Phish A/C!!!

Atlantic City Council approves four outdoor music festivals for Bader Field, with Phish, Kenny Chesney, Metallica

By EMILY PREVITI Staff Writer | Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2012 1:30 am

ATLANTIC CITY — Four multiday music festivals have been approved by City Council for Bader Field this year.

Press of Atlantic City columnist Pinky Kravitz reports in today’s Region section that headliners for the festivals will include Phish, Kenny Chesney and Metallica.

Ken MacDonald, Starr Hill Presents’ director of venue development, however said on Wednesday that “no one on the planet” could confirm headliners at this point.  Doing so now also would not adhere to the company’s marketing and advertising timelines, he said.

MacDonald spoke just before Atlantic City Council voted unanimously to allow Starr Hill to book Bader Field on Sept. 22 and 23, and Sept. 29 and 30.

Council’s approval applied to the contract between the city and promoter for those events and others slated for June 15 to 17 and June 24 and 25. The June weekends had been approved by City Council on Dec. 3.

But two weeks later, council members got a peek at the contract expected to cover all four dates. Some council members objected to cost and box office revenue-sharing formulas proposed by Starr Hill for using the 142-acre former municipal airport, which is still owned by the city.

They also worried that the events might obstruct scheduling other shows at Bader Field during the summer months because the setup and breakdown of stages, vendor tents and other equipment is so extensive.

Starr Hill’s pledge since then to make a donation in an undisclosed amount to an undetermined charity sealed the deal, Councilman Frank Gilliam said.

Gilliam said Wednesday everything else remains unchanged:  Starr Hill will pay the city $80,000 per day: a $30,000 rental fee and $50,000 to cover costs to pay the extra police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and other staff needed to handle crowds at the events.

Gilliam’s big issue was with the ticket sales arrangement. He wanted $1 for every ticket sold to concerts at Bader Field during the upcoming summer to go to the city.

The city will instead get $1 for every ticket sold above 20,000, the low end of the estimated actual attendance last year on each day of the Dave Matthews Band Caravan.

Bordered by the bay and the Black Horse Pike in the Chelsea Heights section of the resort, the tract hosted one of four DMB Caravan stops last summer. The event drew more than 72,000 fans and put the venue on the entertainment map.

Combined, the events slated for the four weekends during 2012 are expected to bring $191 million to the local economy, Mayor Lorenzo Langford said during his official State of the City address Wednesday.

He also said the field will host a multicultural festival June 1 to 3, plus its second seafood event in September.

The city also hopes to let music fans camp out this summer — something that was scrapped last year without much consideration because Bader Field doesn’t have adequate access to water for drinking, bathing or bathrooms.

That could change during the coming months, officials said Wednesday.

“We’ll look into any request they want us to, but that’s up to the (deputy police) chief and the mayor,” said Tom Foley, the city’s emergency management coordinator. “There’s talk of putting a water system out there this year. There’s also talk of fireworks. There’s all kinds of things we’re working on because of all the events we want to have there.”

Water main extensions would provide hookups for temporary facilities — not permanent structures, Foley said.

The Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority said it could come up with cost estimates for extending water service from the existing main on Albany Avenue once the city and promoter decide where they want the camping area, said MUA Executive Director Neil Goldfine.

Contact Emily Previti:


By oliverjamreview Posted in News

A Lil More Peter Schapiro for ya..

Peter Shapiro has been a linchpin of the East Coast live-music scene since 1996, when he purchased Manhattan’s Wetlands Preserve from Larry Bloch. He began producing the Jammy Awards in 2000 and in May led a group of investors in relaunching Relix magazine. During the past few years he produced the films U2 3D,Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub, and the HBO live presentation, “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.” He’s also been on HeadCount’s board of directors since its inception.

One of our favorite enlightened entrepreneurs, Pete discusses his most recent project, Brooklyn Bowl, which opened this summer in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.

Richard Gehr: How did you get into the club business?

