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The Living Room Reopens and Expands

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

The music business drumbeat has been loud and insistent – and not in a lift-your-hands-in-the-air, EDM way. Declining sales. Musicians and songwriters left out of the new streaming economy. Venues closing in neighborhoods where rents have outrun audience. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, several long- time music venues have closed in recent weeks.  But Jennifer Gilson and Steve Rosenthal, owners of The Living Room, NYCʼs premiere listening room, simply said, “No. There remains a supportive audience hungry for an up-close experience with good music.”  The couple built a 16-year story of presenting the soul and craft of song in an intimate setting on the Lower East Side, and now theyʼve  staked their future on a bigger room and an expanded vision. The Living Room, their new 250- capacity venue with the Rust Bar in front and a  roof-deck bar with a Manhattan view, is now open at 134 Metropolitan  Avenue in Brooklynʼs Williamsburg neighborhood.

“Weʼre a family-owned business that was built purely on our love for music – and our belief that there will always be an audience for great songs and great sound,” says Rosenthal. “We didnʼt see the type of intimate listening experience that we created with The Living Room.  So now weʼre back.” Rosenthal knows sound: Heʼs also the Grammy-winning proprietor of The Magic Shop, the legendary recording studio featured in the New York City chapter of Dave Grohlʼs Sonic Highways series on HBO,  which presented both a history of eight local music scenes and a  cautionary tale of the changing music landscape. “This is personal for us,” Rosenthal maintains. “Weʼve put our familyʼs future on the line.  But we just refuse to quit.”

living room5His wife and partner, Jennifer Gilson, once again leads the creative and music programming at The Living Room. The new room gives her increased flexibility along with the added capacity. “Our main music room has a standing capacity of 250, including a wrap-around balcony,” Gilson says.  “Perfect for rock, roots and indie-bands. We will have DJ sets as well.  But we can quickly add tables, chairs and candles for intimate, close-up evenings with singer/songwriters and folk artists – itʼs like the Ludlow  Street location that artists and audiences loved dropped into a larger rock club.” The Living Room launched the careers of a generation of singer/songwriters, and now Gilson intends to do the same for the next generation of musicians, many of whom now claim Brooklyn as their home.

For example, on January 21, Alex Bleeker of Real Estate will curate a much-anticipated night that includes the return of Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, with King Cyst and comedian Adam Friedland. Other upcoming performances include Jolie Holland on February 5; Son Voltʼs Jay Farrar in a rare acoustic setting on February 10, and British R&B showman James Hunter on April 22. Jim Campilongoʼs ongoing residency warms up Tuesday nights (recent guests included Wilcoʼs Nels Cline, and Jimʼs residency was covered in the New Yorker).

 Upcoming shows at The Living Room 


 Tue Feb 10th

7pm Courtney Hartman & David Moss

9pm Jay Farrar with opener Chip Taylor


Wed Feb 11th

8pm Dylan Connor and the Epic Poets

9pm Milton


Thu Feb 12th

8pm Gumball’s Don Fleming


Fri Feb 13th

12am Verskotzi


Sat Feb 14th

7pm The Kennedys

8pm Janna Pelle

9pm Nicky Egan

10pm Vita and the Woolf


Mon Feb 16th

Dani Mari presents Lovefest

Featuring: Owl and Wolf, Lily Virginia, Shannon Pelcher,

Ashley Jones, Jesse Merandy from The Breakneck Boys,

Chelsea Mitchell, The Berries, Andi Rae Healy, Will Hanza,

Crystal Jurado, and J.R. Garcia


Tue Feb 17th

7pm Courtney Hartman & David Moss

8pm Chris Morrissey

9pm Jim Campilongo Trio with Chris Morrissey and Josh Dion

10pm Tim Kuhl’s St. Helena

11pm Motherwell Johnston


Wed Feb 18th

7pm Jeffrey Dean Foster

8pm Julia Joseph

9pm Milton


Thu Feb 19th

8pm Jared Saltiel

9pm Megan Cox


Fri Feb 20th

8pm Ryan Gibeau

9pm Miwa Gemini

10pm The Sea The Sea

11pm Tomás Pagán Motta Record Release


Sat Feb 21st

7pm Caitlin Mahoney

8pm Sharp Things

9pm Mary Lorson


Sun Feb 22nd

Charming Disaster CD Release with Not Waving But Drowning


Mon Feb 23rd

8pm Gabriel Gordon featuring Andy Hess, Tony Mason and Eric Deutsch


Tue Feb 24th

7pm Courtney Hartman & David Moss

8pm Margo Valiente

9pm Zephaniah and the 18 Wheelers featuring Jim Campilongo, Gerald Menke, Roy Williams, Scott Colberg, Nick “Crime” Anderson, Zephaniah O’Hora


Wed Feb 25th

7pm The Universal Thump

8pm Benjamin Cartel

9pm Milton


Thu Feb 26th

7pm Ife & Danny

8pm Simi

9pm-11pm Abby Payne Single Release Show With Pete Francis


Fri Feb 27th

7pm-10pm Dave Doobinin “The Left Side” CD release featuring Sandy Bell

11pm King Radio


Sat Feb 28th

8pm Winterpills

10pm The Truthseekers


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