Certain locations have their own destiny. The "Village Underground"
is located in the basement of what was once the legendary "Gerdes'
Folk City". In the 60's Greenwich Village spawned the folk-rock
craze that swept the country, and "Folk City" was at the
center of it all. Everybody who was anybody played folk city in
the 60's. Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter Paul and Mary, John
Lee Hooker, Richie Havens, The Lovin' Spoonful, Roger McGuinn, and
even the Monkees were regular performers. When "Folk City"
closed the country lost one of its most important proving grounds
for young talent, and Greenwich Village lost its reputation as the
city's most important neighborhood for live music.
When the historic space on 3rd street became available in 2000,
Café Wha owner Noam Dworman and his friend and partner George
Buchalter saw a chance to rekindle the musical importance of Greenwich
Village. Thus the "Village Underground" was conceived
to be the very best small club - ever.
"If you build it they will come" the movie says. And
so it is true. Without any assurance that anybody important would
really want to play a 300 seat room, the "Underground"
was built from the bottom up to meet the standards of the most demanding
performers. The sound and lighting at the Underground outdo most
venues twice as large. Throw in a multi camera closed circuit video
system, and you have the most unusual room of its size anywhere.
Once built, the rest was easy. The choice of manger-booker was
an obvious one. Tramps, the 1,000 seat music mecca had just lost
their lease, and closed at the turn of the century. Enter Steve
Weitzman booker extraordinaire who was responsible for making Tramps
the most diverse and dynamic club in New York City.
"Mr. Weitzman is a rare sort of New York club promoter"
the New York Times says, "He aims not for prestige, money or
self-glory. All he seems to think about are the bands and artists
Weitzman signed on and the "Village Underground" formula
was complete. From Ike Turner, to Patti Smith, to Buckwheat Zydeco,
to Meshell Ndegeocello, the "Village Underground" is the
room for quality music in New York.
Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Eric Andersen, 1975
David Blue, Bette Midler, Allen Ginsberg,
1975 (Mary Alfieri)
Maria Muldaur, Libby Titus, Carly Simon
Elvis Costello and T-Bone Burnett 1984