Peter Shapiro: I was a film student at Northwestern University, where I made two films about Deadhead culture. I directed A Mile to Go and produced Tie-Dyed. Then during the summer of ’95 I made a film called American Road, where I went to every state country and made a 7 minute film of imagery from my road trip with Phish’s “You Enjoy Myself” as the soundtrack. After I graduated, I became an intern at New Line Cinema.

Then I heard that Wetlands was for sale and that the owner was going to close the club unless he could find someone who would continue the club’s mission. I was 23 and knew nothing about clubs, nothing about the live-music business. But I was interested in being involved with Wetlands. I didn’t have the money, really, or the background, but I raised my hand. Larry structured the deal so I could pay him over time. That was in 1996. I was a little idealistic and naïve. He was looking for someone who was single because his family life was destroyed by the club. I had a background with the Dead, had spent time with [writer Ken] Kesey, I was from New York, I had been on tour, knew some things about music, had my shit on pretty straight, and I was dumb or smart enough to say to him, “What’s the rent? It’s a world-famous rock club, let’s see if we can make it work.” I was single, living in a small one-bedroom apartment, and I didn’t need much of a profit because I was so young. And there wasn’t much. And that’s why it worked for me. Also, the lease was only for seven years. They weren’t going to renew the lease, they were going to sell the building for condos after that, so the big players didn’t want to get involved. I said, “Let’s go, where do I sign up?”

RG: I imagine your decision to start Brooklyn Bowl was a little less spontaneous.

PS: I was involved in another club called the Slipper Room, but it wasn’t the same as having your own place and doing live music, so I wanted to come back and do it again. I looked fores in the city, and I did it without an agent. I found this space in Brooklyn with my partner Charley Ryan. We were just walking around Williamsburg several years ago and just walked in. It was a huge barn, no electricity, barely any plumbing. We just said, “This is it.” You don’t often find barns like that, even in the outer boroughs.

RG: How would you say Brooklyn Bowl is an extension and evolution of Wetlands?

PS: The original Wetlands was not ideal. This building was designed by someone – me – who was excited about building stuff from scratch. One of the things I like best about Brooklyn Bowl is that it has the energy and feel of Wetlands. There’s a lot of wood and brick, a lot of warmth. But it’s very unlike wetlands in that it’s huge. The ceiling is 33 feet high, the sight lines are perfect, everything’s brand new, and it’s LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certified green.

RG: What have you done to green up Brooklyn Bowl?

PS: LEED sets pretty specific guidelines. It’s one thing to adhere to them with a brand-new building, but it’s difficult when your updating all the electricity, plumbing, flooring, lighting, and air conditioning. All the electronics equipment has to be Energy Star rated. We’re 100% wind-powered. We’ve put in a lot of natural light, sensors turn the lights off when there’s daylight in the place. The sinks and toilets are al all low-flow. The stage is made of recycled tires. We’re not selling any bottled beers. We’ve installed bike slots. We use local labor. We use recycled materials in our furniture. It’s very significant stuff. It’s not easy, but we’ll save in the long term.

RG: How did you become involved with HeadCount?

PS: I’ve been involved with HeadCount from the beginning. As the guy who owned Wetlands and did Jammys, you meet a lot of people in the live-music scene. And I grew up in that scene with Andy Bernstein and Marc Brownstein. I like to think that I’m pretty politically activity, so I was onboard from the beginning.

By oliverjamreview Posted in News

A Bowling Dream Come True..

Peter Shapiro, Brooklyn Bowl

031610Peterandkids.jpgIt’s been almost a year since Peter Shapiro, the jamband impresario who formerly operated the beloved progressive nightclub Wetlands during its final years, opened Brooklyn Bowl, an audaciously massive concert, bowling, and dining venue in an old Williamsburg warehouse. Shapiro and his partner Charley Ryan sunk millions into the LEED-certified project, which brings together live music and bowling under one roof, often simultaneously. Visiting Brooklyn Bowl on any given night gives the impression that their gamble paid off; the lanes are packed; the menu, by Blue Ribbon, is comfort-food gold; and most bands seem delighted by the bifurcated space, which provides them with a dancing, general admission crowd at their feet and 16 lanes of bowling off stage left. (The sound is also stellar.)

