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Monday, June 9, 2014

Revamped Nob Hill Masonic Center to Open This Fall, Designed For Concerts

Posted By on Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 10:06 AM

A rendering of the renovated Nob Hill Masonic Center.
  • A rendering of the renovated Nob Hill Masonic Center.

The Nob Hill Masonic Center has long been an anomaly among S.F. concert venues: The big hall up at California and Taylor is larger than most other venues in the city, but clearly was designed more as a public meeting space than a performance venue. That may all change in September, when the Masonic Center, which is booked by Live Nation, reopens after months of renovations designed to make it a first-class room for live music. There's a new stage -- one with a flat front that doesn't jut out into the room -- a sound system designed for the room, and a new open floor on the ground level that will bring capacity to 3,300 for general admission, but with flexibility for seated shows and other events. There's also plenty of other improvements, like new bars and concession stands, lighting, VIP boxes, carpets, chandeliers, etc. The renovated room, which Live Nation has dubbed simply "the Masonic," opens this fall, with Old Crow Medicine Show on Sept. 20 its first show announced so far. There are a number of other big names coming, too:

Sept. 20

Old Crow Medicine Show

On sale Friday, June 20 at 10 AM

Sept. 21 & 22

Train

On sale Friday, June 13 at 10 AM

Sept. 30

Pixies with Royal Blood

On sale now

Oct.17

Daryl Hall & John Oates

On sale Friday, June 20 at 10 AM

Nov. 18

The 1975

On sale Friday, June 20 at 10 AM

The Nob Hill Masonic fills an interesting niche for the city: At 3,300 capacity, it's larger than the Warfield, and about twice the size of the Fillmore, yet still much smaller than the 8,500-capacity Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Until now its main limitation has been that it wasn't ideal for concerts -- and the fact that many nearby residents were opposed to events drawing what they see as rowdy, drunken crowds to the quiet neighborhood. Those long-running concerns were placated with a settlement last fall that set limits on events and alcohol sales, and requires Live Nation and the Masons to pay $100,000 a year to the Huntington Park preservation fund for three years, $30,000 a year after that, and 50 cents per ticket sold. (The money will be administered by an arm of the Nob Hill Association.) A Live Nation executive told the Examiner that these operating conditions are more onerous than at any other venue the company runs. Presumably all the renovations will make Nob Hill Masonic worth it.

-- @iPORT


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Ian S. Port

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