why is cbgbs not up there?
Where the Beat Goes On
Shannon Greer for The New York Times
Jeff Lewis, flanked by Chriss Sutherland and Seth Faergolzia, at Pete’s Candy Store,
one of the many places to see rock music in the post-CBGB era.
By BEN SISARIO
October 27, 2006
CBGB may be gone, but the music isn’t.
When the doors closed 12 days ago at that cavelike, flier-encrusted Bowery temple to rock ’n’ roll, which opened in 1973 and served as the launching pad for countless New York bands — from the Ramones and Talking Heads to Sonic Youth and Living Colour — critics were quick to call it the end of an era. Its demise, brought about by a dispute with its landlord over unpaid rent, seemed to fit a sad and familiar pattern: a scrappy but vibrant rock club was yielding to economic pressure in a heated real estate market.
But CB’s is leaving a rock scene that, despite some high-profile departures, is as healthy as it has been in decades, with new clubs dotting the map from Midtown Manhattan to Greenpoint and Park Slope in Brooklyn. For every Bottom Line or Fez or Continental that has shut down or quit live music in the last couple of years, a Rockwood Music Hall, Union Hall or Studio B has opened up — and maybe a Fontana’s or Club Midway as well. And in the next few months, at least five major spaces are set to open, giving the city’s rock infrastructure its most substantial expansion in years.
“Right now there’s a renaissance of venues in New York,” said Adam Shore, the manager of Vice Records in Brooklyn and a veteran club trawler. “This is a great time. It’s going to be pretty cutthroat for promoters, but it’s great for bands and agents and fans.”
The New York Times
The best, if most exhausting, overview of the city’s rock clubs is the CMJ Music Marathon, the annual conference of hungry young bands and credential-toting music industry people that begins on Tuesday and runs through Nov. 4. In addition to daytime panels and workshops, the marathon this year includes some 1,000 bands playing at more than 50 performance spaces. And those are only the official gigs: to maximize exposure and schmoozing opportunities, ambitious bands often book another three or four shows at late-night parties and afternoon barbecues. (They’re not as exclusive as they sound: wait outside a band’s sold-out show and you’re likely to hear where it’s playing next.)
Though the names of a few clubs disappear from the CMJ calendar each year, new ones always pop up, more often than not in a cleverly reconfigured space — a basement, a backroom, a warehouse — that was never intended for live music. Typical of this is Cake Shop, a narrow storefront that opened 18 months ago on Ludlow Street, the center of the Lower East Side bar zone. Upstairs is a quaint counter where cookies, cupcakes and coffee are sold, and in the back is a small record store. But downstairs is a sweaty, noisy boîte, with a full bar and indie-rock shows almost every night of the week.
“Just when you think there’s nowhere else to do anything,” said Matt McDonald, CMJ’s showcase director, who has booked four nights of music at Cake Shop, “there’s some new place on the Lower East Side.”
They’re not all tiny basements, either. Some of the clubs new to CMJ this year include Fontana’s, a surprisingly cavernous room on Eldridge Street that opened last December with a full roster of — what else? — indie rock; Studio B, a disco-ball-and-smoke-machines former Polish nightclub in Greenpoint that opened in July and quickly established itself as one of the city’s premier dance and D.J. spaces; Union Hall, a Park Slope bar with a tweedy library décor and, somewhat incongruously, bocce ball courts upstairs, as well as a comfortable band area in the basement; and Rebel, a new 325-capacity club on West 30th Street in Manhattan with bare stone walls and a powerful sound system that will make it a home for big, bad rock.
Rebel, which opened three weeks ago with a show by the avant-metal band Isis, is also one move in a developing chess game between the city’s two competing club empires: the giant promoter Live Nation and the owners of the Mercury Lounge on Houston Street and the Bowery Ballroom on Delancey.
Two years ago the Mercury-Bowery group created a new company, The Bowery Presents, to present concerts at bigger spaces, including Webster Hall in the East Village, one of the biggest clubs in the city, and established a vertical-integration booking model: bands can be sent up the chain, from the 250-capacity Mercury to the 575-person Bowery to Webster Hall, at 1,400. To match this system and compete for acts, Live Nation — which operates Irving Plaza and Roseland in Manhattan — plans to book shows at Rebel and two other new, smallish clubs.
Besides Rebel, which is at the site formerly occupied by a musky dive called Downtime but greatly enlarged and reconfigured, Live Nation also plans to start presenting concerts in January at the former Gramercy Theater on East 23rd Street, which will hold about 600. It will also have a hand in booking the new Luna Lounge, reopening by the end of the year in Williamsburg at 300 to 350 capacity, more than double its former size on Ludlow Street, where it closed last year.
