The pandemic and resulting lockdown hit Tyler Anne Stevens and husband John Stevens really hard.
“The pandemic really had me dig into the ground, let’s say,” Tyler said. “Like a cicada, we dig out of the ground, and we rebirth.”
From the down times, the couple recently opened a new independent music venue. The Cicada is located in the former home of MASS near South Main Village on the Near Southside.
“My stepdad is French,” Tyler said, “and the cicada is a good-luck charm in Provence, and it’s important to me to honor him. The cicada is the sound of Texas, the sound of hot and summer, and it indicates that we’re loud.”
While excited for the future, the co-owners are still grieving their former project. The Tin Panther on the edge of downtown closed in 2020. The Stevenses pay homage to the place with Tin Panther memorabilia hanging throughout The Cicada.
But there’s way more to the new venture than that. There’s a reconstructed stage, a goldleaf bar, and a dart room that the co-owners say is really important to their family.
“It’s been the legacy of us working in a bar, and I spent a lot of time at a bar when I was growing up as a kid,” said John, a bartender of more than 20 years. “This is what we do, this is what we’ve done forever, this is what we know.”
The co-owners started remodeling in October and have been handling everything since opening in March, from booking shows to cleaning up after them. The Me-Thinks, Ruff Wizard, The Grae, Slothfist, and Prof. Fuzz 63 are just some of the bands that have graced the Cicada stage, and Holy Moly, Tommy Luke’s open-mic, and Guthrie Kennard’s songswap on Thursdays are on the schedule.
“We hope to provide a room for up-and-comers and well-established bands,” Tyler said. “The Cicada can be a place to see a band for its very first show or its 300th. Of course, we’re striving to bring Fort Worth the best from both worlds. Finding new great bands is a magical thing. It’s just as magical as watching a band that has been rocking for 20 years together. Music is a magical thing that brings all types together. I think that is what we and other Fort Worth venues want to do most of all: bring people together.”
The co-owners say they’re looking to build something for the community to call their own.
“It’s what our kids know as well,” Tyler said. “We want something to create for them so that when [John and I] retire, maybe they can take over. It’s all about family.”
The Cicada is booked through the summer, and there are nightly open-mics and other acts, including comedy and a burlesque show every first Friday. The bar staff are also working on signature craft cocktails.
“Our bartenders are great at making a delicious cocktail,” Tyler said. “Not having a long menu gives you the chance to talk to your bartender and your bartender get to talk with you and what you like. You’re more guaranteed to have a cocktail that suits you without ordering something with a funny name.”
The Cicada has five beers on tap with seasonal beers and ciders cycling through.
Online feedback indicates the sound has been great, courtesy of soundguy Clay Anderson.
“Everyone has made so many compliments about how well it sounds,” Tyler said, “and we look forward to bringing better and better shows.”
1002 S Main St, FW. TheCicadaFortWorth@gmail.com.