Tuesday night was supposed to be opening night for Bowery Presents’ new Brooklyn venue, The Music Hall of Williamsburg, with Patti Smith performing the event. For a number of reasons, the opening event was postponed. A day later, Against Me headlined the first ever concert at the new venue.
While it was no longer the first ever concert at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, Thursday night’s Patti Smith concert was a proper christening for the place. Patti was in a very conversational mood, beginning the night with a hilarious story about the postponement of the opening and her discovery of the blogger universe. Smith had come across a long discussion thread about the cancellation on BrooklynVegan, and she wanted to clear up all of the rumors circulating, to make it known that it was George Bush’s fault. Patti Smith & Her Band seemed totally relaxed in front of the crowd that contained many longtime friends and fans starting off the music with a cover of Jefferson Airplane classic “White Rabbit.” Smith continued along for another couple hours, telling interesting stories and playing all of the classics from her incredible career. Minutes after professing her love for the opera, Smith dedicated a song to Luciano Pavarotti. CBGB founder Hilly Kristal would later receive his own song dedication. Throughout her energetic performance, Smith made fun of the carpet on the stage—the only real criticism that could be made about the amazing new space.
Bowery Presents seems to have modeled the layout of The Music Hall of Williamsburg after their much-loved L.E.S venue, Bowery Ballroom. Concertgoers enter downstairs, where there is a large bar and lounge, filled with large leather couches. The stage is on the next level up—a room relatively the same size as the Bowery Ballroom. With the stage set high, concert goers on the main floor have great sightlines no matter where they are standing, and the sound is also great, especially towards the back. Like the Bowery Ballroom, there is also a balcony, but this seems to be for VIP’s only. While there’s still plenty of work to be done before it’s the final product that Bowery Presents has planned for, The Music Hall of Williamsburg is an incredible new place to see live music—possibly the best in the city, and definitely the best in Brooklyn. They just need to shorten up the name. We’re taking nominations.
Photos courtesy of Jonny-Leather