The Bowery Presents: New Jersey’s Theatre Revival

bowery presentsBowery Presents has taken its first step outside the city limits in their quest for World domination.  Will they become a hated behemoth like Live Nation?  For now, they’ve joined up with promoter Andy Feltz to create Montclair Entertainment, and that’s just what they’ll do; bring music to the historic Wellmont Theater in Montclair, New Jersey in November.

Originally opened in 1922, converted to a movie house in 1929, and triplexed in the 1970’s, Wellmont Theatre closed its doors in 2006.  It has now been renovated with all the state-of-the-art music venue accoutrement.  Steely Dan will no doubt be happy about this when they play there on November 17th and 18th.  Astoria’s favorite son, Tony Bennett, will be tickled by the historical touch of class this theatre will bring his already swank crooning on November 19th.  I know what you’re thinking, “Bowery Presents? Where’s the indie-rock?”  Well, Wolf Parade and The Decemberists (lead singer, Colin Meloy, pictured above) will also pass through, in addition to other hipster favorites like Al Green and Brian Wilson.

One change to the 2,000-seat Wellmont Theatre that’ll please concert-goers is the removal of floor seating to offer both the rockin’ standing room only and the balcony seating.  It worked for the serfs and the upper crust at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, so why not try it in Jersey?  It’s always a little more special seeing anything in an old theatre, surrounded by Corinthian columns, waiting for the grand stage and its performers to be revealed by the heavy velvet curtain—and The Bowery folks do have a great reputation for preserving the charm of the venues (Beacon Theatre, United Palace Theatre) their concerts inhabit. Doors open the first of November with the ever-dreamy Hanson.

Calendar of Events

Hanson with Dave Barnes     11/01/08 Saturday
Matisyahu with Flobots, Mishka     11/02/08 Sunday
The Decemberists with Loch LoMond 11/11/08 Tuesday
Wolf Parade with Listening Party     11/14/08 Friday
Martin Sexton with Ryan Montbleau Band 11/15/08 Saturday
Steely Dan     11/17/08 Monday
Steely Dan     11/18/08 Tuesday
Tony Bennett     11/19/08 Wed
Al Green     11/22/08 Saturday
Brian Wilson     11/23/08 Sunday
B.B. King     12/04/08 Thursday
John Prine     12/05/08 Friday
Get The Led Out     12/06/08 Saturday
Rufus Wainwright     02/13/09 Friday

How to get there:  On weekdays, take the New Jersey Transit Montclair-Boonton line from Penn Station to Walnut St. Station. Walk south on Greenwood Ave., right on Glenridge Ave., left on N Willow St., and right on Bloomfield Ave. Unfortunately, the line does not currently run on weekends (but should start sometime in 2009). So on Saturdays and Sundays take the Main Line to Delawanna or Lyndhurst Station and take 15 minute cab ride from there to the theater. Call Montclair Taxi: 973.744.6778 or other local services. Check the train schedules on the New Jersey Transit website. (Wellmont Theatre, 5 Seymour St., Montclair, NJ, 973.783.9500 or 877.935.5668 for tickets,

Photo: Courtesy of richt/tlobf