Hot Sauce: Twice-weekly music series flourishes in National Sawdust’s lounge

Lounge music: Producers at the National Sawdust in Williamsburg inaugurated their new lounge with a free twice-weekly music and performance series “Sauce,” running through Aug. 31.
Jill Steinberg

It’s a National treasure!

A Williamsburg concert hall is welcoming people to its new lounge with a month-long free music series. Producers at National Sawdust, a North Sixth Street music venue, have launched “Sauce,” a series of happy hour music sessions, every Thursday and Saturday inside a re-purposed restaurant, providing a casual and intimate setting for Brooklynites to soak in the sounds, according one of the organizers.

“You come in and you almost feel like you’re inside someone’s living room,” said Martin Movagh. “You have the curation of a concert but with the vibe of an open mic.”

The space used to be the restaurant Rider, which shut its doors during the spring. It is in the same building as National Sawdust, which is currently closed while it installs a new 700-speaker sound system. One of Movagh’s colleagues decided to open up the former eatery so that locals could enjoy some music while the main space is on hiatus.

“Sauce was born of me and my colleagues wanting to have fun,” said Ras Dia. “It’s very different from what we do during the year with a sit-down concert. We want people to flow through the space.”

At each show, an eclectic lineup of artists perform in the space that used to be Rider’s bar, while drinks and grub are available in the restaurant’s former lobby and entrance area.

The remaining roster includes a wide variety acts, including improvisational sitar player Nish Chari; the Video Game Music Collective, a band that reinterprets classic video game soundtracks; Rose Generous, a Filipinx-American singer, weaver, and cyborg; and the spoken word group Word of Mouth.

The organizers will bring some of the Manhattan jazz scene across the East River, with two concerts from Robbie Lee, host of jazz sessions at Cleopatra’s Needle in the distant isle’s Central Park.

Whether the new lounge will continue to host free concerts once the venue’s larger hall reopens at the end of the month remains to be seen, according to Dia.

“My hope is that it does continue and that it continues to grow,” he said.

Movagh hopes that the space will become a part of shows at the larger venue.

“It might be a fun thing to do in conjunction with our program,” he said.

“Sauce” at the National Sawdust Lounge [80 N. Sixth St. at Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (646) 779–8455, www.nationalsawdust.org,]. Thursdays and Saturdays, 5–9 p.m., through Aug. 31. Free.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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