Tomorrow, Brooklyn Bowl will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a rare screening of U23D, filling the stage with a 22-foot screen for four screenings throughout the day. The 3D concert film, which Shapiro produced, will be broadcast with a Dolby CP2000 XB industrial projector, the same technology used to screen Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, etc. And the film’s original sound engineer, Carl Glanville, will be on hand for sound check to ensure that the sound system is tweaked just right. Admission is free; the glasses cost $5, and bowling will be free all day. Check the Brooklyn Bowl website for more details.

In 2001, Wetlands closed. Fast-forward eight years later, you open Brooklyn Bowl. What led you from running a sort of progressive left-wing concert clubhouse to opening this massive bowling alley-restaurant-rock venue? Yeah, that’s a good question, dude. Started off strong. Wetlands was a pretty unique place, but I wanted to do another venue. There are a lot of great venues out there—Music Hall [of Williamsburg], Gramercy Theater, but they’re all basically at the end of the day a box, with a strange cross with a bar. And I looked at maybe doing another Wetlands, but I realized you couldn’t really recreate Wetlands; it was a pretty unique space and place. But I wanted to do another venue, so I wanted to do it a little differently. Working in partnership with the former general manager of Wetlands, Charley Ryan, we looked everywhere in Manhattan, then searched Brooklyn. We walked around on our own; we didn’t use a broker. We were walking the streets of Williamsburg and we walked by 61 Wythe Avenue and walked inside, and that was instant: This building was amazing. You don’t find buildings like this, they don’t exist in Manhattan.

What was it originally? It was an iron works foundry from the 1880s, being used as a warehouse that basically had almost no electricity, no plumbing, no air conditioning, none of that stuff. The walls were falling in, the roof was caving in, leaking. So we rehabbed the building, spent a lot of time and money over a couple years, multiple millions of dollars were put into that place to bring it to what’s there today. But it was driven a lot by that building and that space. We looked throughout Williamsburg and other areas in Brooklyn and Manhattan and we didn’t see anything like it. So the idea of the venue and the bowling and the restaurant was to create a live music venue that had a different approach.

Have you heard any criticism from progressives or hippies, or whatever you want to call them, who lament it doesn’t have the same political agenda as Wetlands? Well, I would say this about the Wetlands “green” ethos. Brooklyn Bowl is the first LEED certified bowling alley in the world. Wetlands was a great place and had a lot of activism, but it was far from a green building. We spent a lot of time and money making this place LEED certified. When you see a LEED certified building, they’re typically new structures, so new office buildings or new residential buildings. Take a 130-year-old warehouse and do a conversion and have it be LEED certified… I don’t think there’s another 130-year-old warehouse that’s been converted to public assembly that’s LEED certified anywhere.

I think a lot of people recognize that there was a lot of time and money put into that. We don’t serve bottled beer. We only serve beer from Brooklyn breweries. A lot of bike racks outside. We do things, we try to really do a lot of things, a lot of the skilled labor we used, and furniture and all that was made locally in Brooklyn. So, that part of the building is more progressive than Wetlands was. But it’s a different place, Bowl vs. Wetlands in terms of the political side. We’re still doing a lot of events with organizations we’re aligned with, but it’s a different place; it’s not Wetlands. I think it has a lot of the spirit of Wetlands in it, but it’s a different place.


Katie Sokoler/Gothamist


What inspired the design? The building. When we walked in the building, that inspired a lot. We worked with an interior designer, Tristam Steinberg, out of L.A. He helped us with a lot of choices, a lot of the design aesthetics, then Charley and I laid out a lot of it ourselves; we knew what we wanted. And that was the big sort of gamble, everyone thought, “It’s a bowling alley with a music end? That’s not going to work, the bowling will be too loud.” Anyone who has seen a show at Brooklyn Bowl knows that we were right: we hoped the sound of the PA system would overcome and overwhelm the sound of the lanes, and it does. And we’re having bands; you’ve seen the list of bands who have played there, from O’Death to James Murphy, to Citizen Cope, to The Roots, to Soulive tonight and Vernon Reid. We made the stage; the stage is bigger than Irving Plaza, it’s 35-feet wide.

