Bogies and The Armory close, music will continue
By Brian Lazaro
Throughout the past several years, the city of Albany has attracted a diverse range of well-known musical artists. From world-class DJs to iconic rappers and a variety of bands, the musical richness of the city has kept college students around the area waiting for the next big act. However, throughout this past year, the Washington Avenue Armory and Bogie’s, two of Albany’s biggest music venues, have closed down.
The Armory was popular amongst college students as being one of the best and most convenient venues in the city. It had a large capacity, an impressive sound system, creative stage set-ups, and was located right off Washington Ave, making it an easy trip for University at Albany students. It was able to hold approximately 4,000 people, attracting big name acts to perform there. Although not as big as the Times Union Center, it did host concerts that were more affordable, thus bringing forth many college kids. The venue hosted a large slew of acts such as Skrillex, Deadmau5, Nas, Rick Ross, Korn, Slayer, and many more.
This past spring semester the Armory stopped operating as a music venue. During the past few years there have been cases of domestic violence which have led to numerous problems for the venue. “There were too many instances, probably about 10 incidents…many that people weren’t even aware of,” recalls ex-promoter of the Armory Ted Etoll.
Some of these instances, like the Barstool riot back in Fall 2012 and the stabbings at the Migos concert earlier this year, have caused outrage throughout the city. People within the local neighborhood and police authorities complained about the violent outbursts that occurred throughout the concerts.
Etoll states that the combination of poor management and ineffective security led to these incidents. “It was run as poorly as any concert venue in the history of the country,” said Etoll. “But most importantly it was the worst security ever known in the business.”
Aside from the persistent complaints, the venue even lost its liquor license as a result of the incidents. With all these issues, it remains unclear if the Armory will ever re-open.
“The local neighborhood was angry along with the police… I think all of that plus losing the liquor license, I don’t know if they will come back,” explains Etoll.
Furthermore, Bogies, an underground music venue located right in Ontario Street was also shut down this year. Bogies was well-known as a hard-rock/metal themed venue as it contained dark lighting and a long, narrow floor space that allowed music to echo effortlessly throughout the structure. Bogies was inferior to the Armory in terms of size and attracted smaller crowds, but its goal was not to bring the most people, but rather to maintain itself as a hub for music lovers. Bogies hosted a variety of bands throughout its tenure such as Blink 182, Green Day, The Acacia Strain, Exodus, and many more.
“Bogies was on an upswing and had potential to do bigger things,” said Mike Valente of Upstate Black n Blue Promotions.
Bogies was definitely one of the most unique venues in Albany as it differentiated itself from the mainstream. However after experiencing tax issues, the venue would ultimately shut down. According to Valente, “It had nothing to do with the venue or my production company. Bogies shut down because the owner of the building owed $80,000 in back taxes.”
With the Armory and Bogies no longer remaining, other venues such as Upstate Concert Hall and the Times Union Center have stepped up. Upstate Concert Hall, located in Clifton Park, recently released plenty of new shows. Throughout the next few months they will be hosting a variety of bands such as New Found Glory, The Devil Wears Prada, Emarosa, and more. DJs to perform there include Griz, Borgore, Party Favor and Tommy Trash.
The Times Union Center has a few interesting shows during the semester as well. This fall they will be hosting Darius Rucker and Dead & Company, a collaboration between John Mayer and The Grateful Dead.
Valente’s Black n Blue Promotions will be booking shows at Trickshots, The Fuzebox and The Loft and The Chance in Poughkeepsie.
The recent shutdown of venues like the Armory and Bogies will be missed. Nothing could ever replace the rich culture of Bogies and the grandiose of the Armory. Both venues played a major role in maintaining Albany’s music culture. But perhaps this will initiate a new era of musical upbringings within the city. As always, the music lives on.