UNION TRANSFER: PHILADELPHIA’S HOT NEW VENUE


Philadelphia just got a little bit cooler. The weather may still be hot and sweaty, but it’s now official–our fair city’s got itself a brand new concert venue to get excited about. The opening of Union Transfer, on September 21st, will be celebrated with a set by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah–a triumphant debut to Philly’s live music scene. The details are staggering. What’s not surprising is that R5 productions, Philly’s premiere independent music booking company, indeed has its hands in the pot, and then there’s the partnership with Bowery Presents and Four Corners Management. Bowery Presents, if you didn’t know, is one of New York City’s most powerful music venue giants (Music Hall of Williamsburg, Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, etc.), while Four Corners adds a slightly stranger element to this recipe. FC owns Lucy’s Hat Shop as well as the notorious Drinker’s Pub/Tavern empire; needless to say, this new venue is going to be swank because it’s clearly got some money behind it…

The space itself is where the old Spaghetti Warehouse used to be, on 10th and Spring Garden. It will hold as few as 600 and as many as 1,000 people at a time with (seriously advertised) booming central air, 200 parking spots, bike lock-up opportunities, and a strong line-up of fall and winter shows already booked. On top of all this, there’s also talk of a pimped out space with an ultimate sound system. Could this be? In a city full of awkward spaces, crappy or unreliable sound, and over-priced tickets (we’re lookin’ at you, Electric Factory), we’re finally getting what we’ve waited for? Just about every ticket is advertised as under $20. And, as a bonus, you can score these tickets surcharge free at AKA Records, just like all the other R5 shows.


Ok, now let’s talk dates. September sure is starting off strong with the CYHSY show, and then, on the 28th and 29th of the month, you can catch Mogwai with The Soft Moon, then it’s Shellac and Helen Money. October is where UT should really start hitting its stride with dates from: RJD2 (14th), Wild Flag (19th), Gillian Welch (20th), CSS and Men (21st), Dum Dum Girls with the Crocodiles and Royal Baths (23rd), FRIENDLY FIRES (25th!), and finally, Boris with Asobi Seksu (28th). Perhaps most exciting of all is the St. Vincent show on the 2nd of November, and, shortly after, The Sea and Cake on the 9th.


There’s no telling what kind of acts will start showing up in weeks to come to fill in the gaps of an already impressively booked fall. Thank you for answering our non-denominational prayer/chants, Gods of Philadelphia live music. We promise to honor your presence by getting drunk, sweaty, and ecstatic at the Friendly Fires show in earnest.

–BILL CHENEVERT
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