So that was a conscious attempt to let the bands know they were a priority, because we were aware that a band coming into this place, we didn’t want them to go, “We’re playing a fucking a bowling alley.” We wanted them to know this is a venue first, but there’s bowling there. You know, if you’re a band you’re on tour doing 30 dates, you play a room, and you have to soundcheck, then you go into a dungeon room underneath the stage in the basement usually, and they give you a sandwich, some vegetable tray. Brooklyn Bowl, after soundcheck, you get to go to lane one, bowl and eat Blue Ribbons and be waited on by a real waiter. We try to treat the bands, and I think we have, in a way they don’t typically get treated. That’s why Soulive is doing ten nights.

Have you gotten to bowl with any of the artists who have come through? Yeah. I’m usually just busy running around, so I don’t get to bowl that much. The irony is that when I’m there, you know it’s a big space, I like to make sure the staff feels good, patrons feel good. The problem with bowling is once you get into a game you can’t really take off, because they need you there, so it’s a hard thing to do, to be bowling and watch the club. But we’ve had some cool people, whether they’re musicians or celeb-types, just cool people, who I think appreciate that it’s a different kind of place you don’t get to see a lot.

What celebrities? If I told you that, they might not feel as comfortable coming here. But I think it’s also a place where your cool time is Saturday, because early you can bring kids in before 6, and there’s a whole scene of kids running around. A lot of people ask, “Why don’t you do kids bands?” We haven’t really been doing that, because I think it’s cooler to have kids running around listening to The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.

But one Saturday you had The McLovins? Yeah, that’s right, an afternoon show. So usually we do Saturday, on the screens is Planet Earth with some sports, with some Zeppelin playing, with some kids running around, and then later we put a DJ on, and then bands are usually soundchecking, we’ll do the show. Then like, Friday night after Soulive, Q-Tip’s gonna play, this Friday night. It’s just been pretty exciting to see ?uestlove doing a residency there, Soulive doing the residency. We have the ability to be a little flexible; like with the Super Bowl, we had the ability to book Galactic to play after the Super Bowl, because we’re doing things like bowling and food and other things and we can take that risk, “What if the Saints lose the game?” That wouldn’t have been too good, but we can take that risk where maybe a traditional venue can’t really do that. The Bowery [Ballroom] probably wouldn’t be an ideal place to watch the Super Bowl. But Brooklyn Bowl does work, everyone came, and if they had lost, they lost, at least we had those people there for the game, but they won, so to go from the game to a Galactic show, it was probably one of the most prominent bands in New Orleans playing the room 15 minutes after the game was over. That’s a cool thing to be able to do.

It’s my understanding you weren’t originally going to have league nights. Did that change? Yes, that’s right. When you do something like this, you have to get used to calling audibles, changing, so it just became clear we should have a league night, so we’re doing league night. You know what I mean, simple as that.


Katie Sokoler/Gothamist


The pins are on strings at Brooklyn Bowl, and a buddy of mine, who’s in a bowling league, doesn’t think there’s enough “pin action.” Do you hear anything from the league people about pin action? Not really. We believe it’s not. If you’re a good bowler, you can ask good bowlers, the pin action is the same. Compare it to somewhere else. It’s part of two things: LEED certification—those machines use one-quarter of the energy. And they’re also much quieter, there’s no mechanics in them. People ask, how do bands play? In a real bowling alley, all that mechanical has a lot of low-end noise. When they’re churning, there’s a lot of bottom noise. And we wanted it to be quiet, and that was a priority of the place, because we were going to be doing shows every night, and to be energy efficient, and they were the most advanced things there are. But listen, the league nights are sold out, full, everyone loves them, and we’re going to re-up them and they’ll be full again, so we find people enjoy it. It’s interesting to see people’s response, their gut reaction may be “Oh my gosh, strings?” But when you really bowl on them for awhile, you can see the pin action is the same. We could get you on the phone with a former pro who says it’s the same.