“We also want to say that we want to develop artists at that size,” said Sam Kinken, who books shows throughout New York for Live Nation.
To develop the Gramercy into a rock hall, Live Nation is removing the seats on the floor, redesigning the downstairs to accommodate three dressing rooms and a large bar area and converting the projection room into a studio for audio and video recording, Mr. Kinken said on a tour of the theater this week.
The Mercury-Bowery organization is also expanding. Its owners have acquired the lease for Northsix, a sizable club in Williamsburg that was a pioneer in the area when it opened in 2001. It will be renovated, with upstairs balconies added, and is to open in the spring as the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
“We want to treat it as a special little gem, as we do the Bowery Ballroom,” said Michael Swier, one of the owners.
Another new Lower East Side club on the horizon is the Box, a 5,000-square-foot room on Christie Street whose owner, Simon Hammerstein — a grandson of Oscar — said he intended to open in the next two months with theater and music performances. Booking agents say it will be a likely competitor to Joe’s Pub, the stylish cabaret at the Public Theater.
Joe Fornabaio for The New York Times
A typical suggestion from a bar’s management.
There are no reliable statistics about the flux of the quantity of clubs over the years, but in general the ashes-to-ashes principle applies: when one closes, another opens. The biggest growth area is Brooklyn, which had few major clubs before Northsix planted its stake. Since then it has developed into a world that almost rivals Manhattan, with enough spaces — from tiny rooms like Pete’s Candy Store and Barbès to roomier places like Southpaw and Galapagos Art Space — to accommodate a range of acts and audiences.
One promoter, Todd Patrick, a k a Todd P., has built a devoted underground following by mostly avoiding the clubs and putting on must-see shows in galleries, warehouses and vacant lots.
“People always move to New York and say, ‘I wish I had been there for something like CB’s was in 1976, or the Factory in ’66, or whatever,’ ” he said. “I hope that what I do is a part of something like that as well — that the people and the places I work with now make a scene that people will look back on in 20 years and wish they had been part of.”
Location counts. When Rob Sacher, an owner of the Luna Lounge, was considering where to move, he read the surveys his customers had filled out at his old Lower East Side club.
“Seventy percent of them lived in Williamsburg,” he said. “And I just thought, ‘Why am I swimming upstream?’ Seventy percent of the market is already in a neighborhood that I can afford.”
Bands on the Marathon Run
By BEN SISARIO
About 1,000 bands will be playing at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon, which begins Tuesday, most of them hoping that their shows will entice the hype network of bloggers, journalists, record labels, radio stations and fans. Here are some groups lucky enough to have attracted that attention even before they arrive.
Information and full schedule: cmj.com.
LUMINESCENT ORCHESTRII, Mo Pitkin’s. Rock tinged with traditional Eastern European and Gypsy music has been one of the most fruitful trends among New York bands in ages, and this is one of the most ambitious.
THE KNIFE, Webster Hall. It’s the year of Scandinavian retro electronica: This Swedish group, making its New York debut, plays bouncy, minimalist synthesizer grooves with slightly creepy, Bjorkesque vocals.
GIRL TALK, FIGURINES, MOBIUS BAND, Mercury Lounge. Girl Talk is a Philadelphia musician named Gregg Gillis who makes short-attention-span dance-pop by stitching together brief samples from hit songs. Figurines, from Copenhagen, plays meat-and-potatoes alt-rock in the Modest Mouse vein, and Mobius Band, from New York, links lattices of guitar with wistful vocals and electronics.
SHINS, Bowery Ballroom. Every CMJ marathon needs at least one band to return as an example of the success that a struggling band can aspire to. The Shins, who conquered indiedom a few years ago with reflective, semiacoustic rhapsodies, fulfills that role with a preview of their third album.
120 DAYS, Sin-é. The other big electro-pop arrival from Scandinavia is this Norwegian group, which adds a sexy rock ’n’ roll thrust to the perpetual-motion techno of Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder.
ALBERT HAMMOND JR., TOKYO POLICE CLUB, CLOUD CULT, Mercury Lounge. Mr. Hammond, one of the guitarists in the Strokes, plays from his recent solo album. The Canadian band Tokyo Police Club has a rowdy, scrappy take on the Strokes’ style, and bloggers have approved. Cloud Cult, from Minneapolis, is known as much for its Shins-like songs as for environmentally conscious efforts like reusing CD jewel cases.
