The Fillmore is vying to be known as the best concert venue in America. That was the goal of Live Nation’s House of Blues Entertainment Division President, Ron Bension.
The Fillmore Philadelphia is just a stones throw off of Delaware Avenue, a major artery, and is in the historic Fishtown district of the city, directly across from the Sugarhouse Casino.
Bension and The House of Blues wanted to redeem themselves after a disastrous entrance into the Philadelphia market in 2007.
That’s when they bought out the Theater Of Living Arts and renamed it The Fillmore at the TLA, which didn’t sit well with local fans. It was changed back to just The TLA by the end of 2008.
The House of Blues’ second foray into the Philadelphia market was very well received this time. The company set out to re-create the original feel and some of the look of The Fillmore’s flagship venue, which was launched by Bill Graham in San Francisco, in 1965.
The Fillmore Philadelphia is housed in the former AJAX Metal Factory, a 125-year-old building that used to pump out munitions for use in WWI. It was an adequate setting for Bension, who patrolled the venue with the precision of a military general in an opening battle.
There’s no doubt that The Fillmore Philadelphia will become a popular stop for fans who want an awesome concert experience and rappers who demand nothing but the best for the live shows. Mac Miller, Joe Walsh, ?uestlove, Tove Lo and others will be among the first artists to make stops at the venue in the coming months.
We took a look around the venue before Hall & Oates shut it down with a sold-out concert that highlighted the venue’s awesome acoustics.
There are flyers that plaster the back wall behind a large bar that form an image of Betsy Ross’ original flag for the United States. The flag is made of old and new posters from shows that took place at the Fillmore from the mid 1960’s up until the present day.
The general admission area and bar downstairs is enormous. The venue can accommodate a total of 2,200 people and can be segmented into smaller venues for smaller events. There’s a handy coat check to the right when you walk in, but you might want to consider getting your coat early to avoid the log jam of lines that intersect with guests leaving the venue, or milling around after a packed show.
Circle Bar at The Fillmore VIP Area
On the upper level, it is very easy to forget this is in a former warehouse. The second floor has a glowing bar that spans the length of the whole room. On the other side of the bar, is seating which overlooks the general, standing only, admission area. Whether you are seated front and center behind the bar, or in the sections that line both of the walls upstairs, your view of the stage is never blocked. The three huge purple chandeliers that hang from the ceiling add a super cool to look of the Fillmore.
One more level up and you hit another performance area, The Foundry. Here, artists can have very intimate shows or DJ sets with their fans and followers. When you walk in The Foundry, a cool stage is set up to your right, while another fancy bar is to your left. Behind that bar, is a plush VIP area.
To Sum It Up:
The engineers for Clair Bros. worked very hard to get the sound right at The Fillmore and it paid off. The clear acoustics are really the highlight of the venue. The music wasn’t too loud and seemed to be mixed just right. The service was cool considering it was a sold out event. The bar did get backed up, but the staff stayed calm, worked hard to please everyone and really did give service with a smile. So, we will chalk any delays up to it being opening night. However, it will be interesting to see how The Fillmore and its staff will hold up against a more raucous crowd it will surely have in the upcoming months.