Local Music Venue Check-in: Main Street Annex

Posted on April 9, 2014 by

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main street annexIn a city with no shortage of music halls and bars touting live music, the last thing anyone might think to do is start another venue, but that is exactly what Jayon Falsini did last year when he opened the Main Street Annex.

“The space was offered to my booking and promotional company Magnus Music back in July of 2012 when the old tenant, clothing store Eloise, finished out their lease and vacated the space,” said Falsini. “The idea was for Magnus to just casually utilize the space for any larger sort of shows we might book, while the landlord continued his search for serious prospective tenants.”

But from this casual utilizing has grown a truly unique, full-time music venue, which in its short time of existence has played host to a slew of local and national acts including, The Anatomy of Frank, Big Air, and historic Roots Reggae band Culture fronted by Kenyatta Hill.

“[Culture] was an amazing show,” Falsini raved. “I haven’t heard or seen reggae performed like that here in C-ville in years.”

The Annex’s location attached to the Main Street Arena on Water Street provides it with a few, distinct advantages, the least of which is geographical.

“I like our neighbors, Escafe, Mono Loco close by, and Bang and South Street around the corner. I like that we’re considered part of the downtown mall, but just a little off it,” admitted Falsini.

The building itself functions as a sort of black box that is ever-changing to meet the needs of the bands. In fact, the stage and all of its components are completely mobile, which can allow for many different stage set-ups and can accommodate many different events besides live music.

“The stage is large but modular and comprised of mobile 4 x 8 sections, so it can be expanded sideways or front-ways to create a catwalk. This allows for us to experiment with different event applications: from fashion shows to dance parties to live music with multiple bands.”

The bar is also mobile.

“We have two positions for where we set up that up. Sometimes, when we want a more intimate environment, like for live music, the bar is in the Annex space. Other times, when we’re hosting dance parties and we’re expecting larger crowds, the bar is moved out onto the balcony overlooking the Arena,” noted Falsini.

Perhaps another feature which has helped the Annex survive amongst its more established competitors on the Downtown Mall, like the Tea Bazaar and The Southern, is its DIY ethos and collective nature. The Annex houses DJs in residence and allows promoters other than Falsini to book the room, both of which foster a sense of collaboration and cooperation.

“A few really notable acts have been brought in by other promoters. 
Local promoter Boogie From The Ville brought in two great DC GoGo acts last spring–Junk Yard Band and Back Yard Band. Both had phenomenal crowd turnouts, and there was this amazing energy being exchanged between the bands and the fans.,” said Falsini.

“One of our resident DJs, Flatlinelay, brought in female rapper, Diamond, from the Atlanta collective Crime Mob this winter, and she turned the Annex inside out. She had such presence, such swagger. The crowd was hanging onto her every word. During her set everyone got in a circle with their arms around each other and jumped and rocked in unison. It was amazing the love and the community being felt that night.






















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The Main Street Arena will be hosting The Anatomy of Frank, Post Sixty Five, and Goldrush this Friday, April 11 as a part of the Tom Tom Founders Festival.

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