Famed New York City concert venue and nightclub Webster Hall has announced its first run of shows when it will reopen in the spring. The opening shows have not been announced for April, but other shows in May, through the rest of the year have already been plotted with the likes of MGMT, Real Estate, Broken Social Scene and Built To Spill. Under its new management at AEG and Bowery Presents, there is a strong vibe of Terminal 5 East or South.
Webster Hall closed in August of 2017.
Of the 25 announced acts, none are hip-hop, though they seem to be incorporating more blues, folk and world music. Most of it is rock, synth pop and indie electro like MGMT, Chromeo and Empire of the Sun.
Everything starts at 7 or 8pm, which if you are getting old is fine, but for those who want to stay up, is somewhat disappointing who have experienced those wild late nights at Webster.
In an interview with the New York Times, the new owners laid out the changes the venue has seen. The dark and pretty terrible bathrooms have been replaced. The acoustics have been upgraded and there is an elevator, which should help handicapped people and the very inebriated trying to navigate those treacherous stairs.
The art deco designs are still place, but the Merlin Room has been turned into a “sleek lounge.” The entryway and lounge have been upgraded.
“The vision has always been to maintain the soul, the grit, the history of the venue,” said Brett Yormark, the chief executive of BSE Global. “For fans, they are going to feel like they’re coming home again.”
We will see about that. It may be too early to react to the lineup, but there are some clear signs of what the venue booking will look like going forward. There are no late night gigs so far and it is heavy on indie rock and no hip-hop, punk or metal. Three nights of MGMT and two of Empire of the Sun is good and there is an eclectic taste here, but many will wonder if some of the spirit of Webster is being lost. The gritty, pre-gentrification vibe that made Webster great may be replaced with a lounge. We will see though.