If you live outside of Massachusetts, you may not know about a vaudeville era theater that once had the THREE STOOGES as an act, that today hosts many metal shows, large and small all year round. However, if you are from here, or in New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Central Connecticut, The Worcester Palladium is more than likely ground zero for your concert going life. Not just the hub of the local metallers’ scene, but actually an epicenter of music and the concert going experience for all of New England and in some cases, the entire East Coast. After rumors broke out last week that the venue was in danger of closing, I started thinking about what would happen if it was suddenly gone?
As first reported by our friends at Nefarious Realm Productions, Worcester magazine leaked word last week that the owners of the venue may be forced to close down, perhaps demolishing the building and turn it into a parking lot. The crux of the story centers around the skyrocketing taxes which jumped from $689,000 in 2011 to $2.27 Million in 2012. No matter how successful a business is, that would be a crushing blow in any economy, let alone this one. What business model could support that? Show listings right now on the venue website are slated to run through the fall and there is talk that ultimately these are baseless rumors and the building is not closing down. Until an official announcement is made, nobody really knows the answer.
It’s hard for me to imagine this place disappearing, just like I’m sure many of you feel the same way about the loss of your local metal mecca. Fans of Metal Army know many of my reviews happen in this place where they have welcomed me, my camera and my concert going self for years and years. In addition to hosting the annual NEW ENGLAND METAL AND HARDCORE FESTIVAL and ROCK `N SHOCK fests, every major tour usually stops here. Many bands, not just local ones have shot professional DVD’s here. Also, few venues are all ages, meaning for many in the region, this is often their first concert going experience. Particularly for metal, the ability to bring the live show to fans is paramount. Many international bands consider The Palladium their home away from home. Earlier this year IN FLAMES front man Anders Fridén said the band has played that venue more than any other in America and DEVIN TOWNSEND said something similar last fall. I even once met a couple who flew from Australia just to go to NEMHC Festival 13 and skipped any sight seeing or other tourist activity to do so. Then there is the factor that there is no real comparable place to move these shows to, should the building vanish. Boston, despite its awesome convenience as a city doesn’t have venues that would put on these shows and the ban on moshing flat out sucks the fun out of everything. I have talked to other metal journalists around the country and when an area loses their long time venue, tour bookers often stop routing shows through that area. Imagine all the best tours, not coming to your area anymore? That would suck. A lot.
There is a petition going around in case the rumors are true and the support has been strong. However, the cynical guy in me wonders if, like Occupy Wall Street, if there is any kind of movement launched to “Save The Palladium” it will be a hollow gesture at best. I would hope not. Make sure you support your local live music scene, support those bands and go to some shows this summer. Make sure the people that promote shows and manage these venues know how you feel about having a place to see bands, and play shows yourself for those of you in metal bands. Let this be a wake up call to metal heads everywhere to go out and support live music everywhere, especially in local venues.
(Thanks to Return to the Pit and Echoes In The Well for the photos)
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes