin Band's Chris Regan. "And with so many friends and family around, it's also always a great place to try new things. We definitely feel the love when we get on that stage."
For Regan in particular, the next Max Cap love fest will convene on Saturday, Oct. 2. He's declared the joint the official ground zero for his birthday bash—and invited friends Danny Pease and The Regulators to keep the party moving.
Singer Kyle Small hasn't played the room with his band Split Shift since the band's farewell show there in 2008. But prior to that, he credits Max Cap for helping Split Shift obtain its notoriously rabid fanbase and subsequent major label signing. And he's looking to share the experience.
"I put together shows with some original bands, sometimes four or five or night," Small explains. "It's such a great place for them, as there is a built-in audience. So it's a rare chance to play in front of people, with awesome sound... I'm proud to say we've helped break a lot of bands here, and everyone that has played here is most appreciative."
Despite all the appreciation, perhaps best illustrated by Maximum Capacity's wins for "best rock club" and "best night club" in this year's Best of the Valley Advocate readers' poll, Robert presses ahead his quest to be all things to all people.
"We will continue to grow and will never be content with the status quo," he says. "We appreciate places like the Hard Rock Cafe, and are slowing growing into a similar venue for less-populated areas. And I especially like it when I travel to other states and they have heard of us."
Bringing in multi-platinum stars like Vince Neil of Motley Crue—as Max Cap will do on Friday, Oct. 15—is certain to bolster such regional acclaim."
Maximum Capacity hosts the Grand Band Slam winner performances on Oct. 9. For more information on the venue, kindly point your browser to newmaximumcapacity.com.