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PJ Harvey
Photograph: Shutterstock/Rene OonkPJ Harvey

Everything you need to know about new venue Brooklyn Steel

Written by
Andrew Frisicano

What is Brooklyn Steel, anyway? 

Brooklyn Steel is the soon-to-open, large concert hall by Bowery Presents, the folks behind Terminal 5, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Bowery Ballroom. After wading through four years of location scouting, permit approval and construction, the company is ready to unveil its East Williamsburg space, located in a former steel fabrication shop on the corner of Frost and Debevoise Streets. The formerly independent concert company was recently acquired by big-time global conglomerate AEG Live. 

Wait, how large? 

It’s the biggest general-admission space in the borough, actually, with 20,000 square feet of space and an 1,800 person capacity. (For comparison, Webster Hall holds 1,500 partyers.) 

What’s the setup? 

The decor uses elements of the former industrial occupant. For instance, the main lobby bar (there are three in total) is fashioned from scrap metal from the original shop and features repurposed exhaust fans. There are also leftover gantry cranes throughout, which act as a proscenium for the stage and also frame the lobby bar. (The plan is to have a piece from a local artist hanging from its five-ton hook). Brooklyn Steel also boasts a green roof, but don’t expect rooftop cocktails: It’s similar in concept to the one at Barclays Center, built as an eco-friendly way to contain sound.

How do I get there? 

Wear your walking shoes. Anyone who’s done the 15-minute walk from the subway to Terminal 5 knows the feeling. This trek won’t be quite as long: Brooklyn Steel is a half mile from the closest subway (Graham Ave L). You can walk 10 minutes, right? 

I’m vertically challenged. Are sight lines an issue? 

It was designed with sight lines and sound quality in mind. For those stuck in the back, there’s a raised floor for a better view and a mezzanine to get an above-the-fray angle on the show. 

So who’s playing?

Here are the five (currently announced) acts we're most exciting about.

PJ Harvey
The alt-rock icon airs her darkly compelling songwriting—bellowing horns, eerie chanting and all—in support of last year’s The Hope Six Demolition Project, and we expect this show to be the heaviest on Brooklyn Steel’s calendar this year. Apr 20 at 8pm; $65.  

This San Francisco producer draws on the chillwave artists of the late aughts, like Toro y Moi and Washed Out, but sidesteps his influences’ digital lo-fi in favor of high-def, organic tones perfectly suited to test the venue’s sound system. May 3, 4 at 8pm; $35. 

There’s been a string of comebacks from classic ’90s shoegaze institutions recently—see My Bloody Valentine and Ride—the latest of which are these celestial reverb-voyagers. May 8, 9 at 8pm; $35. 

Laura Marling
The U.K. folk star’s spare sounds are ambitious and ominously claustrophobic at the same time. As such, Brooklyn Steel’s industrial-chic decor should be a more fitting scene for the hauntingly grim stylings than the prim and stately Town Hall, her last NYC gig. May 20 at 8pm; $25, at the door $30. 

This indie-gone–feel-good-classic-rock supergroup—created by former members of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Smith Westerns—sold out its NYC dates last year, added more, then sold those out, too. Here’s a show you can actually get a ticket for. May 24 at 8pm; $20. 

Brooklyn Steel (319 Frost St; opens in April.

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