Live: Ghost Keep People Guessing At The Studio At Webster Hall

Live: Ghost Keep People Guessing At The Studio At Webster Hall


By Christopher Weingarten Thu., Jun. 2 2011 at 10:00 AM




The Studio at Webster Hall
Wednesday, June 1


Better than: Ping-pong and Hawaiian Punch at youth group.

So who the fuck are these guys?

I mean, that’s what we’re supposed to be asking, right? The six members of Swedish bubblegum-metal séance Ghost go through great pains to shield their identity. It’s not because of all the spooky Satanic ritual shit they ramble about in their interviews; it’s because their members are moonlighting from some Swedish extreme metal band, and they don’t want to be spotted playing this gloriously campy stuff. Ghost’s sound is like heavy metal trapped in a state of suspended animation since 1973—think Blue Öyster Cult, the tape deck of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine, the cuddle-goth of the film Spider Baby—shot through with a Satanic streak that would send Polanski running to confession.

The real truth is pretty obviously the boring answer “some guys”—or worse, “the members of some band you never heard of.” And when the truth comes out (hell, it might have already; they’re impossible to Google), it will be as dull as eyeing unmasked pictures of Buckethead. But still, watching Ghost parade out on stage at the intimate Studio at Webster Hall makes it impossible not to play along, to spend their brief set looking for clues.

They were so thorough that I was reeling with conspiracy theories. Are these guys actually profitable enough to afford roadies, or are the members just savvy enough to wear FENDER and MANNY’S MUSIC t-shirts when they sound check? Those leather elbow-to-wrist sheaths imply some of them have tattoo sleeves, right? I was ready to go off on some MF Doom-themed rant about how the lead singer was just masking his identity because he’s not traditionally handsome or young–his black-metal makeup did its best to hide a Jimmy Durante beak, an endlessly stoic scowl and some flabby old-man jowls. And then about two songs in I realized he was wearing a rubber mask.

Might as well obsess about their identity since their live show itself wasn’t much to look at–a lot of lurching and menacing and slowly emoting in big robes. Plus all the harmonies (their best feature) were provided via computer assistance. They played the entirety of their debut album, Opus Eponymous, with a taut precision, but the most uplifting part was a sludgy, beaming, krauty cover of the Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun,” which needs to be appended to the American version of the album as soon as humanly possible.

Critical bias: I always thought it was totally dick when CMJ outed the anonymous members of Music Go Music.

Overheard: “We know it’s you!”

Random notebook dump: Never thought I would see a kid stagedive onto two lit pieces of incense, but here we are.

Set list:
Con Clavi Con Dio
Death Knell
Satan Prayer
Stand By Him
Prime Mover
Here Comes The Sun




Nightclub & Bar Announces the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Awards Winner

Nightclub & Bar Announces the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Awards Winners

By: Nightclub and Bar February 2, 2011

Nightclub & Bar is pleased to announce the Winners in the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Awards. These 21 winners were selec ted from the more than 290 entries submitted by bars, clubs, restaurants, DJs and industry professionals.

The Nightclub & Bar Awards program is unique in its credibility as the premier industry recognition program. Venue owners, operators and managers, as well as suppliers, vendors and other industry members eager to recognize excellence in on-premise concepts, programs, talent and professionalism are invited to submit entries Qualifying entries are then put before an expert judging panel composed of top consultants, developers, educators, writers, editors and trainers in the industry. The judges rank their first, second and third choices for each category they judge, and a calculation is applied to identify the Finalists, and ultimately, the Winners, based on the ballots.

Now in its second year, the Nightclub & Bar Awards once again honors outstanding operators across the industry from venues large and small, located in diverse markets. New this year is a segment specifically for Las Vegas Nightclubs, created to reflect the unique nature of that market. Las Vegas Nightclubs join the Bar and Nightclub categories. Modern Line Furniture is the sponsor of the Nightclub category.

“This year’s Winners are a diverse group, reflecting the range of concepts and innovation on today’s nightlife scene,” said Donna Hood Crecca, Publisher and Editorial Director of Nightclub & Bar. “Each of these Winners combines innovation with great execution, which is the secret to success, especially in the recent challenging economy. These bars and clubs won the respect of our judges and of the entire industry, and we look forward to celebrating their accomplishments in Las Vegas.”

