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Best Rock Club New York 2009 - (le) poisson rouge

(le) poisson rouge

(le) poisson rouge

158 Bleecker St.

New York, NY 10012


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The only thing pretentious about (le) poisson rouge is the name, actually. Parentheses, generally, do not rock. But in honor of this young Village spot's relentless and delightful eclecticism—raucous dance parties, elegant new-classical premieres, straight-ahead rock shows—let's re-adjust our definition of "rock." Undaunted by the weighted expectations given its address at the former Village Gate site, LPR is now offering the most well-rounded monthly slate of gigs in New York City, whether your thing is John Cage, Deerhunter, or "Crooked Disco." Seating 250 comfortably or a standing 700 cozily, the basement space's experience can change wildly along with the music, but it's never packed or sweltering, with a classy but non-garish décor and color scheme that inspired at least one Voice staffer to attempt to replicate the effect in her own apartment, to disastrous results. Besides, any place that once offered a plum monthly slot to They Might Be Giants is fine by us.

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Any artist coming to New York and expecting their ticket sales to be handled professionally and sold at the box office when they are supposed to be, should consider a different venue.

According to the venue website, "The (Le) Poisson Rouge box office is open daily from 5PM until close."

This is a LIE. After getting there promptly at 5pm, I found the doors locked, with no signs posted anywhere indicating anything out of the ordinary. Even though I was in a bit of rush, I understand not every human interaction takes places with swiss timing, so I waited. 5:30 came and went. 5:45. Eventually we were let inside out of the freezing cold by a contractor. Someone who works for the venue, I think his name was Ruben -- was on his way. Finally, an hour after the box office was supposed to open, someone came. But not to open the box office.

"We aren't opening it because this is the Holiday season". (It was 12/21).

"But the website says 'open daily, 5pm until close'". I protested.

"Do you only open when events happen?" Another prospective patron asked.

"Yes, but there aren't any until the after the holidays."

"What about tomorrow night, it's on the board?" I asked.

"We aren't working door for that one."

Now mind you, there were NO signs posted about hours. NO notice on website. NO indication of this at the phone number. All this is enough to make matter-of-fact tone stating that true box-office policy in no way resembles the advertised policy infuriating. I'm less concerned about the fact that I will now have to pay an extra $17 in fees to get this Christmas present delivered, than I am by the notion that rest of the ticket price will ultimately reward their having wasted a couple hours of my time, including travel. Truly unprofessional, and utterly disappointing.

And if you choose to perform at this venue, you now have a small taste of how to expect the ticket sales, and lord knows what else, to be handled by the "management" here. If your show fails to sell out, don't say you weren't warned.