Backstage Bar Now Open at 152 Orchard Street; Plus CMJ Showcase

Posted on: October 21st, 2010 at 6:12 am by

Live music lives on at 152 Orchard Street.  It’s almost as if the Doghouse Saloon never even existed. Those short-lived nine months but a fleeting memory.  Now three months after the closure of the hot dog frathole, the owners of Backstage Bar, who are also behind Crash Mansion, pick up where the Annex left off.  And they are psyched to return this space to the local music scene.  CMJ is their unofficial opening party.

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We stopped by last night to assess the new venue, and decided to stick around for part of the CULTURE OF ME showcase. While open for CMJ, Backstage Bar itself is nevertheless pretty rough around the edges. Indeed, much of the interior is still under construction – the current iteration of the stage is temporary, the bar itself is still in the works, and random wires and such remain visible.  According to one employee, the final product should be ready within the next couple weeks.

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Backstage Bar improves on the deficiencies of its forebear.  Most notable is the elimination of the retaining wall near the entrance, which completely opens up the venue. To help control noise from bands, there is now a vestibule of sorts once you pass through those wooden double-doors. In addition, the cellar space has been transformed into its own bar/lounge with separate access point to the street.

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As for the bands we saw last night?  Well, we only caught two – Nightmare & the Cat and Reni Lane.

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For Nightmare & the Cat, it was their debut New York City gig. Hailing from Los Angeles via London, the brothers Stewart and LA native Claire Acey collectively craft unusual vocal melodies paired with driving grooves. There were some jitters in their performance and crowd response was a bit tepid, but overall it was pretty decent for a first show in a new town.  Standout track: “Sara Beth.”  You can catch them in another CMJ showcase tonight at Fontana’s.

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Reni Lane wasn’t as reserved. Her performance was sexual and in-your-face.  From the opening riff, her energy was past eleven on the dial, whether it was dedicating a song to the security guy or singing from atop the bar. Standout track: “Place for Us.”

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