Inside the Den at Webster Hall With James Bay | Artists Den
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Inside the Den at Webster Hall With James Bay | Artists Den

February 28, 2020


I feel like I’ve known about Webster Hall for a long time. When I bought the CD for John Mayer’s Continuum album, it came with a DVD disc Live in Webster Hall. It was one of the first times I saw the room and it looked awesome. So it’s yeah, it’s to be in here and to be added to the long list of people who’ve played here, it’s an honor. Webster Hall was built in 1886, though it’s survived four fires along the way. It’s considered to be the oldest live music venue in New York City. In the 50s, the venue was a recording studio for RCA and the sound in the room certainly echoes that. In the 80s and the venue became the Ritz for about 10 years. When I moved to New York in ’96, it was more of a dance club and unique event space, but having it as a concert venue once again is exciting. East Village has gentrified in the last 20 years. This area is just becoming more and more music and entertainment refocused or at a different level than it used to be. I’ve always been excited by all things live music in New York. Everything is inspiring. You know, that’s enough of a reason for a creative person and a songwriter to want to be here. In 2008, Webster Hall was officially landmarked by the city. We aren’t supposed to make changes to the outside, the facade of the venue and limited changes inside. But we did get permission from Landmarks to open up three new doorways and give access to an elevator. Keeping the capacity was truly a jigsaw puzzle and we were very concerned about the sound. I feel very very happy with the result from that perspective. In the renovation, we discovered under the stage an amazing James Dean poster. I believe it’s an Italian, possibly the soundtrack was recorded here. In the stairwell for the artist heading upstairs to one of the dressing rooms are some old 80’s Ritz posters, and seeing the exposed brick with some of the fire remnants. To me, that’s a great piece of history for sure. Some of the best compliments we’ve gotten about the room has been we didn’t suck the soul out of it. Webster Hall historically has been a great part of the community and we want to continue that. I kind of came up and grew up playing with an acoustic guitar to two people or maybe 200 people if I was lucky. Smaller shows can be about all the nuances, movements of the head or little inflections within a song. Having James play Webster Hall, especially during opening month is truly an honor, and Artists Den events and concerts have been on my radar for years. This is such an iconic venue. Artists Den is becoming an iconic play for artists and to combine the two to me is an amazing treat. Can’t remember when the last time I was in a smaller place like this, but it’s nice to do a show wherever you are, whatever size. The fact that I get to do that is insane. Now won’t you take, take me back to where it was before When we were on fire, fire

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