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Save Tonic......Or not?
February 7, 2005 10:08 AM   Subscribe

Tonic Needs $100,000. With shows ranging from Masada to U.S. Maple to Fennesz to Friday's free Bunker, New York's Tonic has become a downtown landmark. But with doubled rent, tripled insurance rates, eviction threats and a collapsed main sewer line, the 7 year-old club may soon end up the way of The Cooler. I don't think I can take the poorly-designed, overly-crowded hipster-trap that is The Knitting Factory as Manhattan's main venue for interesting live music.
Give, gab, or go. Or not?
posted by hellbient (24 comments total)

 
Seeing as they'd probably not even let me in, I'm going to go with, not.
posted by fenriq at 10:24 AM on February 7, 2005


I managed to catch the amazing Hototogisu and White Rok show at Tonic last month while visiting New York. It's a great club, it'd be a shame if it had to close.

fenriq, I'm not sure what you mean. It's a pretty laid back place, with some really far-out performers, I can't imagine them turning anyone away.
posted by cloeburner at 10:37 AM on February 7, 2005


I saw the Fennesz show there a couple years back, classic. Been a few times since. It is a nice venue, but a bit crowded during more popular events. My feelings are uncertain.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:52 AM on February 7, 2005


And Tonic's not a hipster trap?

NYC could definitely use more live venue places that have interesting music as opposed to the Mercury Lounge's and the like that have an ongoing string of uninteresting, no-name bands.

What exactly happened to the Cooler anyhow?
posted by destro at 11:07 AM on February 7, 2005


Hundreds of music venues and thousands of bars have opened and closed in New York City in the last decade. I've been to Tonic: it's just another music hole. Next.

NYC could definitely use more live venue places that have interesting music as opposed to the Mercury Lounge's and the like that have an ongoing string of uninteresting, no-name bands.

This is the stupidest thing I've read on Metafilter today. If you're not seeing good live music, then you're making bad choices. New York City has every kind of music, for every taste and budget, and oodles of listings telling you where, when, and how much.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:22 AM on February 7, 2005


The Cooler fell prey to the Sohofication of the Meatpacking district.
posted by liam at 11:23 AM on February 7, 2005


destro - yeah, Tonic's definitely a hipster trap, but have you been to The Knitting Factory lately? OhMyFuckingGod.

And I've been to plenty of great shows at the Mercury Lounge, FWIW.
posted by hellbient at 11:36 AM on February 7, 2005


Tonic's worth saving. I just wish there was a benefit show I wanted to see. So far nothing piques my interest.

Of course, if their building is in such "ill repair" maybe they should think twice about staying in that dump. (and it is pretty divey). Move to an outer borough: that's where everything's happening these days anyway.
posted by fungible at 12:01 PM on February 7, 2005


Mr. Nickels has got it right. This month, I'm seeing shows at Bowery Ballroom, Carnegie Hall, Southpaw, Tribeca Rock, Irving Plaza, BB King's, the Knitting Factory, and Roseland. If somebody could provide guidance as to which of these are "hipster traps" and which aren't, I'd be curious. I just thought they were places to see music. Interesting music, even.
posted by muckster at 12:31 PM on February 7, 2005


...our rent has doubled since 1998, our insurance costs have tripled, we’ve been robbed, and we’ve been plagued by the expense of maintaining a building in ill repair – including the collapse of our main sewer line.

I still don't understand: why are renters paying for their own maintenance and sewer line? What's up with that?
posted by RJ Reynolds at 12:37 PM on February 7, 2005


I've never been to the Tonic, and I've seen a ton of good shows here in NYC over the years, including several at the Knit (though any true indie music fan will tell you that the old space was better).

Many clubs have come and gone from this town. The Tonic isn't special, nor should it be an exception.
posted by mkultra at 12:46 PM on February 7, 2005


Old 9:30. National acts played in a venue the size of a walk-in closet. Best. Shows. Evar.

Course, this was in DC.
posted by bardic at 1:13 PM on February 7, 2005


I've never been to tonic either, but I've heard lots of recordings made there. If you just want to hear some undefined kind of music I'm sure there's lots of places to go in NYC. But I doubt there are many places where you can hear Kimya Dawson and compositions by Alvin Lucier in the same week. If someone can supply a counterexample of a club with similarly diverse/brave programming, please do (so I can go there on my next visit).
posted by speicus at 1:19 PM on February 7, 2005


I've never been to the Tonic

So clearly, it's not your thing.

