Persons suffering from Towne Crier Café withdrawal syndrome, you know who you are. And by now you’re good and tired of the symptoms – the insatiable cravings for top-shelf acoustic music, companionable vibes, hearty bistro-style food, great beer on tap and some of the most extraordinary cakes in the Hudson Valley. Even Pawling, the venerable folk club’s most recent home, was a bit too far for many of us, and that has been closed for half a year now.
So it comes as an immense relief to know that finally, the new Towne Crier venue at 379 Main Street in Beacon will be opening to the public this weekend. Legendary Hudson Valley impresario Phil Ciganer is promising his audience “more space, better sound, top-tier acts and a new fine-dining menu featuring fresh local fare – but with the same intimate Towne Crier experience you’ve known and loved since ’72.”
Photos of the newly renovated space – a former Motor Vehicle Bureau office – are alluring enough, but it will take an in-person visit to draw any meaningful conclusions as to whether Towne Crier Mach IV will deliver the level of entertainment to which longtime habitués have become accustomed (read: spoiled). Admission to the Grand (Slambovian) Opening, set for Friday, October 4 and featuring, naturally, the Grand Slambovians – formerly known as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams – is already waitlisted.
Those great Scottish folk/rockers the Battlefield Band follow on Saturday, October 5; if you’ve never heard “Bad Moon Rising” played on Northumbrian pipes, you really need to check these guys out. And the Defibulators, who have been described as “Hee-Haw on mescaline,” appear on Sunday, October 6, plus guest artists Red Dirt Road.
Disappointed to get closed out of the “official” Opening Night? Don’t be, because you can actually set foot in the new Crier ahead of that crowd. There will be three beta-test nights this very weekend; and two of the three, amazingly, will offer free admission.
On Friday, September 27 at 8:30 p.m., the Fatboy Kanootch Review, featuring former Levon Helm sidemen Brian Mitchell, Clark Gayton and Tony Leone, will perform, with no cover charge (though making a dinner reservation would be wise if you want to assure yourself a table). The Stephen Clair Trio and the Matt Rae Trio will play on Saturday, September 28 at 8:30 p.m.; tickets will cost $10 in advance and $15 at the door. On Sunday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m., TriBeCaStan will play for free.
Other headliners scheduled in the near future include the Bobs, Rickie Lee Jones, Robben Ford, Duke Robillard, Southside Johnny, Livingston Taylor, Peter Rowan and Commander Cody. In weeks to come, the Crier will also revive its longstanding tradition of Open Mic Nights every Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m., with a $4 cover charge. Sloan Wainwright, who will headline in November, is just one of many now-stars who made her club debut at a Towne Crier Open Mic Night, so come prepared to catch the next acoustic phenom on the rise.
Dining will be available seven nights a week at the new Crier, and it’ll be open for brunch and lunch on weekends. Rumor has it that the cuisine on offer will be a step upscale from past avatars of the Crier in Beekman, Millbrook and Pawling, with emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. It will be great fun to try out the new menu – especially since we have been assured that Mary Murphy Ciganer’s famously sinful desserts will still be on it.
Until October 4, the Crier is offering a $50 discount off the regular $125 price of a one-year membership. Member privileges include admission to one show for free and ten percent off tickets for all other shows, free admission to all Open Mic Nights, unlimited free coffee, tea or soft drinks, priority seating and a tee-shirt or hat, among other perqs. $200 gets the same package for a couple, and $700 will buy you a Premiere Pass that gets you into all concerts for free.
To order tickets, make a dinner reservation or find out more, visit https://www.townecrier.com.
Towne Crier Café pre-opening concerts, Friday-Sunday, September 28-30, free-$15, 379 Main Street, Beacon; (845) 855-1300, https://www.townecrier.com.