It wasn’t that long ago that the live music industry found itself in dire straits.
Theaters closed, stages were silent, and musicians and fans had to settle for awkward Zoom performances. Questions about the future of the art form hung in the air like a bad note.
Meanwhile, Anthony Makes was talking about New York’s last concert venue, Brooklyn Made, which opened in Bushwick at the end of September. It is the first new music venue to land in one of the five boroughs since the start of the pandemic.
Makes, 53, said the COVID-19 crisis didn’t scare him off when it came to starting a new business. It inspired him to make a new start.
âLike a lot of people, I looked inside myself and considered my life,â said Makes, who, when he went into custody, worked for Live Nation as president of the new outfit. York-based pioneer entertainment company. “I started as a concert promoter 30 years ago and wanted to go back to my roots.”
And so, in July 2020, Makes went it alone, founding Brooklyn Made: a concert promotion company and, ultimately, a place to accompany it.
Located on the grounds of a former steelworks on Troutman Street, it took just 11 months to build the venue, which has a capacity of 500 people. Makes and his business partner Kelly Winrich have rolled the dice on the eventual return of live music to the Big Apple.
âI’m definitely more of an upbeat guy, and if you followed the science you knew the pandemic was going to subside eventually,â Makes said of the self-funded business, adding that it’s rare for new sites to be found. ‘open in New York. City in the best circumstances. Among the most recent to debut, Brooklyn Steel in Williamsburg, which opened in 2017. âThere’s a reason for that: it’s tough, it’s expensive, it’s tough.
On September 30, Brooklyn Made took the stage with an opening performance from Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. Recent gigs have featured indie rockers Band of Horses, singer-songwriter Steve Earle and an ensemble from veteran The Mountain Goats on the heels of the band’s 2002 song “No Children” that went TikTok-viral. Makes said 95% of his shows have so far been sold out, with ticket prices ranging from $ 30 to $ 70 depending on the act.
The venue has a million dollar sound system, cutting edge lighting design as well as a rooftop terrace, which offers stunning views of the cityscape. It also has a bar and restaurant called Connie’s which has a pool table and stays open whether there is a show or not, even offering weekly brunches with DJs spinning tunes.
For artists, the building is outfitted with a carriage apartment furnished with $ 100,000 in furniture, as well as a private pool that turns into a hot tub in the winter. âThe artists don’t want to leave,â Makes says, pointing out how comparable venues barely offer a respectable lodge. âIn order to compete in New York as an independent promoter, I knew [our accommodations] had to be way above.
He said it has been working so far: “Several people have told me it’s the best venue they’ve played in their careers.”
Prospect Heights firefighter and live music enthusiast Luke Jackson was one of the fans at the opening and relished the chance to see Tweedy in the small venue, which, for comparison, can only hold 20 % of spectators able to enter the terminal. 5 on the west side of Manhattan. âThe space is well designed and looks very cool,â he told The Post. “I will say the venue was a bit cramped considering it’s narrow, which provides a larger stage but a slightly cramped audience experience.”
But Keri Smith, a bartender from Ridgewood, Queens, who recently watched The Budos Band from Staten Island, thinks the dimensions are a plus. âThe place is really designed for music lovers and groups,â she said. âAny music fan will appreciate the size of the space and the attention to sound. And any touring group will appreciate a washer and dryer in their green room. “
Upcoming acts set to arrive at this intimate venue include Jakob Dylan’s The Wallflowers on November 10, Matisyahu on November 28 and 29, and Guided by Voices on New Years Eve.
Makes said he was not surprised by the concert triumph after COVID-19. âI always knew that live music and live entertainment was going to come back,â he said. âIt’s in the blood of people.
428 Troutman Street; BrooklynMadePresents.com