Sound off: Music venue Cameo Gallery is closing next month

Sound off: Music venue Cameo Gallery is closing next month
Say goodbye: Latasha Alcindor took to the stage at Cameo Gallery on Sunday night, days after the beloved venue announced that it will shut its doors for good in late November.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

And another one bites the dust.

Williamsburg music venue Cameo Gallery will close its doors for good on Nov. 21, the N. Sixth Street bar announced Thursday, and local musicians are bemoaning the loss of yet another stage in the rapidly-changing nabe.

“It’s sad,” said Zachery Allan Starkey, vocalist of electronic group ZGRT, which has been performing at the venue for five years. “Cameo Gallery is one of the last great live music venues in that section of Williamsburg.”

The venue decided to bow out after a new landlord bought the building and the two parties butted heads, said a bar rep.

“We were not able to work out an amicable agreement for the future,” said marketing director Evan Weiner.

The arts-y haven opened in 2009 and has since hosted local and touring bands, electronic artists, and comedians in its cavernous space hidden behind a restaurant every night of the week.

Plenty of big names have graced its stage over that time — including Neon Indian, Sharon Van Etten, the War on Drugs, and Mumford and Sons — but Starky said the venue may be best remembered for offering fledgling acts a welcoming stage and fostering a friendly local music scene.

“They weren’t always about the money,” he said. “They took chances on people.”

Cameo Gallery is just the latest loss in a series of music venue closures in Williamsburg in recent years, as the neighborhood’s popularity has boomed and rents have gone up. Glasslands, Death by Audio, and Public Assembly all closed last year, and popular punk-rock spot Trash Bar shut its doors in June.

Weiner said he and the Cameo crew have seen the neighborhood changing around them during the venue’s six-year life span.

“When we opened in 2009 it seemed like N. Sixth Street was going to be the street for music venues, but slowly that all started to change as more retail stores started to open instead,” he said.

Starkey’s band will take to the Cameo stage one last time on Oct. 21 — a month before the final show — and the musicians say they’re thrilled to have the opportunity to play there one last time before the day the music dies.

“We have to make this really special because this is a special place,” he said. “We’re going to give it a big send off.”

Go have one last Narraganset tall boy at Cameo Gallery [93 N. Sixth St. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue, (718) 302–1180, www.cameony.com].

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

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