Las Vegas, you say you like shiny new toys, but you’ve got a strange way of showing it. We’re talking, at the moment, about Brooklyn Bowl, the 7-week-old music venue, restaurant and bar near the east end of the Linq. Still haven’t been? You aren’t the only one.
Though some of the Bowl’s concerts have been packed—The Roots (with and without Elvis Costello) and Phil Lesh and Friends come to mind—and other strong draws lie ahead on the room’s loaded concert calendar (this weekend’s Primus shows and next week’s Jane’s Addiction run, for example), we’ve seen enough empty floor space to make us uncomfortable. What if bookers take our town’s apparent indifference as a sign they should cut back on the sort of cool, nowhere-but-there happenings that have made Brooklyn Bowl’s arrival so exciting for those of us who’ve already been over and over again?
Reached Monday by phone, owner Peter Shapiro didn’t sound worried, speaking instead about long-term vision: “We’re building a culture, and if you don’t keep building, they won’t come.” He said he’d suspected late-night shows by Soulive, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Galactic wouldn’t put a major dent in his joint’s 2,000 capacity, and that he has no plans to ditch what he views as critical counter-programming to the Strip’s dominant DJ afterhours scene. But he conceded that multi-night mini-residencies could begin giving way to single performances, and that other experiments, like Robert Randolph’s “super-late-night” sets, might not be repeated.
That’s no major crime, in and of itself. As long as Brooklyn Bowl keeps serving tasty food, quality music and reasonably priced tickets and drinks, we’re there as often as humanly possible. But—and this is where you guys come in—it’s time to show some support, so Shapiro and his crew don’t get the wrong idea.
We’re not asking you to do anything unpleasant. The Bowl’s been booking excellent acts, even if folks here haven’t heard of them—the sort that pack tents at New Orleans’ Jazz Fest and clubs in New York and San Francisco. The Linq is easy to find under that giant wheel in the sky, and Brooklyn Bowl frequently lets locals bowl for free and offers discounted tickets to anyone who turns up.
But we can’t haul you down there. For one thing, our cars are too small. If you’re a fan of live music, you owe it to yourself to check the place out. Or three years from now, we might be talking about that cool spot that used to do shows every night of the week. And we won’t mean the Huntridge or Book & Stage.