I heard this was something that came from Japan. I think it is. It definitely is a new technology, but I couldn’t tell you the details of the industry. I’d be bullshitting you, I don’t know. I do know it’s a new technology, but I don’t know where it comes from, the details.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened at Brooklyn Bowl so far, from your perspective? We had a thousand Santa Claus’s there, for Santacon. And when Dr. Dog played, we had snow machines in there, the night before Santacon, and when we turned the snow machines on it was basically snowing in the club, and you can do that if you have a barn like we do with 35-foot ceilings. But I’d never been in a club in NY where it was snowing, and this was not the cheesy bubble thing, foam bubbles. It felt like it was snowing.

What’s on the horizon for this year? When we first opened, we thought we’d do live shows 3, 4 days a week. And now we’re looking to do them 6, 7 days a week, and we’re gonna have a lot of good shows. The other cool thing I’m really psyched about is Karaoke Killed the Cat on Monday nights. When you typically go to karaoke, it’s at a karaoke bar, and you’re singing off of a PA system that’s in a bar. And I think karaoke works really well at Brooklyn Bowl because you’re up there on stage singing through a PA system on a 35-foot wide by 19-foot deep stage. So you’re up on a stage bigger than Irving Plaza. We found that people really freak out; it’s a pretty awesome experience, different than singing in a karaoke bar, so we’re super psyched about karaoke on Monday nights.

Have you gone and done that yet? Yeah I’ve been up on the stage and I did it.

What did you do? Sweet Caroline.

Is there anybody who performed at Wetlands who you haven’t gotten to perform at Brooklyn Bowl yet? Good question. I’ve made it a real priority to have a lot of the bands that did play at Wetlands, and I’m the publisher of Relix magazine too, and used to do the Jammys and that stuff. So it was important for me to have Bob Weir there, to have Warren Haynes from the Allmans there, to have the Soulive guys, to have Robert Randolph, to have the Disco Biscuits, and I’ve been really psyched that a lot of those bands have come back and played in the first six months. A band that hasn’t played yet…I’m trying to get the band God Street Wine back together, I’d like to get them back. Who played Wetlands….? You know, Pearl Jam played Wetlands, I’d love to see them at Brooklyn Bowl. I’m not holding my breath, but you never know.

By oliverjamreview Posted in News

Capitol Theater in Port Chester New York is Coming Back!

Live Music to Return to a Storied Theater

Joe Sia/Wolfgang’s Vault

Joe Cocker, center, at the Capitol in 1970. In those days A-list bands like Pink Floyd, Traffic and Santana appeared at the theater, which is now being renovated.


But the concert that Dennis Bochichio, 60, who handled the lighting for more than 100 concerts and who continues to do maintenance work at the Capitol, most remembers featured Joe Cocker, who had people dancing in their seats till dawn. “FM radio at the time was really coming alive, and people wanted to see all those bands,” he said. And because of the Capitol’s steeply pitched two-level space, which offered crisp sound, “no seat was a bad seat,” he added.

In recent years the Capitol has become a place for corporate get-togethers, bar mitzvahs and even a circus. But if Peter Shapiro, an owner of Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, has his way, the Cap, as it is known to many fans, will recapture some of its past glory. Starting this spring Mr. Shapiro will produce about 100 performances a year in the 1,835-seat theater.

Along the post-Woodstock-era East Coast, the Capitol wasn’t alone among midsize stages attracting A-list rock talent. There was Bill Graham’s better known Fillmore East, in the East Village. But this Capitol, along with theCapitol Theater in Passaic, N.J., was also influential. Both Capitol Theaters played a key role in bringing big-name bands to the suburbs, a relationship that flourished because the halls were far enough away from Manhattan not to compete with clubs there.

