The punk band Alpha Jerk performs at Reclaim Arcade, which recently expanded its offerings to include a live music venue. (Submitted photo)

Reclaim Arcade levels up its live music game

by | May 7, 2024 | ALLFFP, Arts and Entertainment, Music

One of Fredericksburg’s newest live music venues is inconspicuously tucked in the Gateway Shopping Center across from Gold’s Gym near the intersection of Route 3 and Interstate 95.

Reclaim Arcade has been open for three years but only started offering live music on a regular basis over the last year. It has been a gradual process, starting with a limited space next to the retro arcade, which has since expanded into the adjoining building. 

“We finally got this area opened in April of last year and we knew then we wanted to start having some bands,” owner Tim Owens said. “It was kind of a slower start but part of that was what would work with sound treatment and all those things.”

Before the new performance area opened, Reclaim Arcade was hosting karaoke the first Friday of each month. Initially a promotion to celebrate the business’s first anniversary, the positive response sparked the idea for more music events.

“People responded to that, so, in April of the next year we started bringing in some other DJs — no live acts — just starting to dip our toes into having other performers in there,” Owens said. 

So far musical acts have included experimental guitar/DJ duo Wookie Flip and punk bands Trash Rocket, The Goodbye Forevers, and Alpha Jerk. First Friday Karaoke and DJ nights are still a regular feature with themes like ’80s and ’90s music, emo, and goth. 

Upgrading from occasional DJs to live bands required improvements to the performance space. Sound panels and insulation were installed in the ceiling to dampen the echo and stage lighting was added. Elliott Currie (singer and leader of The Blue Tips Rhythm Revue band) was brought in to install and mix a new sound system.

Reclaim Arcade recently installed a new sound system to accommodate live acts. (Submitted photo)

“Elliott goes above and beyond,” Owens said. “We’ve got a bunch of cables, we’ve got mic stands and monitors to try and get as much as we could to say we’re all set. You just show up with your instruments and we’re ready to go.

“He’s even bringing in his own drum set, just have it set up and mic’d up and ready to go when they show up. The feedback’s been great. People like playing here which is cool.”

Local band Alpha Jerk played their first show at Reclaim Arcade last month. Singer/guitarist Larry Hinkle was impressed with the new venue.

“I love that place,” Hinkle said. “I first went to the Trash Rocket/Torino Death Ride show and was blown away by the scene. Punk rock show in an arcade? My inner teenager was in heaven! So far as performing there, it was easy with load in and out. Elliot was on top of dialing in sounds, and the lightshow is super cool. I definitely look forward to playing there again and can’t wait to see another show at Reclaim.” 

The core business at Reclaim Arcade has also expanded with the new space. They offer over 75 pinball and old-school arcade games (think PacMan, Frogger, Galaga, and Paperboy). Skeeball has also been added. Owens was surprised by the number of young kids showing excitement for games made well before they were born. 

“I find with kids a lot of their interest will feed off of their parents,” he said. “If their parents are really excited and are like ‘Oh man you’ve got to play a pinball machine with me’ and they’re playing it together, the kids get excited and really love playing that.”

Improved food offerings also make Reclaim Arcade more of a destination. With the ABC license and ability to sell alcoholic beverages, came a requirement to serve food. To save on the cost of installing a full kitchen, Owens decided to buy a food truck and park it behind the business. Orders are taken at the counter in the arcade, and the food is then shuttled from the truck and the customer picks it up. 

“We have a bi-weekly food special so every two weeks they change it up,” Owens said. “This week is a mushroom swiss burger. It’s just a chance for them to say let’s do something really radically different. One time we did a homemade pimento chicken cheese sandwich with hot honey. It’s just a chance to try out different ideas and things.

“A lot of that is because of my kitchen manager Marcus Simes. He just celebrated two years with us and we brought him on last year as kitchen manager to oversee the whole food operation. He had a lot of great ideas. People like to come here not just for the arcade games, but they’ve tried and liked our burgers and food.”

The next live act scheduled for the Reclaim Arcade is Richmond looping psychedelic guitarist/vocalist GULL with DJ Prosper on Friday.


GULL with DJ Prosper, Reclaim Arcade, 2324 Plank Rd, Fredericksburg, Friday, May 10, $15 includes entry to the arcade and free play on all games.

Subscribe To Daily News Updates

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news from The Free Press

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This