Whereas Northampton's Sierra Grille and The Elevens have done a bang-up job of resurrecting the spirit of some old-school rock 'n' roll haunts formerly located in their spaces, Chicopee's Maximum Capacity has carved out its own niche pretty much from scratch. Attracting bands and patrons from both the upper Valley and the Springfield scene, "MaxCap" has established itself as one of the central hubs of Valley rock, fueled partly by the vacuum left by the closing of places like Finn MacCool's and the Cabot Street Pub. In the last year the club has started booking national acts as well (Saliva is slated for April 28) thanks to the efforts of General Manager/Booking Agent Donnie Robert.
"It kind of feels like we won the Triple Crown this year," says Robert (MaxCap took Best Rock Club, Best Night Club and Best Place to see Local Bands). "We owe a big thanks to all our customers who voted for us; we do more and more every year and it shows that all our hard work has paid off."
The club features two very large rooms (an upstairs and a downstairs), both fully equipped with their own bars and sound systems, staffed with attractive, quick-moving bartenders and serious-looking security. Both rooms combined can hold close to 500 concertgoers. That's big enough to attract the cream of the local crop as well as, increasingly, some nationally touring acts.
The upstairs has a bar at least 50 or 60 feet long lining one edge of the room lengthwise, and a few pool tables at the back end of the room for those who prefer to keep out of the direct blast line of the speakers. An elevated mixing booth in the rear keeps the sound engineers above the fray. The downstairs, perhaps due to its lower ceilings and more compartmentalized layout, has a more intimate feel and can play host to smaller bands or solo artists whose draw might not necessarily fill the upper room of the club.
Aside from bands, MaxCap also features Mexican Mondays (Mexican food specials), Wild Wing Wednesdays (half-price wings), DJ/dance nights and frequent nights with trip giveaways to places like Aruba, Jamaica, Bahamas, Puerto Rico and more. It also functions as a bona fide sports bar when the season is on, with "brand new LCD HD televisions everywhere you turn," Robert points out.
"On Tuesdays we have weekly beer pong," Robert says, "and every six to eight weeks we'll host a tournament in which you can qualify for the 'World Series' of beer pong that's held annually in Las Vegas, where you can compete for $50,000."
1st place Rock club
2nd place Place to hear a DJ
3rd place, Rock club