Valerie Medieros, a singer in the blues band Sonic Mayhem, which frequently performs at the Van Dyck, said she saw jazz musician Neena Freelon at a recent show there.
"The place was packed, but when she started, you could have heard a pin drop," Medieros said.
"It's a venerable old institution," Medieros said of the venue.
"People may say all sorts of things about Peter, but he knows good music," she added. "I'd call him more of a music fan than a business man."
Olsen said he grew up in Manhattan going to clubs like CBGBs and The Bottom Line, which the Van Dyck is modeled after. Both clubs are closed now.
"Those were two of the greatest rooms in western civilization," Olsen said. "If they can't make it in Manhattan, what chance do the rest of us have?"
Gillen said it is unclear why the Van Dyck is in trouble when it seems as though all other downtown businesses are doing well.
"Downtown's progress continues unabated," Gillen said. "A critical mass is there. Downtown is thriving."
Olsen has multiple explanations for his financial troubles, including the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the smoking ban and the price of gas.
He also said he is trying to create a destination location in a town that is not usually a first-choice destination.
"People flock to Saratoga; they don't wait up and say, 'Let's take a trip to Schenectady.' It's like pushing a big rock up a steep hill." Olsen said.
Olsen said his other problem is the club doesn't have a clear identity, and no one knows what it has to offer, and he admits he needs to advertise more. Olsen said he caters to a wide variety of groups, from Union College students to General Electric bigwigs to the Proctor's crowd.