Newly expanded, The Riff starts making some noise

• IMG_7076 upstairs

Here’s the view from the mezzanine, which, when it’s finished, will provide seating for roughly 40 people.

The Riff at Classic Rock Coffee Co. looked somewhat like a grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 6, with three bands on the marquee, a packed parking lot and buzz among the folks inside.

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A dance floor separates the stage from the tables.

The only thing missing was special hoopla. That was lacking because it was one night of an ongoing soft opening. The grand opening will take place later next month.

In any case, Nathan Bryce opened with Testify, his powerhouse three-piece tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan. After that energizing experience, country-rock band Bootleg Riot and classic-rock cover band Innuendo played into the evening.

Noble Bowman of Classic Rock said the company has set high standards for the expanded venue. “We hope to become the music venue of Springfield,” he said. Here are seven reasons how:

Expanding from a capacity of roughly 150 people to nearly 500

Top-flight sound and light systems

Tables and a nook up front

A bar in the back with an area for congregating

Good food

A mezzanine for a different view and space for private parties

Family friendly, kids welcome

In its original setting, the venue had already established a reputation as a great place for listening and performing. However, the space was too small to draw bands with a higher profile.

“The expansion put us in a position to attract some of the biggest bands in Springfield, as well as some regional touring acts or acts touring between large cities, looking for a stop-off for a show,” he said.

“When we designed the venue, we wanted it to be able to fit more people but still have a very comfortable, cozy, intimate feel. Everybody’s going to have good sound,” Bowman said. “We made sure that every seat in the room would have as good sound as any seat in the room.”

More music:

Thursday: Papa Green Shoes

Friday: Troy “The LA Files”

Saturday: Mood Ring Circus and Luna J.

And watch for the monthly performance by The Agreements, the blues and soul band with a big brass profile.

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Behind the tables, a bar runs on one side, and there’s room for mingling.

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