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The Felice Brothers

Spiegeltent didn’t return after the summer of 2008.

Spiegeltent is located on Pier 17, Manhattan, at Beekman & South Street.  A cross between a Viking dining hall and a Weimar-era cabaret club, it is located just north of the big Pier 17 mall and South Street Seaport.  Dutch for ‘mirror tent’, a spiegeltent was a traveling tent/venue in Belgium around the turn of the century, constructed of wood, canvas, and mirrors, designed to serve as movable hall for places that didn’t have one.  There are a number of ‘nostalgia’ spiegeltents in Europe, and a few in America at semi-permanent locations.  New York’s ‘Spiegelworld’, now in its third season, expanded to three tents this year, located above the similarly wooden pier, and just off the East River.

The entrance to the Spiegelworld complex can be a little hard to find, located on a pier, far from the street, and surrounded by bamboo fencing.  But, once past the entrance, the central, open-air area of Spiegelworld has an interesting mix of carnival, tiki bar, bordello and more atmosphere – something that is much heightened when one actually enters the Spiegeltent stage, to the far left of the entrance (back towards the street, away from the river).  The stage floor area beneath the tent is ringed in a circle by wooden pillars and booths (a sign at each says they sit eight people to a booth, and encourages people to “Please get to know” your fellow patrons).  The bar is located just past the entrance, with the stage itself on the other end, a few feet above and into the slightly depressed central stage floor.

Still more known for its burlesque and cabaret shows than actual concerts (including features in The New York Times and The Economist), the addition of the third tent has allowed the venue to grow and improve (including no longer having to hold concerts after other events, forcing them into near-midnight start times, even on weeknights).  The bands naturally tend towards the more artistic, as well as often times rooted in the turn of the century atmosphere of the place (whether throwback- or modern-sounding).  The sound system and especially the lighting are superior to what one would expect from such a semi-temporary venue; the light show and smoke machine are both used particularly well, a constant fog above the crowd (yet not obscuring the musicians), while the lights, instead of strobe-annoying, utilize the fog to create a compelling visual.  The circular nature of the tent also means that it is relatively easy to find a spot to watch from, by going around the sides, even virtually behind the out-jutted stage (and the booths provide benches upon which to stand to see clearer, if necessary).  The ticket and drink prices are higher than the size would indicate (while there are a wide range of mixed drinks, their beers are their own brands), but the bands are a notch up as well.  While still a seasonal venue, Spiegeltent has a longer season than fully outdoor venue likes next-door South Street Seaport or even paid places like Central Park Summerstage (more akin to, but still longer than, semi-outdoor Rocks Off Concert Cruise), going into November.  But it’s far less a hybrid than something completely new and original (at least on this side of the Atlantic), an experience as much as a place.  If any band you’re even remotely interested in plays here (or even if they’re not), it’s well worth going under the tent.

600 (total)



Pier 17 at Beekman & South Street

By Subway:

A, C, E, 2, 3, 4, 5, J, M & Z trains to Fulton St. – walk 6 blocks east to South Street, 1 block north

QRO Coverage:

-The Felice Brothers, November 2nd, 2008 – live review, photos

-The Dodos, September 29th, 2008 – photos

-Shout Out Louds, July 16th, 2007 – live review, photos

The Dodos

Live Videos:

The Felice Brothers – “Ruby Mae”, New York, NY, 11/2/08
The Felice Brothers – “I’m Saved”, New York, NY, 11/2/08
The Felice Brothers – “Penn Station”, New York, NY, 11/2/08
The Dodos – “The Season”, New York, NY, 9/29/08
The Dodos – “It’s That Time Again”, New York, NY, 9/29/08

Venue Reviews

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