Indie-folk hometown heroes the Low Anthem are hosting "Revival!," a two-night grand-reopening bash, celebrating the return of the historic Columbus Theatre (columbustheatre.com) on Broadway. Hopefully, though, you already scored tickets for the Saturday gala, which sold out nearly a month in advance. The good news is that limited tickets remain for the second show on Sunday (appropriately dubbed "Revival Too!"), to be held in the more intimate, 200-seat space in the balcony. The Low Anthem will headline both nights, accompanied by a top-notch roster of local acts. Proceeds will benefit the ongoing theater restoration as well as ATRAVES, a Providence-based nonprofit benefiting health, education, and development in Managua, Nicaragua.
THE NEW SONGS have “lots of sugar for the ears and filigree for the attention-deprived,” says Knox-Miller.
The Revival! weekend will mark the first time the Columbus has opened its doors to the public since 2009, thanks to the ongoing work of longtime owner Jon Berberian (whose father purchased the theater in 1962) as well as the Columbus Cooperative, a volunteer-run community organization dedicated to restoring the Broadway landmark.
"The community has been very supportive and patient during our efforts to restore and update the building, and I look forward to this chance to give back to those who have been waiting a long time for our doors to open," said Berberian.
From vaudeville and opera to XXX porn flicks and Lightning Bolt, the Columbus Theatre has seen it all since 1926. Next year, the space will be available to rent for private functions and community gatherings.
The Low Anthem hand-picked the stacked roster of special guests for the shows, including Alec K. Redfearn & the Eyesores, Keith McCurdy of Vudu Sister, and 2012 WBRU Rock Hunt champs the Rice Cakes. Ben Knox-Miller helped the latter's Roz Raskin hone her skills way back when she was 16. "We're so honored to be part of such a special event, especially one that features music by many of our dear friends," she said.
And, appropriately enough, Revival Brewing will be on hand selling beer, along with mobile eats from Nice Slice and Julian's.
The weekend festivities also mark a welcome home of sorts to our favorite world-traveling band.This has been another highly productive year for the Low Anthem. In March they performed with the Chieftains on the Late Show with David Letterman (followed by an all-star gig at Carnegie Hall), and joined Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Alejandro Escovedo, and others in Austin, Texas for a show-stopping cover of "This Land Is Your Land." (And speaking of Woody Guthrie, TLA recently joined John McCauley and others for a two-night Guthrie tribute in NYC curated by Justin Townes Earle). The Low Anthem scaled back the hectic tour schedule considerably to focus on the new album.
It's no surprise that the 86-year-old theatre intrigued and inspired the Low Anthem, who previously moved into an abandoned pasta sauce factory in Central Falls to record its last album, 2011's Smart Flesh. The forthcoming fifth TLA disc features two new members — multi-instrumentalists Tyler Osbourne and Mike Irwin. The quintet created a makeshift recording studio in the 1930s-era dance and acting school above the Columbus marquee.