Over the past 12 years or so, the New York City concert landscape has changed pretty significantly. CBGB’s, of course, closed back in 2006. Other venues, like The Continental, Brownies and Luna Lounge followed suit, while the Knitting Factory moved to Brooklyn. Now another New York City venue has announced that they’re closing up shop, as Times Square venue B.B. King Blues Club & Grill will be shutting down on April 29th.
While, as the club’s name states, they specialized in blues, but there were also plenty of rock and metal shows that rolled through. Buckethead just played there, and bands including Doro, Y&T, and Ace Frehley have played there in the past year or so. Motorhead graced the stage of the 1000-capacity venue back in 2005 as well. The reason for the closing? The rising rent, which has also forced many of the aforementioned clubs out of business. Here’s an excerpt from COO Tsion Bensusan taken from a press release:
It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share the news about B.B. King Blues Club’s closing. Despite many sold out shows, the location’s rent escalated to an unsustainable level, leaving us no choice but to close our doors. Unfortunately, this has become a growing trend in New York City, with other iconic music venues and businesses falling victim to opportunistic property owners. This venue’s legacy extends much further than the stage, playing a role in Times Square’s revitalization two decades ago. It is a shame that wasn’t taken into consideration regarding its future in the area. Nevertheless, we feel extremely grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from both fans and artists over the years to create some truly historic and incredible memories in this space. We hope that we can find a new place to call home very soon so we can continue bringing live music to you all.
It’s encouraging that they’re planning on continuing on elsewhere. Hopefully they’ll be able to find a new location. And while it’s unfortunate that the NYC area is potentially losing another venue, at least there’s another one popping up, as the former Brownie’s spot on Avenue A, which had been a bar called HiFi for the past 15 years, will be reopening soon as Coney Island Baby in May.