Finalists and Winners will be highlighted in Nightclub & Bar media properties, and Winners will be celebrated at the Welcome Kick-off Party at Caesars Palace on Monday, March 7 during the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas.

Presented by category, the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Awards Winners are:

Nightclub Category Winners 

Mega-club of the Year

• The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City, N.J.

New Club of the Year

• FLUXX, San Diego

Nightclub of the Year 

• Webster Hall, New York

Ongoing Promotion/Party/Event of the Year

• Fashion Industry Nights at Baja Sharkeez, Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Resident DJ of the Year

• Chris Garcia at Playhouse Hollywood, Los Angeles

Single Promotion/Party/Event of the Year

• Moulin Rouge Anniversary Party at Kiss & Fly, Austin, Texas

Ultralounge of the Year

• SL, New York

Las Vegas Nightclub Award Winners

Las Vegas Dayclub of the Year

• Liquid Pool Lounge, Aria Resort & Casino

Las Vegas Mega-club of the Year

• Pure, Caesars Palace

Las Vegas New Club of the Year

• Haze Nightclub, Aria Resort & Casino

Las Vegas Nightclub of the Year

• Tryst, Wynn Las Vegas

Las Vegas Ongoing Promotion/Party/Event of the Year

• Vice Sundays, Lavo Las Vegas

Las Vegas Resident DJ of the Year

• Kaskade at Encore Beach Club

Las Vegas Single Promotion/Party/Event of the Year

• Erick Morillo Labor Day Weekend at Tao

Bar Award Winners

Bartender of the Year

• Jackson Cannon, Eastern Standard, Boston

Beer Bar of the Year

• ChurchKey, Washington, D.C.

Cocktail Lounge of the Year

• Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco

Hotel Bar of the Year

• Eastern Standard, Hotel Commonwealth, Boston

Small Wonder Bar of the Year

• Embury, Pittsburgh

Sports Bar of the Year

• The Tavern Downtown, Denver

Wine Bar of the Year

• Mercy Wine Bar, Dallas

Webster Hall earns 2010 BEST CLUB award

New York, NY, October 21, 2010 – Webster Hall won the coveted People’s Choice Award for Best Club at Paper Magazine’s sixth annual Nightlife Awards. The event was held at the Hudson Hotel, where legends and luminaries from throughout the nightlife world gathered to pay respect to the venues, events and people that that provide the pulse of New York City.

Celebrating its 125th year in the heart of Greenwich Village, Webster Hall literally invented NYC nightlife, and is again hitting its stride with the world’s biggest artists and record-setting attendance. On this memorable evening, Webster Hall’s weekly “Girls & Boys” Friday night celebration was named runner-up for Best Party.

Upcoming events at Webster Hall include the official NYC Halloween parade after-party and the legendary New Year’s Eve spectacle and after-hours show – this year featuring Bloody Beetroots.

For more information please visit For press inquiries and further information please contact:

WEBSTER HALL & MTV – Two Music Icons Unite

WEBSTER HALL & MTV – Two Music Icons Unite

New York, NY, July 19, 2010 – MTV – the leading broadcaster of music in America for the last 30 years, and Webster Hall – the landmarked NYC live music destination and birthplace of stereophonic music, are pleased to announce their digital webcast partnership which will showcase the vibrant indie rock acts now headlining “THE STUDIO”- the state of the art music venue and recording studio located in the lower level of the legendary venue.
. will broadcast the “Live From The Studio” shows with a cutting edge, guerilla-style broadcasting technique that features 3 permanent cameras and 2 handhelds.  The first broadcast is Tuesday, July 20th at 9:00pm featuring THE DRUMS.

Co-Founder of The Studio Trevor Silmser says that “partnering with MTV, one of the world’s busiest and most successful internet portals, will help establish opportunities for young bands to monetize their music.  The internet is obviously the future of music revenue, and the MTV-Webster Hall connection can help that process flourish.”  The webcasts will take place several times a month on, and will include unsigned bands as well as established acts.

Webster Hall is the venerable music building that was RCA’s live recording studio in the 1950s and 60s, and was well-known as the Ritz in the 1970s and 80s.  Built in 1886, is the last original dance hall standing in New York City.  The MTV venture is part of Webster Hall’s larger music initiatives, which includes their “Live at Webster Hall” releases.

