14 May 2008

Mon Boeuf Avec Terminal 5

Terminal 5 is a pretty new NYC venue. Its down on 56th street by the West Side Highway. I believe its the old Club Exit which was a thump thump club that probably didn't even open until 1 or 2 AM. What fun!

I recall passing by many times early on a Monday or Friday morning on my way to WNEW and I'd see these idiots just then stumbling out to hail a cab. At the red light I'd count my stars I wasn't them and blast 1010 WINS.

So I went to see The Hold Steady and Art Brut at Terminal 5 a few months ago. A friend of mine was in town from Wales and for weeks I'd been extolling the virtues of Craig Finn's lyrics. "You have to hear this guy", I'd say, "His lyrics are insane; they're brilliant. It’s like a reading great book with AC/DC in the background." Naturally, she was intrigued as I never speak that highly of anything really.

So we get to the show and it sucked. The band may very well have rocked but I'd have no idea really. The place is fucking ENORMOUS; like an airplane hangar with a fresh coat of white paint. There were lots of places to hide; like 3 floors of carpeted dance club, balconies galore but everywhere we went the sound was just atrocious; cavernous and mired by a nasty case of big club echo. We tried every floor and just about every corner looking for a perfect spot. There were none to be had. Sightlines, sure, that Terminal 5 has; its amazing for that actually, you can see the stage from pretty much everywhere and if some Thurston Moore steps in front of you, you can find a new spot on a different floor which is cozy and unique for a NYC club.

Now I see The Faint is playing there in August and I'm bummed. I love me some Faint. But I shudder to think what they'll sound like at Terminal 5.

The Hold Steady show was back in November so maybe its gotten better since then, I dunno. It seemed pretty new when we were there. But I left that club thinking this place was built to either a) store old 747's or b) store thump thump kids high on bad west side methylenedioxymethamphetamine. It was not meant to house rock concerts or bands with good lyrics that you'd like to hear. I wondered if Terminal 5 was named after Heathrow's Terminal 5 because it would certainly make sense.

I felt awful for the girl from Wales. Here I had dragged her to this spot on the other side of the world to hear one of my favorite lyricists and all we could make it was "Art. Brut. Top of the Pops!"