Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Venue Review: Terminal 5

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Location: Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan
Address: 610 W 56th St (between 11th & 12th Ave)
Size: Large (Cap. 3,000)
Directions: 1, A, B, C or D to Columbus Circle, walk three short blocks south and three and a half long blocks west.
Website: terminal5nyc.com

Acoustics: F
Booking: A
Helpfulness to bands: N/A
Atmosphere: B

Acoustics - Terminal 5 is a narrow, deep rectangular room with three stories of balconies. A lot of the interior design is done with metal, which means the music is inevitably drowned out by its own echoes. In fact, this is probably the muddiest sounding venue I have ever set foot in - you don't go there to hear your favorite band, you go there to see them while you unrelatedly have your eardrums pierced but the unintelligible din.

Booking - I've never, ever booked a show at Terminal 5. It's a big venue for big-name bands and each show there has a high cost that must be met by high ticket sales. Of the Bowery Presents venues, Terminal 5 houses the highest-profile shows. But the booking is the same for all Bowery Presents venues, so allow me to repeat what I wrote for Mercury Lounge: All the Bowery venues are very concerned with profit and draw and it's hard to get a spot at any of them. However, I've still given them an "A" for booking because despite having their pick of bands, they are very responsive, even to bands they are turning down. They are easy to get in touch with, communicative and open-minded, and in my experience, foster good relationships with everyone. If you're reading this blog for booking advice, you're probably not at the level Terminal 5 expects, but at least if you give it a shot, they'll be nice!

Helpfulness - I really have no experience with this, though my guess is that they treat bands very well.

Atmosphere - The interior seems like it was designed to create the poorest acoustics possible, but in fact, it was designed to look cool, and it does look cool. I'm more of a fan of the grungy, down-to-earth places, but for a modern rock venue, this place is certainly attractive. Visibility isn't great if there is any crowd at all, but other than that, it is not a bad place. And it's a little less creepy (less corporate, less disconnected) than most venues of its size and prestige. It's not worth going to shows here due to the sound, but if you have to, at least your eyes will be happy.

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