For press inquiries and further information please contact:

For more information on Live From The Studio with The Drums on July 20th, click here

WEBSTER HALL & WRXP unite for Sessions series in the Studio at Webster Hall

WEBSTER HALL & WRXP unite for Sessions series in the Studio at Webster Hall

New York, NY, July 5, 2010: WRXP 101.9, NYC’s true rock station, and Webster Hall, the landmarked NYC live music destination and birthplace of stereophonic music, are pleased to forge a partnership to showcase the world’s most compelling bands in The Studio at Webster Hall – the state of the art music venue and recording studio located in the lower level of the legendary venue.

WRXP program director and morning co-host Leslie Fram states that “The Studio at Webster Hall is the perfect venue for the WRXP Sessions! We’ve held intimate acoustic sessions from Vampire Weekend, Florence & The Machine and Mumford & Sons to full blown private concerts like The Bravery, Against Me and Gogol Bordello, and artists love the acoustics!”

Webster Hall C.E.O. Lon Ballinger adds that “Webster Hall presents the biggest, most important artists in the world on all 4 floors, and the WRXP Sessions allow these artists to get up close and personal with their most loyal fans.”

Webster Hall is the venerable music building that was RCA’s live recording studio in the 1950s and 60s, and was well-known as the Ritz in the 1970s and 80s. Built in 1886, is the last original dance hall standing in New York City.

NEW YORK TIMES : Adding Bands to the Beat

Evan Sung for The New York Times

GOING LIVE After a renovation, Webster Hall is hosting more live music. More Photos >


Published: March 6, 2009

Library of Congress

OLD NEIGHBOR Garment workers at the building in the early 1900s. More Photos »

IT was back in 1953, when RCA Victor set up a studio in the Grand Ballroom of Webster Hall in Manhattan to achieve a level of reverberation that would help the label compete with Columbia Records. Perry Como recorded his “Como Swings” there in 1959, which displayed Como in slacks and a blue shirt on a golf course.

As the world changed, and music with it, so did the acts the venue attracted: in 1967, Jefferson Airplane staged its first concert in New York inside. On Dec. 6, 1980, U2 ushered in the post-punk era here — it was called the Ritz at the time — when it pounded out “I Will Follow” in its first gig in the United States. And on Feb. 2, 1988, Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses, standing on the same stage, before screeching “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” inflated a condom like a balloon.

Since then, live music has been a rarity in the aging building on East 11th Street in Greenwich Village. Instead, the sound most often heard has been electronica, like house music, whose turntable-fueled beats scored popular dance parties where glow-stick necklaces were the accessory of choice.

Now, Webster Hall has finished a $3 million, yearlong renovation of its four-level space and live music has returned in force. D. J. booths have been removed to make way for new stages, and a new venue within the venue, called the Studio, has been added. House music will still throb, but the owners are betting that rock fans can be lured inside, too.

If the plan succeeds — and in this economy, nothing is guaranteed — Webster Hall may solve a problem that has plagued club owners since people started venturing out of their homes to shimmy at night: how do you make extra money from rooms that basically sit unused between 6 a.m., when crowds file out, and 11 p.m., when the doors reopen for business? Some have tried restaurants, to mixed success.

And will everyone get along? After all, rockers and club kids have traditionally gone their separate ways on weekends.

Take Chris Steele, who came to see the band Southeast Engine in the Studio recently. He planned to leave right after the band’s last song, even though his $8 ticket would have covered him for the night at a place where the vinyl crowd shelled out $35.

“Personally this is more my thing,” he said. “I’m more into live music than dancing.”

In a city where fewer people party than they used to, according to club owners, the club’s everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach is one way to try to increase attendance. It could also serve as a hedge against the recession, which has sent some bar business plunging 40 percent. Finally, a paradigm shift in musical tastes could play to Webster Hall’s advantage.

For a generation raised on iPods that can pack thousands of disparate songs, and who attend music festivals with increasingly eclectic lineups — in June, Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn., will feature Nine Inch NailsSnoop Dogg and Phish — putting an eclectic mix of styles under one roof might seem in sync with the times.

“This is a different world, where you can easily access everything under the sun with the quick push of a button,” said Craig Inciardi, an associate curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland who helped set up its New York annex last fall. “Webster Hall is trying to appeal to these people who have varied musical tastes.”

