It’s Low Beat Time
It’s got a sign, a Facebook page and, by all accounts, a pretty sweet interior makeover. All that’s left is to add the music. After a season of confusion, controversy, new plans and new excitement, the next couple weeks will mark Howard Glassman’s final transition from the long-standing and legendary Valentine’s Music Hall and Beer Joint (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany) to the Low Beat, his new venture as a venue owner at 335 Central Ave.
As Metroland and others have reported over the past few months, Glassman was informed that Valentine’s would be slated for sale and demolition in advance of the Albany Medical Center neighborhood expansion plan. The beloved rock club has since featured a cavalcade of farewell shows as Glassman and company began to break the space down and rehab the new space, which was formerly Cagney’s and sits next door to Pauly’s Hotel.
The final farewells will take place this weekend. Tonight (Thursday, Feb. 6) the Grassroots Rebels will play downstairs on the infamous No Pepper stage. On Friday (Feb. 7) UAlbany student radio station WCDB, who have booked some of the space’s most celebrated bills, will throw their final shindig with Slowshine, Secret Release and Bear Grass. The show is being affectionately billed as Bad Friday. Finally, on Saturday night (Feb. 8), dun dun dun, the “Thank You and Goodbye” final Valentine’s show ever will be played by two bands who have as much right to call the venue home as anyone else: Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned and The Parlor. Afterward, the dancing will continue at midnight with a final ’80s Night.
But then it’s off to Central Avenue for us, where the Low Beat has the possibility of sparking a mini music district in its proximity to Pauly’s and the Linda. On Feb. 15, the Erotics will play their 18th annual Valentine’s Day Massacre show at the Low Beat with Black Cat Elliot, NY Jaded and Skull Bandit, a show that was originally scheduled for Valentine’s but now gets the honor of breaking in the new stage. As of yet, no other shows have been announced, so keep on the lookout for the big official rollout.
The Low Beat takes its name from a 1992 song by Seattle alt-rockers Young Fresh Fellows (from their album It’s Low Beat Time). Glassman seems especially partial to the band, as his WEXT radio show The Fabulous Sounds takes its name from their 1984 debut. To me, the name nicely echoes the way tastemaking LA club Low End Theory adopted the vibe and moniker of the seminal Tribe Called Quest record. If Albany is destined for neo-grunge glory then the Low Beat is as good a bet as any. Stay tuned.
More Troy Trouble
While Troy residents and social justice advocates organized for Tuesday’s anti-police brutality march and Public Safety Committee meeting, and Troy city officials scrambled to respond to questionable actions taken by Troy police officers at Kokopellis bar and nightclub in late January (read Newsfront, page 6 for more), 51 3rd St. was made a surprise casualty of the incident.
On Friday (Jan. 31) an eviction notice was posted on the DIY venue’s door, claiming the building lacks a certificate of occupancy. The space, owned by RPI professor and Yes Men co-leader Igor Vamos, is a mixed-use space with apartments upstairs. Tenant Rachel Carter said she was surprised to arrive home to the notice, then “I was immediately filled with the very distressing concern of potentially being homeless. Like most people, I don’t have a plan B.”
“There is no question that there is selective enforcement going on here,” Vamos said, claiming that comments on a local blog supporting the police action named 51 3rd as the hub of police protests and made specific allegations of code violations the night before the eviction notice was posted. “The building was not the hub of organizing,” Vamos says, although one meeting was held there, “and it is not in violation of city code.”
Although Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia has claimed that “politics and code should never mix,” Vamos says he is not surprised by the act, given the city’s prior use of code enforcement as a response to political dissent. And until Vamos meets with city officials next week, it’s unclear what will need to be done to bring the space into compliance. Until then, Vamos says, “The residential space is not affected, as far as I know. Any events that residents have planned are stopping while this is figured out.”