Many clubs have come and gone from this town. The Tonic isn't special, nor should it be an exception.

Just because places come and go and we live in hard, capitalist surroundings doesn't mean you should'nt try and preserve what you enjoy.
And These people think it's special. And, an exception from what exactly? It's not like they're applying for 9/11 giveaways, they're just asking for help.

I know this seems like a one-sided post on my part, but I don't necessarily like Tonic anymore than the next guy. They just have good/great bands/nights there sometimes.

old 9:30 - yes. the best. I did alot of growing up there.

And fair enough muckster - hipsters are people too...
posted by hellbient at 1:24 PM on February 7, 2005


Tonic is a good place, but if their rent is tripled and have to maintain a failed sewage system then it just isn't viable. No point in trying to try and survive in a land where real estate prices rise higher than the reasons that made the prices rise in the first place.
posted by destro at 2:13 PM on February 7, 2005


Seeing as they'd probably not even let me in, I'm going to go with, not.

They'd let you in if you pay for a ticket. I've only been there once (since I live in Chicago) but whenever I've checked out their schedules they've always had something interesting going on, more so than the other places I've looked at.
posted by kenko at 2:37 PM on February 7, 2005


hipster?

it's a hole in the wall, covered up by a red curtain, in which there's nothing more than a bar and bare walls and chairs. good to focus on some intense playing. late night sex mob's. ribot's revolvoing open labratory experiments. sometimes something spotaneuos happens on stage. you don't got to be dressed cool to catch it.
posted by oliver_crunk at 8:45 PM on February 7, 2005


Many clubs have come and gone from this town. The Tonic isn't special, nor should it be an exception.

With a long, rich history dating back to 1998, I don't know how you can say that!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:31 AM on February 8, 2005


hipster?

yeah, I really wouldn't go with this term either. It's the kind of place where there are often shows without any words at all, weird jazzy ensembles minus the banter. I once saw thurston moore and some 17 year old drummer kid he'd discovered jam for like an hour there. Also saw god is my co-pilot do a midnight show a couple months back. Mercury Lounge et al run some great shows, but if you just show up on a random night, it will often be pretty straightforward regular ole rocknroll, whereas tonic gets a bit more experimental.

But if costs have gone up and revenue hasn't, I don't know how much fundraising can do, except stave off the inevitable for a tiny bit.
posted by mdn at 5:13 AM on February 8, 2005


It wouldn't be the end of the world if Tonic closes, but I would certainly miss it. The shows there are good, the room, though bare, is pleasant (which is more than i can say for the claustrophobic Mercury Lounge), and they occasionally serve sangria. Also downstairs they have those great oak barrels in which to discuss the show after the show. Not the end of the world, no, but a bigtime bummer for sure.

The only thing to keep Fenriq from going to Tonic would have to be either his age or his self esteem. And they have all age shows, don't they?
posted by Lady Penelope at 7:54 AM on February 8, 2005


Hey, no matter what Tonic's failings might be (and I note that I haven't been there, though I've made it to most of the others on muckster's list), at least it isn't the fucking Knitting Factory. I hate that place.
posted by Vidiot at 11:50 AM on February 8, 2005


Vidiot, you honed in on my secret motivation for this post - to bitch about the Knitting Factory...

Maybe Fenriq:
a) lives in California
b) attacked John Zorn
c) has velvet rope phobia
d) smells really, really bad
e) has Heckler's Tourettes
f) something I haven't thought of that's going to make me look really insensitive.
posted by hellbient at 3:08 PM on February 8, 2005


Old 9:30. National acts played in a venue the size of a walk-in closet. Best. Shows. Evar.
Course, this was in DC.


Salad Days, eh?

me = jealous.
posted by Busithoth at 10:21 AM on February 19, 2005


There's a place on 4th Ave. in Brooklyn called the Lyceum. It's not in an intimate neighborhood like Tonic, or even the K-Factory, but it's also not likely to be gentrified out-of-existence. It's right on the R Train.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2005


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