Charles Goldstein, a cigarmaker, built Webster Hall in 1886 for $75,000, with a design by Charles Rentz Jr., an architect and beer vendor, for “balls, receptions, Hebrew weddings and sociables,” according to a December 1886 article in The New York Times.

But it soon came to be known for rowdy parties, many of which featured live music, like the fund-raiser for General Grant’s memorial in September 1887, or the fete for the French Revolution centennial in May 1889.

In the early 1900s, Webster Hall’s guest lists featured artists of all sorts, including F. Scott FitzgeraldMan Ray and Marcel Duchamp. Around the same time, Greenwich Village became a center of gay and lesbian life, and the club was frequently a gathering place.

Unity Gallega of the United States, which later bought the building, and which still owns it, put on a klezmer concert there in 1978. But in 1980, with the downtown music scene thriving, the company leased out the space to the Ritz, which tended to be more New Wave-focused than CBGB, its more famous, and more punk, downtown neighbor.

Legs McNeil, the author and longtime East Village resident who’s credited with popularizing the term “punk,” recalls seeing Public Image Limited and the Ramones there, but an even more memorable moment was sitting in the club’s balcony listening to someone have loud sex in a bathroom. That same balcony would also shake noticeably when the crowd started dancing, “and you wondered if the whole thing was going to collapse,” he said.

Of course, that was nighttime. Finding a way to fill clubs before sunset has long been a puzzlement to those who run them.

Lotus, a 10,000-square-foot meatpacking district club that closed in 2008 after eight years, filled some of that gap with a restaurant. David Rabin, a Lotus owner who also serves as president of the New York Nightlife Association, a trade group, said that if Webster Hall could lure patrons inside in the early evening, for performances that often kick off at 7 p.m., it, too, might benefit. Any extra revenue, he added, is important during the downturn.

“It’s not an easy transition to become a rock club, and they’re not necessarily going after the same audience, so it won’t be an easy message to get across,” Mr. Rabin said. “But they have a great location, and if they program intelligently, at an appropriate price point, they should do fine.”

Although late-night noise from cars did result in the temporary closing of the club’s block to car traffic in the 1990s — and despite those rowdy parties for General Grant — Webster Hall has not gotten into much trouble over the decades, unlike so many other New York City clubs. It had only six official noise complaints in 2008, said Deputy Inspector Dennis De Quatro, commanding officer of the Ninth Precinct in Manhattan.

Webster Hall’s renovation was handled by Steve Lewis, a New York night life mainstay who’s managed the Palladium, Life and Spa. He and his partner, Marc Dizon, added banquettes, tables, and a small likeness of Michelangelo’s David, covered in green stripes. And though they also put in three dozen flat-screen TVs in a rear hallway that show mind-bending geometric patterns, they kept a lot of what made Webster Hall so unusual in the first place: its mazelike layout, which recalls that of aHalloween-theme suburban haunted house.

Past a pinkish facade, with its bearded-men carvings and griffin light-fixtures, marble stairs descend to checkerboard-tile floors bathed in red lights. Oddly placed thick-frame mirrors line dim hallways. Doors lead from rooms into other rooms, each smaller than the first, like a walk-through take on a Russian nesting doll.

And surprises aren’t surprising, as anyone who used to visit the old Ritz in the early ’80s discovered, when a screen dropped from the ceiling showing grainy early music videos (“Video Killed the Radio Star” was often one) before the evening’s band took the stage.

“The old girl’s always had good bones, always a wonderful piece of architecture,” said Lon Ballinger, the club’s owner. “Our goal was to make her look beautiful again.”

The ultimate judges of whether he succeeded will obviously be patrons, who seem skeptical but willing to keep an open mind. Before a December performance in the ballroom by Cansei de Ser Sexy, a Brazilian band, Sunny Cover, 39, of Peekskill, N.Y., reminisced about dancing at Webster Hall a decade ago.

“It’s insane that this place lasted as long as it has,” Ms. Cover said. “I can’t believe I’m back.”

Nearby, Amanda Cobell, 22, of Kinnelon, N.J., also admitted that she associated the place with “cheesy dance tunes,” an impression reinforced by the preconcert musical selections blaring from overhead speakers, like Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations,” a 1990s club staple.

“Wow, this song reminds me of when I was 10 and listening to Z100 and they would keep saying, ‘Come hear the beats at Webster Hall,’ ” Ms. Cobell said. “I guess I finally did.”

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