Garcia’s Booking Bigger, National Acts

Capitol Theatre’s lobby bar to maintain Deadhead vibe while welcoming wider variety of indie and alternative artists.

Since his passing in 1995, Deadheads, fellow musicians, and multitudes of others have tried to keep Jerry Garcia’s legacy alive with cover shows; “I Miss Jerry” stickers; namesake ice cream; and here in Westchester, the Capitol Theatre’s lobby bar-cum-venue, aptly dubbed Garcia’s, which has long hosted a range of local artists, cover bands, and tribute concerts for children (see: “The Music of The Beatles for Kids” and “Kids Gone Phishing”). However, our county’s most notable homage to the Fat Man is tuning up for a slightly different direction.

Working with the Capitol’s heavyweight live-music promoter Bowery Presents—who are reportedly on the cusp of being absorbed by global industry titan AEG Live—Garcia’s is eyeing a wider cross-section of big names to take its stage. “With a technically upgraded Garcia’s, [Bowery Presents] will expand their booking assistance to Garcia’s,” clarifies Capitol Theatre owner Peter Shapiro. “It should help us continue to develop and broaden the mix of bands playing the room.”

Examples of that diversification would be an appearance by Portland, OR indie-rock mainstays Blitzen Trapper, who’ll be headlining Garcia’s June 19, and NPR favorite/North Dakotan folk troubadour Tom Brosseau the following night.

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  Photo Courtesy of Scott Harris

“We just want to get the word out to people in the community that, while Garcia’s is intimate, we are now hosting bands you might see in a larger venue,” says Capitol Theatre Marketing Manager Stefanie May, who adds that they’d also like to see more of the main Theatre’s opening acts top-bill evenings in the adjoining space. To wit, after warming up for Wilco at the Cap this past February, former Kurt Vile guitarist and Matador Records roster member Steve Gunn will be front and center at Garcia’s June 30.

Still, Shapiro assures Garcia’s regulars that its original philosophy isn’t being entirely overhauled, explaining, “We want to bring more national touring bands into the room now, but I think the core will always be the best of the local bands and musicians.”

And even when culling talent from other parts of the country, the venue will still be acknowledging its roots, as evidenced by a June 18 stopover from improvisational Alabaman outfit CBDB. Emphasizing his enthusiasm, Shapiro sums up that regardless of whether acts playing in the region hail from Harrison or Hawaii, “It is an exciting time for music in Westchester now.”

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