Lansdowne Street blues

HOB-nobbing
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  February 6, 2008

082008_hob_main

The first House of Blues opened in Harvard Square in 1992. Soon after, the narrow second-floor club became the smallest venue in the ever-expanding company’s chain — not to mention the only House of Blues that actually specialized in blues and roots music. It was shuttered in the fall of 2003. But the company — which has 11 House of Blues clubs across North America and a 12th being built in Houston — always promised that, like the Terminator, it would be back. And it will be, when the space on Lansdowne Street that has housed Patrick Lyons’s clubs for more than a quarter century — most recently, Avalon and Axis — reopens for business.

The HOB chain, which was bought out in 2006 by Bigfoot event-producer (and Clear Channel stepchild) Live Nation, has leased the Fenway real estate from Lyons, who will continue to consult about rebuilding plans. Lyons’s company, That’s Entertainment Inc., closed the club complex in October, after one last Dropkick Murphys show. He was planning to construct a new multi-use facility, the Lansdowne Music Hall, from what had been Avalon, Axis, and the Embassy bar. Instead, he accepted an offer from the House of Blues, which has plans for a $14 million, 50–55,000-square-foot facility. It will incorporate a 2500-plus concert hall (with 400 seats and VIP boxes), a casual HOB restaurant, and an upscale Foundation Room dining area. HOB senior vice-president Aidan Scully says the latter will be “eclectic” and feature “five-star dining.”

Scully, who managed the Cambridge House of Blues for five years and is now based in Cleveland, says the chain is “aggressively targeting the end of the year for opening.” Renovation should begin within the next week.

“The general space plan is done,” he says. “We’re working on tweaking the look and feel. First and foremost, we want it to be unlike anything Boston has in terms of a live-music experience, to make it a fantastic opportunity to enjoy sightlines, ambience, and sound.”

Scully says the building’s façade will more or less remain as is. And, like the large House of Blues complexes in Los Angeles, Chicago, and even New Orleans, the club will likely book the same kind of national touring rock acts that Avalon and Axis catered to, rather than the kind of blues artists who were the mainstays at the Cambridge location.

Lansdowne Street is not all the company has planned for New England. It will open another House of Blues at Mohegan Sun in 2010. What they all will share, Scully says, is that none will have a “cookie cutter” design and all will be open to different genres of music.

  Topics: This Just In , Entertainment, Music, Dropkick Murphys,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY JIM SULLIVAN
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   INTERVIEW: CARL HIAASEN  |  July 22, 2010
    Novelist Carl Hiaasen likes to create scenarios where very bad and tremendously satisfying things happen to despicable people: crooked politicians, real-estate scammers, environment despoilers, greedy bastards of all stripes.
  •   AFTER IMAGES  |  May 28, 2010
    Karen Finley won’t be naked, or covered in chocolate. Candied yams will not be involved. If there are neighborhood morality-watch squads in Salem, they’ll have the night off.
  •   INTERVIEW: SARAH SILVERMAN  |  April 23, 2010
    Recently, “Sarah” — the character played by Sarah Silverman on Comedy Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program — was upset because in today’s world it just wasn’t safe anymore for children to get into strangers’ vans.
  •   TATTOO YOU  |  April 06, 2010
    Dr. Lakra is no more a real doctor than is Dr. Dre or Dr. Demento. The 38-year-old Mexican tattoo artist’s real name is Jerónimo López Ramírez. As for “lakra,” it means “delinquent.” Or so I thought.
  •   INTERVIEW: DAMON WAYANS  |  February 16, 2010
    "Right now, my intent is not to offend. I just want to laugh. I want to suspend reality."

 See all articles by: JIM SULLIVAN