THE CLIPSE, Knitting Factory. This Virginia rap duo, which disappeared into the underground after scoring two Top 40 hits four years ago, returns with a long-awaited new album.
Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
why is cbgbs not up there?
We were in NY in february and were fortunate enough to see one of my favourite bands Black rebel motorcycle club at the Webster hall,this place is a fantastic, eerie venue,it's all cobwebs and dark corners,wonderfull!!!The toilets are worth a visit in themselves,a disco in one corner,ice in the pee stalls and up-lighters in the sit downs,surreal.The only downside was I got ID'd,46 years old and ID'd!!!!No ID on me made it tricky but the huge bouncer on the door took pity when I broke down and cried and explained i'd flown all the way from England for this,and showed him my visa card as well!!Fantastic venue,well worth a visit!
Bowerys or the Mercury ha .. those look interesting what do you guys think Im into good old school Rock
My Morning Jacket
Up until the Dolan's bought it, the Beacon Theater was a great place for Rock concerts. Town Hall is another venue with excellent acoustics to see a rock show, when they book them which is sporadically. I did see Wilco there.
Rock Meccas of NYC: What Are They Now?
New York's Landmark Rock and Roll Clubs
by Frank Mastropolo
In the 1960s, New York City was the center of the recording industry and home to a wealth of small clubs and theaters that hosted the cream of rock music. Fans could catch bands on their way up at smaller venues with moderate ticket prices.
But 1969’s Woodstock festival changed the industry and superstars began to demand huge fees to appear. Small venues could no longer compete with huge arenas and stadiums for name acts. In a 1971 letter, promoter Bill Graham explained that he would close both Fillmore East and West because of “the unreasonable and totally destructive inflation of the live concert scene.”
“I continue to deplore the exploitation of the gigantic-hall concerts, many of them with high-priced tickets… it turned into the music industry of festivals, 20,000-seat halls, miserable production quality, and second-rate promoters.”
Most of the rock venues of the ‘60s and early ‘70s are now gone; some demolished, others occupied by businesses that could afford New York’s rocketing rents. Rock Cellar Magazine visited 10 of the sites where so much memorable music was performed to see what they’ve become.
[All Recent Photographs are by Frank Mastropolo]
Trude Heller’s started as a swinging Greenwich Village discotheque in the early ‘60s; go-go dancers lined the walls as glitterati like Salvador Dali, George Hamilton and First Daughter Lynda Bird Johnson frugged on the dance floor. Run by tough-as-nails entrepreneur Trude Heller, rockers like Duane and Gregg Allman, Cyndi Lauper and Peter Criss of KISS got their starts here; headliners included Otis Redding, Ben E. King and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. By the late ‘70s the disco craze fizzled and the hot spot shuttered.
Today Lenny’s, the popular NYC sandwich chain, has taken over the site on the corner of 9th St. and Avenue of the Americas.
Photo: Frank Mastropolo/Rock Cellar
Full article at Rock Cellar Magazine
Well.... it also was a microbrew and a deli before Lenny's......
Well.... there was a lot more to the article than just Lenny's .
One hundred years. Wow.
NY's Roseland Ballroom to close after nearly 100 years
4 hrs ago
Another one of New York City's rock institutions will soon be just a memory. According to a report by Billboard magazine, Roseland Ballroom will be closing its doors in April, nearly 100 years after its 1919 opening. True to its name, the venue was originally used as a place for high-society ballroom dancing, but soon gave way to the jazz and big band performances in the '20s and '30s. The original space was torn down and the business moved in 1956 to its current location, where it hosted performances by likes of Madonna, Radiohead and Nirvana. As was the case with CBGB's, many fans will be sad to see a classic New York venue close up shop.
Good. We need another Duane Reede.
I knew it was inevitable. The owner filed permits for a 42 story residential tower for the site back in '96.
Commemorating a Favorite Concert Hall, the Fillmore East
GVSHP will officially unveil a new historic plaque at the former Fillmore East at 105 Second Avenue on Wednesday, October 29 at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but we appreciate reservations at email@example.com.
Crowd for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young tickets. All photos courtesy of photographer Amalie R. Rothschild.
About the place
I first learned the name “Fillmore” from Grateful Dead bootleg tapes, which, among other things, provided a survey of America’s rock venues: Winterland, Red Rocks, the Spectrum, Watkins Glen, the Cow Palace, Hampton Coliseum, and so on. This made it exciting to actually encounter one of those places, as I did one night when my college friends and I drove through the foggy Virginia hills to hear the Jerry Garcia Band at the very same “Hampton Coliseum” that I’d penned onto so many cassette jackets.
