The transformation from NorthSix to the Music Hall of WIlliamsburg is dramatic. If I had been blindfolded and led into the club, I don’t think I would’ve known what it used to be — and living in the neighborhood, I saw lots of shows there.
Basically, they’ve turned it into Bowery Ballroom MK2. Does the following sound familiar? Once you get past the doormen (who you will recognize if you’ve spent any time at Bowery or Mercury Lounge), you’re led downstairs to a lounge, with a U-shaped bar in the middle and couches around the outside. (16 couches to be exact, a lot more seating than at Bowery.)
And another shot from the bar…
To get to the performance space you walk up a set of stairs on the other side of the lounge to a mezzanine area, which is what used to be the front area of Northsix. Now it’s where the merch table is.
Across from that is a little alcove with another, much smaller bar. There’s no bar in where the music happens.
The main room has the most drastic changes. Gone are the bleachers and those posts in the middle of the floor, and the ceiling seems to have been raised, because now there is a high balcony — not unlike Bowery or Irving Plaza. I think it’s VIP only; no one was allowed up at the show I saw (Apples in Stereo). Additionally, either side of the floor there are raised areas with railings, which puts you about two or three feet above everyone else — all you short girls will want to immediately head there first.
The stage seems bigger and deeper than it was at NorthSix, and is now sunk into the wall like most other big venues. And the sound was great for all three bands last night — David Terry from Aqueduct said it was the best they’ve sounded in ages — though it was a little loud. The mixing desk is at the back of the room and looks pretty state-of-the-art to these uninformed eyes. The floor of the main space is the one area that has obviously not been finished yet. I looks like someone just ripped up carpet. Oh, I almost forgot, the stage is Carpeted:
My only question is why they made another Bowery Ballroom and not give Music Hall of Williamsburg its own personality? Maybe it’s like a franchise. "You too can have a Bowery Ballroom in your neighboorhood with this simple kit." Right down to the bathrooms…