I’m not sure I knew Webster Hall was a concert venue until pretty late in life. To me it was always the weird, sprawling nightclub with different themed rooms, the only one of which I recall being the “jungle room,” where the club pumped the latest in hip-hop. That was my room (despite its somewhat dicey, some might say sorta racist, moniker). It was the 90s, so there was probably a disco room (because the current decade always seems to be obsessed with time two decades prior) and maybe a techno room or whatever. It was so integrated into our lives that Ms. Hipster had her bachelorette party there. Right there in the jungle room. But this isn’t that. This is the ballroom. The place I didn’t know existed, but now am glad that I do. Because it’s a pretty great concert venue.
So, my one experience with this concert hall is seeing The Cold War Kids on a Tuesday night. Not my choice of show. Not the night of the week I would suggest seeing anything. It turns out that mid-week concerts are not the most energetic affairs. At least this one wasn’t. But that wasn’t Webster Hall’s fault. No, the place is an old-school, classy concert venue with the classic general floor, balcony setup. The sound was also remarkably good for a space that holds about 1,400 people. Certainly a bigger hall than I would normally like, but it seems they’ve tweaked whatever baffling and hard/soft surfaces to make the sound intimate despite the room’s larger dimensions. Larger compared to a Mercury Lounge or Bowery Ballroom, I mean. It seems to really hit that sweet spot between the smaller spaces and something like the larger, cavernous meh-fest of Terminal 5. It’s a skosh larger than Irving Plaza, but doesn’t have that invasive overhang at the back of the room and the limited site lines when you’re under 6′ 5″. The stage itself isn’t hemmed in by your typical theater stage box; it sticks out into the room in a very inviting way, giving great access to the performers. Granted, this is a more sedentary type joint, what with the seats and stuff. But I said it was classy, didn’t I?
So what have we learned here? Well, sometimes when your spouse wants to see a show, and you’re just not feeling it, perhaps you should beg off and spend the night streaming something that doesn’t involve a train ride and several eighteen-dollar drinks. But for the sake of your marriage and the fact it’s cool your wife wants to see live music, you should go anyway. And there are way worse places to spend a Tuesday night than at a really pleasant venue like Webster Hall.