Thursday, November 30, 2006

house of blues a sour note for silver spring

BUT FIRST: My piece on Galway might have to wait, but plan to see some pretty pictures of the Forest Glen Seminary tomorrow . . .

The House of Blues, a "chain of concert venues" located in such classy places as Atlantic City and North Myrtle Beach, has made plans to open a concert hall by the D.C. Convention Center, which might worry some Silver Spring residents hoping for a second branch of the Birchmere to take over the old J.C. Penney store (pictured) on Colesville Road.

And while the Birchmere has built its reputation on booking folk acts, they also feature a healthy amount of alternative rockers like Aimee Mann or local band Virginia Coalition. These are the same kind of artists that play at other area clubs such as the 9:30 Club, the Black Cat - and House of Blues locations such as the one in Chicago, where Senses Fail and Better Than Ezra will be showing up in December.

That's some healthy competition right there, especially between locally-based businesses that serve a limited population (each of these venues holds about a thousand) and a national chain. "We will lose half of our business, at least," says Seth Hurwitz, manager of the 9:30 Club, while Michael Jaworek, promoter for the Birchmere calls the ensuing struggle for acts "a case of Darwinism."

We'll have to see if the Birchmere actually plans to locate in Downtown Silver Spring, but with the entrance of House of Blues into the local concert scene, creating that "Broadway effect" on Colesville might be more difficult than we previously thought.

2 comments:

chaz said...

I don't have any privileged info, but there is a Birchmere sign outside the old JC Penney, so they do plan on moving here... at least they've made more of a concrete step than Old Dominion.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

I saw the Birchmere sign, too.

The House of Blues coming in doesn't necessarily mean that Birchmere Silver Spring will fail. We're just going to have a MUCH livelier music scene within easy reach.