Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

                 
The Back Room
1984 Bonita Ave
Berkeley CA 94704   
510.654.3808

The Story Behind The Back Room

On April 16, 2016, local musician Sam Rudin opened a new music venue in downtown Berkeley called The Back Room, which honored his vision to recreate the cozy ambience of the original Freight & Salvage, a beloved Berkeley music venue dedicated to acoustic music.

Every East Bay music lover of a certain age knows that the beloved 420 seat concert hall started out as a tiny 87 seat room, stuffed with thrift-store couches and great music. The Freight’s overwhelming success and resulting expansion have been celebrated by all, but there are some who miss the living room intimacy that allowed lesser-known musicians to make their mark, and better-known players to get up close and personal with their fans.

Rudin, known for his rip-roaring solo piano wizardry as well as his band of jazz and blues veterans (Hurricane Sam & the Hotshots), describes his venture as a small space (100 people max), with great acoustics and comfortable seating, that showcases the musicians with respect and appreciation.

The Back Room welcomes all acoustically-based genres, including jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, Americana, and more, and is an all-ages venue.

•The Back Room is not a place for food. Oh, we have a few packaged snacks for sale, but nothing that needs to be heated, sliced, or served.

•The Back Room is not a place for drinks. Of course we have water and soft drinks – we don’t want anyone to go thirsty. And adults are welcome to bring their own adult beverages with no corkage fee — we’ll even supply the glasses. But we can’t sell any alcohol, and we don’t really want to.

•The Back Room is a place with comfortable, upholstered furniture that may remind you of your own living room (assuming, of course, that your living room is filled with a few dozen thrift store mismatches.) Seating, as it happens, is very important to us, because we want the folks here to be completely relaxed, and happy, and ready to listen.

•The Back Room is, as the logo says, an intimate place for music.

Now, we like loud, sweaty rock as much as anyone. But we are a small place designed for a smaller sound. We offer a wonderful ambience with brick walls, a high vaulted wooden ceiling, and a Steinway Grand piano on stage.
https://backroommusic.com/

Upcoming Events:
Wednesday, October 24 2018 8:00 PM
Reasons For Moving w/ Fred Frith, Darren Johnston, Larry Ochs, Jordan Glenn, Jason Hoopes

Reasons for Moving is Darren Johnston (trumpet), Fred Frith (electric & prepared guitar), Larry Ochs (tenor & sopranino saxophones), Jason Hoopes (bass) and Jordan Glenn (drums).

Initiated by Darren Johnston and imagined originally as a one-off recording project, this un-categorizable quintet spearheaded collaboratively now by Johnston, Frith and Ochs has reformed in 2018 for tours, live recordings and unchartered adventures in sound and space. For this performance, the core players will be joined by Frith cohorts Jordan Glenn and Jason Hoopes.

"There are bands which you start listening to and you think, 'this is great, this is it!,' and sometimes that’s a disappointing thought when the rest of the music does not meet the initial expectation, but that is definitely not the case with Reasons For Moving. The great thing about it all is that the focus is never lost, all tracks speak the same musical language, with lots of variations, but with raw emotions always on the surface, varying between sad melancholic moments to agonizing angst. These contrasting emotional fields are well brought up by this stimulating, creative, entertaining, and boundary-shifting music. — Stef Gjissels, The Free Jazz Collective

"One of the great things about this band is that Darren's trumpet and Larry's saxes work so well together, in similar tonal areas. Fred Frith is the perfect middle man, balancing between the horns and rhythm team perfectly, whether dealing in dark colors and shades or occasionally soloing underneath or with the spinning horns. On a few of these pieces, Frith gets a chance to lead and stretch out and turn the quintet inside-out into a strange twisted (prog?) rock unit. These pieces fall somewhere between Massacre and Material, yet they are still unique in their own way." — Bruce Gallanter, DMG Monthly

"Reasons for Moving stamp their class as improvisation and free jazz explode in aural splendor and imaginative propulsion in this collaboration. Each has established an undiluted reputation as a forward thinker in taking improvised music into new realms. Change for them is a constant challenge, one they meet on-the-go as they play with their own bands and with other musicians who answer to a similar calling. Composition has a certain place in their vocabulary, but the larger attributes come when they work outside of the framework. Notation can be the bridge between improvised passages as much as it can herald the beginning or the end. Surprise is welcome, and adds to the impact, but the bigger bang comes from the interplay between the members." — All About Jazz

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby).

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!  More...