For the uninitiated, simply seeing one’s favorite bands or musicians in the live setting might be enough, but around these parts – where our average reader sees upwards of 50 shows per year – we’re pretty picky about our venues. Our staff and our readers like to see our favorite acts, but we like to see them in an ideal setting, with the perfect acoustics, unobstructed views and ample room – all while washing down some frosty craft brews. Over the next year we aim to detail the best venues in San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and New York City. We’ve started at home here in NYC.
In order to tackle this highly subjective topic, we asked our NYC-area staff members and a few local residents who see upwards of 100 shows a year to rank every venue we could think up – over 60 in total – from 1 to 20. Once we got the scores in from everybody, we utilized a highly complex algorithm called “averaging,” whereby we churned out our aggregated list of Hidden Track’s Best New York City Music Venues, fifteen to be exact.
1) Brooklyn Bowl – 61 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, NY 11211
History – Make no mistake, while it seems pretty New Yorky of us to pick the new kid on the block as the top venue, it’s not the novelty of newness that makes Brooklyn Bowl our favorite. True, the venue did just open July 7th, 2009, but the “for us, by us” nature of the venue – which comes from the same bloodlines as former NYC jam mecca, the Wetlands Preserve – assures that this place will hold court for many of the great NYC concerts for years to come. READ ON for more on our top NYC venues…
Words by Carla Danca
Photos by Jeremy Gordon
After an amazing year on the road the Disco Biscuits returned to New York City’s Nokia Theater for the 2nd year for their New Year’s Holiday Run. Memories of the chaos and cold from last year couldn’t keep people away as the show was again sold out much in advance. With a light wet snow falling outside, the theater staff was much better prepared to greet the masses of fans going into the show, and the smooth entry process allowed everyone to get inside before the first notes of M.E.P.H.I.S rang out. The night started early. Though the curfew at the Nokia was extended for the NYE festivities, tDB went on without an opener and hit the stage promptly at 9:30 much to my surprise.
The past year has been a big one for the Disco Biscuits. From creating their own festival at Red Rocks, to their big sets at Rothbury and High Sierra Music Festival, to a new video on mtvU, the signing with Red Light Management, and the constant teasing of the long awaited album Planet Anthem. The quartet has been in high gear with no signs of stopping. While the entire holiday run is getting rave reviews (especially 12/30/09), this NYE show was one for the records.
Overall just a great collection of shows from start to finish that showed off how tight and together these guys have become.
READ ON to read more about tDB’s New Year’s run and Jeremy’s photos.
Words: Jonathan “Kos” Kosakow
Images: S. Balaji Mani
In a city where you can find entertainment of just about any kind, Yonder Mountain String Band stood out from the rest of options this past Saturday night in New York City’s Times Square thanks to their unique way of adding a slight twist of modern rock to traditional bluegrass that allows their sound to satisfy the tastes of fans across the board.
Even without a percussionist, the group is able to keep any crowd shuffling their feet for hours on end. Vocally, all four members are able to take center stage – with the majority of songs led by mandolin player Jeff Austin or bassist Ben Kaufman. The moments that they truly shine, though, come when they all harmonize together.
Unlike many current acts, the four members of YMSB, though they play different parts and sing different lines, come together to sound as one. Given their excitement at playing on Broadway, the quartet came out rocking, ready to play to their largest New York City audience to date at the 2,100-capacity Nokia Theater. READ ON for more from Kos and Balaji…