THE HOT AMP: New Music Venue Adds Sizzle to Surrey’s Summer Schedule

“My biggest goal is to put music and good energy back on this land. It’s been debauchered these last couple years and because of that the community has come to not trust it. It’s seen a lot of in and out and it’s seen a lot of pain. This whole summer is committed to putting very good energy into these grounds.”

The Hot Amp is Surrey’s newest all-ages pop-up music venue. With several shows already set in motion, mastermind Danielle Neilson is looking to add some sizzle to Surrey’s Summer schedule through the means of live music and entertainment. Every two weeks the Hot Amp will feature themed events spanning, but no limited to, speedy punk-rock, groovy metal, and even a burlesque showcase that celebrates the next astrological full-moon. The venue’s opening night featured a ragga-punk vibe with performances by dancehall cover band Joe Dipper and the SnapperWhippers and a nearly two hour performance by Kownterpoint, who stylistically ranges from psychedelia and ska to thrash and punk. This show was put together in collaboration with Hempyz, which specializes in marijuana based gifts and novelties.

“I love variety,” Neilson states. “If people want to come to all of our events they will never experience the same show twice.” The Hot Amp is set up in the main room of the homebase for her company, Centric Culinary, Inc and it’s humble Clayton Bites canteen. As of June 1st, Neilson has taken full responsibility of this Surrey heritage home, located along Fraser Highway, in an effort to clean it up from what she calls a “stigmatized past.”

An artist and musician herself, Neilson had an upbringing in theatrical performance before learning how to play instruments. She is currently a member of the Surrey punk-rock group Dammit Samantha, who will be performing alongside Triple Fisting on Friday, July 13. A savvy businesswoman outside of the entertainment arts, Neilson has also established her own coffee brand, Pina Columbia, in 2014 and incorporated Centric Culinary, Inc. in 2017.

“I have a pretty fast ‘let’s do this let’s do that’ head and it made sense to me to create a company that wouldn’t just do Pina Columbia. Long story short is that I finished some schooling in 2012 and I wanted to continue working in coffee and café. I felt very, very deeply that I was meant to be doing that, so I pursued it,” Neilson explains. “A lot of me, many times through this last year, as I’ve been putting this together, has been feeling like this opportunity has been a big reward for all the work i have been putting in. I felt like i needed to stay in café and I listened to that. Now I feel like this is my next stage of work. I worked to learn how to do it and now I get to try.”

Just outside of the Hot Amp, Neilson has also set up a creekside platform she calls the Crooked Stage. It’s a shaded outdoor area where listeners can lounge to bluesy vibes while sipping and snacking on some delicious straight from the Clayton Bites canteen. The first Crooked Stage performance featured accordionist Ana Bon Bon alongside blues guitarist Dave ‘DD’ Dykhuizen of the Muddy Goats.

Clayton Bites will be open during concert hours, allowing attendees a space to get grab n’go snacks and flavourful drinks you can’t find anywhere else. Tickets for shows are $10 and include your first beverage. Unless it’s a specially permitted event, alcohol will not be allowed on the premises. In an effort to make the Hot Amp a safe-space for all ages, drugs are strictly prohibited.

Enjoy this space and use it. The mission here is to really recover the energy of this land. So if people are interested in an engaged, interactive community that’s super inclusive around here and they wanna have a good time and they wanna have good products come to them and they wanna be taken care of, we’re so happy to be here, but you should be cool too. I think it’s gonna create a great vibe in here. I think everybody will get along and it’s gonna be a really friendly zone.”

To keep up with events and get involved, or if you’d like to perform, follow The Hot Amp on Facebook:

Centric Culinary Inc:

Clayton Bites Menu:

Johnny Papan
Jonathan Nicholas “Johnny” Papan is a Canadian writer, filmmaker, and musician born in Surrey, British Columbia to a Guyanese mother and half-Hungarian, half-Trinidadian father. Aside from film and music, Johnny also enjoys performing standup comedy. His interest in journalism surfaced after watching documentaries on influential writers Nora Ephron and Hunter S. Thompson. -