Brooklyn Bowl knocks' em down on its first night in Las Vegas

March 12, 2014

CBGB didn’t move here, and we never got our Emo’s, but Saturday night, a prized live-music export achieved its Vegas vision. Several locals celebrated the moment by laying thanks and handshakes on Brooklyn Bowl owner Peter Shapiro, with one even calling the hoodie-clothed executive our music scene’s new “king.”

Too much? I’ll just say this, after one night inside Brooklyn Bowl’s location at the Linq, I’ve got a new answer to that oft-asked concert question: Where would you like your favorite band to play when it comes through town?

I’m not just saying that because I got to bowl 15 feet from Soulive drummer Alan Evans’ kit as I washed down the Bromberg brothers’ famous fried chicken with Brooklyn Brewery pilsners. Cool as that stuff might be—and don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty cool—in the end, this all comes down to the music. And if Night 1 is to be believed, Brooklyn Bowl is a music lover’s paradise, from its loaded, varied calendar to its affordable ticket prices (Saturday’s three-hour show ran just $10) to its warm, rich sound. Good vantage points abound—the downstairs lanes on the left, the slightly raised bar area on the right, the deep floor space up the middle—or maybe the best views come from above, where roomy boxes ring the balcony, some available in tandem with a second set of bowling lanes up there.

Since I’m paid to nitpick, I will. A trip to the restroom requires you to exit the music room past ticket takers, though Brooklyn Bowl pumps live sound there (and everywhere else in the building) so you won’t miss a song. You can’t see the stage from many of the restaurant’s 120 seats, a curious design choice in a place packed with wise ones. And parking near the Linq already seems tricky, with more businesses—plus a towering attraction in the sky—set to launch there in the coming months.

But overwhelmingly, Brooklyn Bowl impressed. Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno went so far as to call it the best venue he’d ever played, toward the end of a funky set that found the New York trio joined by trumpet and sax players, vocalist Nigel Hall and Meters bassist George Porter Jr. After an encore “Turn on Your Love Light” jam capped the show proper, a few joyous souls kept the party going, dancing as if stopping meant they’d wake up from a dream.