By Sarah Gianelli EBS Associate Editor

BIG SKY – When Big Sky’s Lotus Pad moved to 47 Town Center Ave., not only did they get an upgrade in terms of chic ambience, but they also more than doubled their square footage. So why not turn that added floor space into a dance floor one night a week?

Since the end of June, Lotus Pad has been hosting weekly live music under the catchy event name “Rock the Wok.” The shows begin between 10 and 10:30 p.m. every Thursday following the Music in the Mountains concert in Town Center Park. A different act is featured each week.

“When the Lotus Pad moved into the new, larger space in January, we knew that hosting band nights was going to be a priority for the summer,” said manager Cara Lindeman, who has experience in event planning and is spearheading the restaurant’s events and promotions. 

“Plus I love live music!” she said.  

Deciding to host weekly live music was inspired by the success and popularity of the band nights at the old Bluebird Cafe, a one-time local hot spot once owned by Lotus Pad owner Alex Omania.

“Alex and I wanted to do it again now that the Lotus Pad has more space and dancing room,” Lindeman said. “So far, the community has been very receptive with great turn outs and lots of dancing.” 

The bands featured are mostly regional acts representing a wide range of musical genres from funk to reggae to garage rock. But Lindeman said they all have one thing in common: their music is upbeat and danceable. 

There are still five more opportunities to “Rock the Wok” before the series concludes on Aug. 31. On July 27, Hogan and Moss, a folk-punk band from Texas will keep the energy flowing with original songs that weave together old Delta soul, gypsy swing and gospel blues and are delivered with passion, speed and drive.

On Aug. 3, Bozeman funk and reggae outfit Left on Tenth will play, and on Aug. 10, The Salamanders, a garage country rock band, also from Bozeman, take the stage.

Aug. 17 brings In Walks Bud, an area reggae-rock band; Swamp Dawgs heat things up with their southern soul and New Orleans-style funk on Aug. 24; and closing out the series on Aug. 31 is King Ropes with their brand of psychedelic hard-country roots rock. 

Lindeman said she’s been excited for every band but there is one group she’s been particularly looking forward to.

“They’re all so different,” Lindeman said. “Each week is a fresh sound. But if I had to pick one in particular, it would be The Salamanders—I’ve wanted to see them for a long time.”

Visit lotuspadbigsky.com for more information.