Last weekend, Williamsburg's newest concert venue opened with a roar as LCD Soundsystem tore through five sold-out shows inside a cavernous Frost Street warehouse. Now, christened by disco ball glimmers and James Murphy's wild hollers, Brooklyn Steel is finally here.
Housed inside a 20,000 square foot brick building that was once a steel fabrication shop, the latest Bowery Presents concert hall is probably most similar to their oft-divisive 3,000 capacity Terminal 5, which appears to have served as a guide for what to do—and not do—with Brooklyn Steel.
Like Terminal 5, Brooklyn Steel is effectively one big tall box. Unlike Terminal 5, the new venue features balconies that run toward the back of the room at an angle, cutting down on the neck-craning needed to see the stage for those who opt for the upper level. Balconies are also anchored directly to the wall, reducing the need for supporting pillars. The end result is much better sightlines for attendees both above and below. Brooklyn Steel also hopes to cut down on restroom wait lines with high-capacity facilities for both men and women that each house more than twenty relief stations. Three bars, each with multiple points of service, should make it easy to purchase a couple pints and then squeeze back through the crowd to your date. All this, plus the elimination of that long walk to 11th Avenue means Brooklyn Steel stands a chance of becoming one of the most-beloved "big" venue in the city.
Where the venue sits at Frost Street and Debevoise Avenue, a few residential apartments sit within earshot of the massive speaker system. With that in mind, Bowery Presents has lined the walls of Brooklyn Steel with intense soundproofing and installed a 10,000 square foot "green roof," featuring grass and plants that further muffles noise. "Our goal is to make the sound as great as possible inside, while also being good neighbors," Bowery Presents Head of Marketing Charley Magrew said.
With its moveable stage, Brooklyn Steel can house between 1,200 and 1,800 attendees, making it the perfect size for both break out indie acts and established favorites. Its calendar of booked artists includes The Decemberists, The Pixies, PJ Harvey, Animal Collective, Perfume Genius, Tycho, and Two Door Cinema Club.
Aesthetically, this venue-inside-a-repurporsed-Brooklyn-warehouse is exactly what you'd expect. Corrugated steel lines most of the walls and every ceiling is a grid of exposed beams and heavy-duty cranes. Several of the warehouse's old windows have been fitted with new glass and turned into bathroom mirrors, and old welding masks found during construction have been lined up on a wall like hunting trophies. Is it all on the nose? Definitely. Is it also cool? Yeah.