Though it has been many things over many years – home to alternative rock, jam bands, hip-hop MCs, jazz players, even the odd tribute to a metal band - Nietzsche's is at heart a folk music club.
Famous for being one of the few places in town bands and artists specializing in original music could get a gig on a regular basis, the Allentown establishment also is ground zero for the career of Ani DiFranco, who launched her deeply influential career under the Auspices of the late folk maestro and champion of independent songwriters Michael Meldrum.
Though it might be argued that early, thinly attended gigs by rock bands that went on to be famous in a major way – the Tragically Hip and Phish among them – are Nietzsche's true claim to fame, folk music remains the club's bread and butter.
It's fitting, then, that musician and Nietzsche's talent booker Ellen Pieroni is reprising last year's maiden voyage of the Nietzsche's Folk Festival, which will find some 30 artists performing on the club's twin stages across four evenings, beginning Nov. 8.
Pieroni, who is a jazz saxophonist and member of the rustic ensemble Folkfaces, mirrored her efforts with the Nietzsche's Jazz festival last year by expanding the Folk Fest, booking a wider variety of acts, and grabbing a big-name headliner for Nov. 11, pre-punk/alternative folk legend Jonathan Richman.
You can find a full lineup here.