Tuesday, February 24, 2009

They're Baaaack!

Like Freddy Krueger, Studio B is the venue that never goes away. andtheend was surprised the other night when I mentioned that they had never closed, with reports of their death being greatly exaggerated. A huge FOR RENT sign appeared for a few weeks on the exterior around Christmas, then had disappeared by the time we were back in early February.

I never thought they would go away completely, (that space is huge and ready to go for dancing/shows--how could it sit empty?) and only hoped we would force them to be more responsible nightlife tenants in a residential neighborhood. I mean, godforbid if even worse tenants were operating the club 7 nights a week. The devil we don't know could be something more horrible.

As of now, the sound bleed isn't nearly as loud as it was previously, and not just because my windows are closed for winter. This is a good thing. I don't know what (if anything) they did to change, but if the sound levels from inside stay down to this somewhat duller roar on a 2-night a week basis, we neighbors will all remain happier. However, this doesn't seem likely.

NY Mag
reports the latest this week, and below is the text of an email I got back in early February from a booking agent friend, who kindly forwarded me what he received from the new promoters.

My simple idea is that no business in any neighborhood should negatively impact its surroundings. If there is impact at all, it should improve the area, not just take from it. I don't want to go to a club every night. Maybe that makes me old, but it a choice I am allowed to make. When Studio B is in full effect, it's as if a sound system playing inside my house. Why should that be okay in any circumstance?

People who argue that "You live in New York, get used to the noise!" or "We need better nightlife in the city!" is all fine and good; I am not against clubs or the noise of city life. However, the houses were here first, as in most cases where a new business moves in because the area becomes more desirable. I moved to Greenpoint 8 years ago exactly because it was a quiet neighborhood where I know many of my neighbors and local business owners, because it is a place where families have been raised for generations, because it was safe, and because it wasn't in the middle of nightlife city. It was inexpensive (at the time), and my neighborhood is the main reason I still love living in New York City. I can have all of the good of the city nearby while relishing a quieter place and life to come home to.

To my way of thinking, the onus is on any new business to fit into the existing neighborhood, not the other way around. Greenpointer Newyorkshitty spoke to this subject this week. Neighborhood turnover and change is constant in NYC; that is a given. Yet the change shouldn't be for the pleasure of a few and at the expense of many others' daily quality of life. The Production Lounge shooting is a perfect example of a new business bringing money into the neighborhood that doesn't add anything positive; Studio B's current plan to offer you a free drink with a taxi receipt is along these same lines.

We'll see how these "new" guys do. I truly hope they are better. I don't need or want the hassle, believe me. Even so, if that roof deck is wide open in the summer with noise projecting off the smoking area, I suspect the problems will not be over. Wonder if they have that cabaret license yet? And the all ages shows should prove interesting, too.

First let’s start with our new set up in Brooklyn :
As many of you are aware – Studio B has been open for about three years now in the Greenpoint / Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn. In the past two years they have hosted the likes of : Justice, Art Brut, The Klaxons, LCD Soundsystem, Madball, Battles, Santogold, M.I.A., Crystal Castles, Kid Sister, MSTRKRFT, The Black Kids, The Thermals, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Mountain Goats, Lady Sovereign, Diplo, The Cool Kids, Chromeo, Terror, Hercules & Love Affair, The Go! Team, CSS, The Thermals, Hot Chip, El-P etc etc

The club has had a quite a few people booking the room in the past. With the venue “open” to many different promoters at one time – it caused a great deal of issues and infighting between a lot of people you may work or have worked with in nyc. In addition to the insular promoter issues there has recently been a great deal of rumors and talk about whether the club is open / shut down for good / for sale / for rent (all created by the aforementioned promoters who e-mailed every blog when they didn’t get dates they wanted etc). All of this “chatter” has greatly contributed to a perception that Studio B is no longer fully functioning. That is not true. The club is back to being fully operational and open and hired a full new management team and staff.

In January Studio B approached two long time friends to become the general managers and help them “start over”. The two general managers have begun to clean house from top to bottom - all new night managers, office people, bar managers, production people, bartenders, security guards etc. Both of the general managers have worked with us at R5 for over eight years now. The day and night managers are both former r5 staff members and close friends of 10+ years. For the first time ever, Studio B will now be run by “music” people. No more club personnel with limited or no experience with dealing with “indie” crowds, musicians / artists. Everyone working here is very experienced with live shows.

The owner has removed himself from the day to day running of the club. After less than stellar experiences with previous promoters / managers that he hired, he has now relinquished full control to allow this newly formed team to run his club. The calendar will now be controlled by a small in-house group who all have previous booking experience. For the first time at Studio B, one small group of select individuals will be handling ALL of the booking for all their upcoming calendar.

We, R5 Productions will be handling all of the live shows/concerts. For those not in the know, Studio B holds 800+ people. They have the ability to do all ages or 18+ and serve alcohol at their events. There is a full real-deal PA in there with EAW mains, Midas FOH Console and Crest VCA Monitor board - A very SERIOUS system. Starting in two weeks we are having the PA recalibrated + adding new monitors and outboard gear to further the already great stage production that exists in the venue. (A full production inventory can be provided upon request). Studio B will now be operating with the ability to be more of a serious option for live music (it was previously operating / focused on just DJ events and “parties” )

Obviously looking at the above sampling of artists who have played live shows here, Studio B is very well known and quite established in NYC. We now hope with the group of new people who take this very seriously – we all can make Stuido B even bigger. We are looking to book last minute artists and bands starting in March (or possibly February if you have something appropriate). Starting on March 1st - Studio B will begin a two month long press campaign handled w/ a hired publicist to get word out about the club’s new management. There will be weekly ads in The Village Voice and other likeminded publications as well as NYC focused blogs (Brooklynvegan etc)

With Studio B making the majority of their $$ on late night dance oriented events - we are happy to make the room available for concerts/shows at an extremely low cost. Depending on the type of crowd the 800 perosn capacity room will start at only $XXX for the evening (all staff, promotion, rent, sound, insurance etc is included). We are willing and able to make 50% to 75% deposits for the initial string of confirmed shows to ease any concern about Studio B being open “for sure”

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