Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fillmore's Red Carpet Kickoff Brings Politicos to Silver Spring // Plus, Exclusive Photo Gallery!

Maryland Juice previously wrote about the exciting lineup at Silver Spring, Maryland's new concert hall, The Fillmore. Though our appeal for free tickets to the venue's owners (Live Nation) went into a black hole, we still managed to score tickets to the Grand Opening VIP kickoff last night. Here's a review of the event (and the Fillmore) from Virginia Juice (Maryland Juice's domestic partner/wife, who is also a Virginian. Boo!).

We also intersperse photos of politicians modeling the Fillmore's space for you below. You can see the full Fillmore Party photo gallery at Maryland Juice's Facebook page. Note: Some unusual politicians turned out for this event.

Fillmore VIP Grand Opening Reception - 9/13/11

At the VIP reception to kickoff the Fillmore Theatre in downtown Silver Spring yesterday, comedian Lewis Black (a Silver Spring native) aptly declared: “This place was a wasteland when I grew up." Mr. Black clearly knew that the audience was full of area politicos, as he also called for greater transit funding and stated (excuse *his* French), Silver Spring "wouldn't be shit" without the metro station.

Comedian Lewis Black: Silver Spring, MD Native
It’s true – and no secret – that Silver Spring has had a *little* work done over the past decade, and the Fillmore Theatre appears to be auditioning the role of bright young mistress of the downtown area.

"Red light" district in downtown Silver Spring.
The only thing I can say to its detriment is that the place doesn’t seem very DC (or Montgomery County) – it’s just too nice. Its peers lie in L.A. or New York, not in the concert venues we’re accustomed to (and love) in the DC Metro area.

Red carpet treatment at the Fillmore VIP party.
Rather than the concrete flooring of almost any other concert venue in the area, the Fillmore boasts hard wood paneled flooring on its main level.

Council President Valerie Ervin models the Fillmore's beautiful wood flooring.
Rather than exposed theatre lighting like the 9:30 Club, the Filly’s got sparkly chandeliers.

This is what the Fillmore's main hall looks like when it is full.
And rather than small bars and cramped space that make attending shows comfortably with drink in hand a constant challenge, there are spacious levels with two bars lining the full length of left and right downstairs, and the width of the venue in the balcony area. Oh, woe is me.

View from the 2nd floor balcony (it wraps around the perimeter of the concert hall).
The goal of increased revenues from each show is not lost on this new venue – not only with the bar space, but in the front row balcony seating – set up as dining tables – that only those deemed “VIP” can frequent. How can you be deemed VIP, you might wonder?

Councilmember Roger Berliner in the venue's VIP seated section, directly across from the stage.
From what we gathered last night, if you pre-purchase tickets to eight shows in a season and pay a premium, you gain access to these amazing views and the VIP lounge in the basement of the club. While it’s probably out of the price range of many, the deal looks pretty sweet – and something the other music venues in the area clearly do not have on the table. (It is first-come, first-serve for the same spot at the 9:30 Club - but 9:30 doesn't offer the swank personal wait service offered at the Fillmore).

Delegate Eric Luedtke checks out the Fillmore's basement VIP lounge.
Montgomery County pols were abundant in welcoming in the new venue, with County Executive Ike Leggett leading the charge and many politicos dancing with the stars.  Live Nation smartly brought in Lewis Black for a little comédie célèbre and Kristen and the Noise (best cover band ever) to show off the venue’s hot new soundsystem (very impressive – and even pumped straight to the VIP lounge in the basement so the VIPs can grab a drink without missing the show).

Former Executive Doug Duncan tours the Fillmore.
DOJ bigwig and former Councilmember Tom Perez makes an appearance.
Former State Senator Ida Ruben catches up with Councilmember George Leventhal.
The Fillmore hasn’t pandered to the down home and dirty tastes that hungry DC concertgoers are used to – no burritos, chili nachos, or veggie burgers so common at 930 and Black Cat. The Fillmore’s glow-in-the-dark menus boast duck fat fries, duck fat buffalo wings, crab cake sandwiches, and several veg friendly options as required. What we tasted was impressively delicious.

Montgomery County and DC concert goers alike have much to look forward to in this larger, brand spankin' new venue. We can’t wait to see Mary J. Blige on Thursday. Live Nation, hook us up!

You can see the full Fillmore Party photo gallery at Maryland Juice's Facebook page.

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