And so it is with Fillmore: a storied auditorium that, it turns out, once stood in our very own East Village – just down Second Avenue, at East 6th Street. The Fillmore East! Absolutely everyone played there, as you can see from this list. And practically everyone in the neighborhood (of concert-going age in the late ‘60s) will tell you they went there, too. The genius promoter Bill Graham – who came to America alone as a child, a German orphan refugee from the Holocaust who grew up to shape the popular music business – opened it as a companion to his Fillmore Auditorium, later renamed Fillmore West, in San Francisco. Graham supported social causes, befriended musicians, booked the stars, and believed in up-and-comers who became stars. He gave away apples and Hershey’s kisses and created a place that felt as good as it sounded. (See Jane Bernstein’s memories here and more of Amalie Rothschild’s photos here. The Local East Village also has performers’ memories here.)
At a Grateful Dead show.
Perhaps the building itself gave Graham a head start: It was built to entertain. It opened its doors in 1926 as a Yiddish theater, one of many that lined Second Avenue, the “Yiddish Rialto.” Shortly after, it became the Loew’s Commodore movie house, eventually morphing into the Village Theater, which offered a variety of movies and live acts, including some in Yiddish. From March 1968 through June 1971, it was the Fillmore East. Then it sat dark for a time, becoming The Saint in the 1980s: first a concert hall, then a gay nightclub that came to define the fabulousness of gay nightclubs. In 1995, Emigrant Bank bought and occupied the building. In 2013, Apple Bank rented it from Emigrant. Apple Branch Manager Krystyna Szabunka, who grew up and lives in the East Village, is excited to commemorate the building’s past. She’s proud of the collages and photos in the bank’s lobby that tell its story.
About the plaque
For a few years now, GVSHP has been putting up plaques in Greenwich Village and the East Village to commemorate both well-known and lesser-known locations, such as the radical saloon of Justus Schwab and the home of poet Frank O’Hara. Our partner and financial supporter is E.V. pizza parlor Two Boots and its generous owner, Phil Hartman.
What you don’t realize when you walk by a building with a plaque on it is how much has actually gone on in the background. Plaque-placers like us know that the building owner must be located and communicated with: an insurmountable obstacle all by itself in some cases, which can stop a project in its tracks. In this case, after a number of letters, phone calls, e-mails and a visit to the c-suite of Emigrant Bank in Midtown, we received permission from Emigrant Chairman Howard Milstein to place a plaque on the facade of the building. We further established that the tenant, Apple Bank, was quite enthusiastic. Then it became a question of whether the Landmarks Preservation Commission would also give permission, as 105 Second Avenue falls within the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District — but it did, issuing a permit stating that in regard to this “Medieval Revival style theater building … the Commission determines the proposed work to be appropriate to the building and the historic district.”
We had already drafted and re-drafted language, and received Mr. Milstein’s edits. We had measured the wall in question and done the layout. We placed an order with our plaque fabricator.
That’s why we had to laugh when we read in the New Yorker that when actor Daniel Radcliffe, who played Allen Ginsberg in the film “Kill Your Darlings,” walked by Ginsberg’s longtime apartment building at 437 East 12th Street, he questioned why there wasn’t a plaque there. Ha! That’s easy. It’s because the ground-level facade is all glass.
About the present
Lest commemorating the Fillmore East make us in turns nostalgic, and mopey about today, let’s take a moment to view the present through the affectionate lens that we more often use for the past. After all, there’s still plenty of great music in the neighborhood. In 43 years – the same span that’s passed since the Fillmore’s closing – we likely will look back fondly on today’s opportunities. Remember how Webster Hall was packed with bands and fans every night? Remember walking by the roadies loading in, musicians chatting on the steps, and the kids waiting in line for tickets? Remember the ridiculous dance parties there?
Remember the exuberant global funk and spirit of Nublu on Avenue C? Or the basic black box of The Stone, on the corner of C and Second, that would host spare jazz paired with spoken word and live painting one night, and a sweaty rocking reggae band the next? No? What about romantic nights accompanied by le jazz hot at Jules, or around the piano at Rue B? Do you remember the crazy profusion of offerings at Drom … or those hootenannies at Mona’s?
Ah, the teens of the twenty-first century, those were the days, back in the East Village. They oughta have a plaque.
God, I wanted to go there after hearing the Allman Bros album but I was too young (yes even me). What a great place that must have been.