Music Hall of Williamsburg
Bowery Presents, the concert-promotion company that books concerts for Bowery Ballroom, Webster Hall, and other well-known Manhattan concert venues, have now ventured into Brooklyn with the Music Hall of Williamsburg. At one point, the concert space at 66 North Six St. in Williamsburg housed a mayonnaise and salad dressing factory. Most recently, the building was home to the popular neighborhood live-music venue Northsix. In 2006, Bowery Presents took over Northsix, and started renovations on the building. On 6 September 2007, the company reopened the venue under its new title, with music icon Patty Smith and her band performing. Brian Swier, architect for the Music Hall, recently led a guided tour of the building. The new venue will has a capacity of 550 people, making it larger than both the former Northsix as well as Southpaw in Park Slope. Patrons of the Music Hall enter the building by first going through the basement, passing through a cellar/bar area before going back up into the main concert area. “This way, we keep a lot of sound from getting out into the neighborhood,” Swier mentioned. One of the ways Swier expanded the venue, as well as changing the acoustics of the space, was by clearing away some of the original support beams and knocking out much of the flooring above the stage. Now, concertgoers can enjoy their music upstairs (by the upper-level bar) while simultaneously listening to the bands below. Though what’s left of the upper level is directly above the stage, two side mezzanines allow patrons to walk along the upper-level walls and watch the bands playing below. Swier is keeping the exterior wall’s partially whitewashed façade, maintaining what Swier said was the “industrial aesthetic” of the building. Acoustically, the concert hall is shaped like a horn, allowing for better sound quality with less reverberation. Though it’s impossible to create the exact same sound quality in all points of a room, the speakers are curved instead of flat, directing sound both straight ahead of it, as well as above and around it. In the halls first few months, booking agent Josh Moore had already lined up a number of popular indie bands to play at the venue through November, with Against Me!, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Les Savy Fav and Rasputina all scheduled to play at Music Hall of Williamsburg over the next couple of months. Music Hall of Williamsburg is Bowery Presents’ first concert venue in Brooklyn, though the company also runs Mercury Lounge and Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan. Bowery Presents is also in charge of live music booking at Webster Hall, and runs the club when it’s not playing its normal hip-hop, house, or kitschy ’80s fare.