First Performance

Martin Van Ruin @ Thalia Hall


You might think the first performance in the newly revived hall was Panda Bear on May 21st, 2014. Though that special day – the official first show – lives fondly in our hearts, the first time we  invited a band to play on the stage was actually in November of 2013. Pete Falknor, our venue manager, is the drummer of the band that played the hall and here’s what he wrote about the experience. Enjoy!

Last fall, Chicago band Martin Van Ruin took the opportunity to record a live session onstage at Thalia Hall.  The pairing seemed to make sense: Martin Van Ruin hadn’t played a show in 2 years and Thalia hadn’t hosted a band in over 50.

Usually there is zero anticipation that accompanies an early morning three story load in (the elevator was still under construction), but on this particular day full PA and back line were being lugged up the stairs by 8AM with no complaints.  Not even from the bass player or sound guy.  Crazy, right?

The idea of recording a live session in the mid-construction space was pitched within the band as a chance to “get the live set together in a really rad space.”  Upon first sight of the room the band had an identical reaction to some of the people lucky enough to get a tour, “Holy —-!”

Even with no crowd present, the stage and room itself had a natural, storied energy that evoked inspired take after take. The hall is sprawling, gorgeous, and actually sounded pretty damn good considering work in the sound and acoustics department was not yet underway.  A testament to the original design and construction, for sure.

The sessions were captured on video, check out the clip for “Gold, Love and Gin” off Martin Van Ruin’s debut LP, Every Man a King.

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