Knitting Factory Moving From Manhattan To Brooklyn, Boise, Spokane
“The Knitting Factory has struggled to define itself ever since it lost its emphasis as a center for avant-garde jazz,” said Tom Windish, a booking agent whose roster includes indie stars like Animal Collective, Hot Chip and Justice. “The quality of the lineups went down as the distance from their roots increased.”
In New York competition for bookings has grown fierce with the rise of a turf war among the dominant concert promoters, Live Nation and The Bowery Presents, leaving less powerful clubs squeezed out.
…The programming in Boise and Spokane is more conservative than in New York and Los Angeles, mixing alternative acts like Otep and the Faint with decidedly mainstream offerings like Ted Nugent and Puddle of Mudd. Mr. Hoffman said his goal was to “continue to expand into the heartland” with more concerts and more clubs, and to use the Knitting Factory’s reputation to draw acts through its clubs in the Northwest.
…The Williamsburg location, which Mr. Hoffman said he hoped to open in “four to nine months,” will bring the club closer to a young audience long ago priced out of Lower Manhattan.
And to develop new acts it is deliberately getting smaller. As part of the renovations of the Luna Lounge, Mr. Hoffman said, capacity will be reduced, to lessen the pressure to draw big audiences every night, and bring the Knitting Factory back to its roots as a club that could take risks.
“In very exciting ways it would be a return to the old Knitting Factory,” he said. “We want to do something smaller and more radical and more revolutionary again.”
The idea of funding “more revolutionary” stuff through a larger scale operation is an admirable one, but if things don’t go as well as hoped, one would assume that more arcane, less profitable side of the Knitting Factory will fall before the branch that’s trying to compete with the Fillmore and LiveNation.