If you happen upon The Spot on Kirk on any random afternoon, you won’t see much more than a long, narrow room with four walls, some brick, and a small, rectangular black stage. To grasp the beauty of this quaint space, you’ll need to be there when the magic happens.
Six to eight nights a month, The Spot on Kirk comes alive with special acts that visit Roanoke. The formula is simple: An intimate room with great sound where artists put their crafts on full display to an audience of no more than 130 people. Not all great music is suited for bars, and in this venue the fans follow along to every note played and sung.
The music is the catalyst for the magic. An acoustic act like Jim Lauderdale, who played the venue last month, is a fitting example. Lauderdale shared stories and songs from his long repertoire of music that includes 26 studio albums, plus collaborations and recordings with the likes of Patty Loveless, Ralph Stanley, Lee Ann Womack, Buddy Miller and more. In between each song, he kept the audience engaged with quick wit and spirited conversation. At one point in his set, Lauderdale asked for fellow musicians in the room to raise their hands. A few popped up and Lauderdale called one of them, a lucky “Scott from Radford,” to the stage where they performed “The Day the Devil Changed,” a song off Lauderdale’s most recent album, “I’m a Song.” By the end of the three-hour show, the audience was still hanging on every note, and there was little doubt that Lauderdale was only slightly joking when he opened the show with the declaration, “We’re going to have more fun than the law will allow.”