New York, NY (October 27, 2021)—New York City is a tough place to start an independent venue. The city that never sleeps offers a thousand entertainment options at any given moment, and when it comes to live music, most of the best places to see a concert are already aligned with major promoters like Live Nation or AEG. Anthony Makes knows—he’s worked for both companies, most recently as the president of Live Nation’s New York office. Now out on his own, Makes and partner Kelly Winrich of the Americana band Delta Spirit just opened Brooklyn Made, a brand-new, 500-capacity venue, at the end of September.
Winrich and Makes purchased the former warehouse site in January and gutted it with the aim of building the ultimate artist-friendly venue. “Kelly has toured the world for the last 15 years, and there’s a couple of places he thinks are awesome,” says Makes. “He knows the way acts feel about playing those venues, so we wanted to create that in Brooklyn.”
When tours land at Brooklyn Made, they’re greeted by a venue with its own private pool, an artists’ apartment on the second floor, four green rooms, a deck with Manhattan skyline views and more. Of course, amenities are nice, but money talks—and artists get that, too, says Makes: “We give the whole gross of the ticket sales to them, and find other avenues to make money on.” Those other avenues include an on-site bar/restaurant, Connie’s, that’s open until 4AM regardless of whether there’s a show, and starting next year, Standing Room, a breakfast café that will become a tapas bar midday until late at night.
With artists and crews covered, the team put equal emphasis on ensuring audiences have a good time, too, working with integrator Technical Arts Group to install a house audio system spec’d by Kevin Winrich, Delta Spirit’s FOH engineer (and, yes, Kelly Winrich’s brother).
“When I first walked into the venue, the first thing I noticed was how wide it is compared to its depth, which presents a particular challenge for a front-of-house engineer,” said Kevin Winrich. “I started thinking, ‘Okay, we’ll need a left-right line array, but also side line arrays, and then maybe a center cluster…’ and that got very crazy very quickly. More importantly, the venue doesn’t have the highest ceilings—if you hang a four-box array, you’re immediately blocking half the line of sight for the audience, so that wasn’t going to be acceptable.”
Based on experiences he’d had with different P.A. systems while on tour, Winrich called Mike Kurcab in business development at d&b audiotechnik. “He’s the one who suggested Soundscape as a solution because it gives you a consistent stereo image no matter where you are in the venue, which it hurts my brain to think about, but it does it,” said Winrich. “It can localize the band to their positions on stage, so it provides this consistent experience, which, to me as an engineer, is the end goal. With Soundscape, we can achieve the same or an even better result with point source boxes horizontally oriented and relatively high up on the ceiling, allowing us to maintain that line of sight but also provide plenty of coverage.” Further d&b systems are expected to be deployed in the loft apartment and in a courtyard shared by the venue and eateries.
Also key to the house system are two Avid VENUE S6L-24D consoles sharing head amps through a VENUE Stage 64: “We recently did a support tour with Nathaniel Rateliff, and the whole run I had an Avid Profile, but then the last three shows we had at Red Rocks, they gave me an S6L and the difference was mind-blowing. They’ve improved their preamps, their A/D; everything is so much better. At Brooklyn Made, we’ve also included Waves SoundGrid in our system with the Pro Show bundle, which is every plug-in you could ever want on an S6L. Engineers walking in, I want them to be like, ‘Oh, my God, I never get to use this, this and this, all in one venue.’”
So far, the plan to make artists and audiences want to come back soon is working. The opening month alone saw Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, The Budos Band, Nathaniel Rateliff, Band of Horses, Jesse Malin, Trombone Shorty and others grace the new stage—an opening lineup that is a testament, says Makes, to the venue’s approach. “We built this place to get a lot of underplays, and I think that’s going to continue to happen.”