Lorne Grabe – The Bowery Presents
L-Acoustics Proves Its Mettle At Brooklyn Steel
Leading New York City-based national concert promoter The Bowery Presents (TBP) opened its latest live music venue, Brooklyn Steel, a new 20,000 square-foot space in East Williamsburg, New York, in Spring of 2017. The 1,800-capacity music venue contains the main floor, balcony, forty restrooms, and three bars. The impressive predominantly steel venue’s name was inspired by its industrial vibe and the fact that it was originally used as a steel manufacturing plant. Much of the steel from the original building was repurposed for the venue.
Turning a 20,000 square-foot ex-steel manufacturing facility into a world-class live entertainment venue can pose quite a few challenges, specifically when trying to manage varying audience sizes. Design and installation crew, The Bowery Presents, patterned the installation after a similar rig at Terminal 5, a 3,000-capacity venue in Manhattan in which the promoter also operates. The management desired to scale the stage and the audience’s size, with the added challenge of noise restrictions on the surrounding neighborhood and property line. According to TBP’s Scott Raved, they had to contain the audio with the volumes they needed inside and be compliant with New York City code on the outside. Highly predictable results are required when committing to an entirely new sound system, and there is no room for mistakes.
When construction began in 2016, the venue became outfitted with L-Acoustics K2 line arrays, plus delays and stage monitors. To solve the issue of scaling the stage to the audience’s size, a remote-controlled gantry crane retained from the former steel fabrication business enables flown arrays to be repositioned, along with a movable 50,000-pound steel and concrete stage. Utilizing L-Acoustics’ prediction software, Soundvision, Scott was able to work out where the stage and gantry crane were going to be. Use of the variable horizontal Panflex in the installed K2, combined with the 22db of rear cancellation afforded by the K1SB flown upstage of the K2, and the KS28 ground-mounted subwoofers in cardioid contributed significantly toward the predictability and pinpoint accuracy of the sound systems deployment.
The best solution for roof containment was a green roof, which allowed the team to go higher than code to incorporate a sizable air gap. The mass of the green roof, coupled with the air gap, is sufficient to contain the low end. Windows along one wall facing nearby residences were replaced with concrete-filled blocks and more interior acoustic treatment.
When Brooklyn Steel opened on April 6, 2017, they began with a five-night run of sold-out concerts by American rock band LCD Soundsystem. Afterward, they announced 30 shows that included talents such as The Decemberists, PJ Harvey, Chairlift, Goldfrapp, Whitney, Mitski, Tycho, Slowdive, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and others. The venue was put on the map as one of the best live club entertainment spaces, and in 2018 was named one of the ten best live music venues in America by Rolling Stone Magazine, thanks to its solid sound from L-Acoustics.
Brooklyn Steel hosts world-class artists who demand the best in live sound reinforcement systems. When developing the venue, The Bowery Presents selected the L-Acoustic K2 system to deliver on those demands and it has done so every single time, without fail.
Production Manager, Brooklyn Steel