Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Venue Review: The Annex

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Location: LES, Manhattan
Address: 152 Orchard St. (between Stanton & Rivington)
Size: Medium-small
Directions: F/V to 2 Ave, walk one block east and one block south
Website: theannexnyc.com

Acoustics: A-
Booking: A-
Helpfulness to bands: D+
Atmosphere: C-

Acoustics - The interior of the Annex is oddly shaped but it has excellent acoustics anyway. It's probably because of pretty high-quality equipment and the fact that the interior of the space involves a lot of wood and panelling instead of brick, concrete or metal. It can be a touch muffled and murky, depending on the music, but for the most part, things sound good on stage and in the house.

Booking - The Annex is fairly open-minded and easy to book, especially for a venue that's somewhat "corporate" feeling. The venue seems to have pretty decent taste in bands and puts together logical line-ups too.

Helpfulness - Once you're booked at the Annex, things become less fun. In my experiences with the venue, they keep a lot of the money from the door charges (which tend to be high in the first place), so pay for bands is pitifully low. They are very strict with their guest lists and the overall feel is that they are eking out every possible penny from the bands, despite the fact that they throw club nights that surely generate enough income to keep the venue afloat. Speaking of the club nights, this is also one of those venues that will shut bands off to avoid conflict with their late-night parties - although at least they are better at starting shows on time than many of the other venues that do this. Still, bands are treated more with tolerance, as are their audiences. It's generally not a great vibe.

Atmosphere - I've already touched on this - to me, the venue has always come off more as putting up with bands in hopes of making a few extra bucks, and that attitude certainly extends to the audience. It's just not a welcoming place - you'll pay a lot of money for the privilege of buying slightly overpriced drinks and watching your favorite band be hustled on and off stage in half an hour. The acoustics are great and the visibility is great, so it's not an altogether a bad place to see a band - but the pervasive sense that it's a money-grubbing corporation kind of kills the mood.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My band ROCKSTELLAR played there in June. As stated, the booker was friendly enough with the e-mails before hand. Arrangments for guest list was easy. However, when we arrived the night of the show, she hardly looked up from her cross word puzzle. Of the four bands that played while I was there, I saw her actually leave her spot at the door and enter the venue just one time. It was not to listen to the music though. She never glanced towards the stage as she got a drink and than back to the entrance. The sound man was friendly enough and all the bands sounded pretty good. However, the place is dark. We had hired a photographer, and when we told her the name of the venue, she cancelled. Too dark she said. Dark on stage. Dark in the club. And from the street The Annex looks like it is closed!