The new House of Blues Boston venue sits on Lansdowne Street snug between older clubs and taking up the space that once held the Axis and Avalon clubs. The HOB opens tonight, with a one-time reunion show of the J. Geils Band making the return of the House of Blues franchise after shutting the doors of the Harvard Square venue in 2003.
With a 2,400 capacity concert hall, a full service restaurant serving Cajun-style southern food, a VIP club and a retail store, the HOB is like no other music venue in Boston. ‘It’s filling a void in Boston in terms of the size,’ said HOB spokesman Howie Turkenkopf, ‘and the House of Blues brings in a tradition of mixing arts and music culture together to really provide an experience that is more than just the typical concert experience.’
In addition to the concert hall, the HOB’s restaurant will be open seven days a week and will offer food made fresh daily.
The VIP lounge called ‘The Foundation Room’ will feature plush accommodations for guests willing to pay between $1,250 and $8,500 per year for a membership. Approximately 20 percent of this fee will go to the International House of Blues Foundation, a non-profit whose focus is to increase arts and music education, said Turkenkopf.
‘We do a lot of programming with schools locally, bringing in elementary and junior high school students to tour the venue, learn about the art work, hang out in the music hall and learn about the roots for blues music from Africa to the U.S. and the birth of rock and hip hop,’ he said.
Boston University senior Pat McQueen said he’s excited to see the HOB replace Avalon and Axis. ‘The House of Blues has an air to it and a reputation and judging from the lineup ‘-‘- Bloc Party and George Clinton and whatnot, it sounds like it will have an eclectic mix of shows.’
After the J. Geils Band show, the HOB will have a grand opening VIP event on the 21st. In the weeks following, the HOB will be visited by B.B. King and Buddy Guy, 3 Doors Down and’ George Clinton, Jimmy Eat World and Jesse McCartney, among others.