The Capitol in Port Chester saw a brief resurgence of concerts in the early 1990s, when jam bands like Phish, Blues Traveler and Max Creek headlined. But there hasn’t been a rock concert for the public here since 1997, when the Rolling Stones taped an MTV special. (That same year there were also nine Amway seminars.)

As part of a deal with the theater’s owner, Marvin Ravikoff, announced this month, Mr. Shapiro will lease the space for “more than 10 years,” said Mr. Ravikoff, who declined to discuss exact terms.

The Capitol, a 1926 landmark designed by the architect Thomas W. Lamb, who also designed the United Palace Theater in Upper Manhattan, will undergo a four-month, $2 million renovation. The work will include replacing carpets, repainting walls and upgrading bathrooms, as well as adding state-of-the-art light, sound and video systems, Mr. Shapiro said.

Much of the interior, which Mr. Ravikoff has restored over the years, won’t be touched, including ceiling medallions, filigreed columns and a gold-colored arch over the stage.

“This is rock ’n’ roll royalty,” said Mr. Shapiro on a recent morning at the theater here. Above him a disco ball dangled from a domed 65-foot ceiling. “We will give her the treatment she deserves.”

Mr. Shapiro declined to name his first act, though his music-industry credentials may provide a hint. He owned the Wetlands Preserve, a former club in Manhattan, which gave a boost to many jam bands. He is also the publisher of Relix, a monthly magazine with a similar bent.

Though mindful of the Capitol’s history, Mr. Shapiro, 39, whose first Capital concert was the jam band Strangefolk in 1998, said he would not take a time-capsule approach to programming. He said he planned to feature jazz and blues along with comedy shows. He may also book Latin acts, in a nod to Port Chester’s sizable Latino population. In many ways the eclectic lineups will echo those of his two-year-old Brooklyn Bowl, where recent performers included Chaka Khan, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.

John Scher, a longtime New York-area promoter, sees nostalgia working in the Capitol’s favor because the structure is one of the last of those ’70s-era theaters still standing. (The Fillmore’s old lobby is now a bank.)

“It’s an older theater with great acoustics that was not living up to its potential for many decades, so to have live music there again is a positive thing,” said Mr. Scher, who saw only one show at the Port Chester Capitol, but booked it for Simon and Garfunkel three times in the past seven years so they could prepare for tours.

But Mr. Scher worries that there now may be too many places to play in the area. A handful of like-minded theaters have opened in Westchester County and in Connecticut since the 1970s.

And, because many of these theaters demand that bands honor “radius clauses” — agreeing not to play rival stages for a set amount of time before and after a show — the Capitol could face stiff competition in terms of booking.

For instance, the 500-seat Ridgefield Playhouse in Connecticut, which is about 30 miles from Port Chester and puts on about 100 concerts a year, insists that musicians not play within 60 miles for two months before a concert and one month after. The Paramount Center for the Arts, a 960-seat theater in Peekskill, N.Y., also about 30 miles from the Capitol, in recent years has presented shows with Gregg Allman, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, and the B-52s. It has even stricter stipulations: bands must not play within a 90-mile radius for two months before and three months after a concert.

Lisa Reiss, the Paramount Center’s executive director, said the clause is necessary because there is an abundance of theaters but a limited pool of ticket buyers. “For the most part, people are very selective about where they will spend their $60,” she said.

Mr. Shapiro said he would not make similar demands of acts, partly because he does not consider it necessary. The Capitol, he argued, is much larger than those other stages, so he can court a different caliber of band. The theater is also more accessible than other theaters because it is close to Interstate 95 and a short walk from a Metro-North train station, he said.

And its legacy is important, not just for the audiences but also for the bands, which will relish being part of music history, said Jim Glancy, a partner with the promoter Bowery Presents, which is not an investor but will help book acts at the Capitol.

“There’s a real connection there, which artists find exciting,” Mr. Glancy said. “It will give us a leg up coming out of the block.”

A version of this article appeared in print on December 21, 2011, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: Live Music to Return to a Storied Theater.
By oliverjamreview Posted in News