Nublu Celebrates 10 Years in Clubland

Ten years in clubland is 15 in dog years and around 105 in human years. It is a magnificent achievement, and the folks at Nublu – which include one of my favorite people on this planet, Daisy Payero – are celebrating in spades, in hearts, in diamonds, and their club, which is back where it belongs. That was a run-on sentence because Nublu was forced to run on over to Hayne Southern’s Lucky Cheng’s basement space for six months while licensing issues were resolved. After nine years, somebody discovered that there was a nearby church, and that’s a no-no because we all know that churches and alcohol don’t mix. Anyway, they are back in their original abode but, alas, with only a beer, wine, and sake license. But according to everyone I speak to, they haven’t lost a beat. That beat is grounded in the unique and eclectic music they offer and, as Daisy has told me, "it’s all about the music.”

Owner Ilhan Ersahin has decided the celebration should be a month-long shebang:

"Nublu has become a cultural haven for musicians from around the world known to blend different styles from electronic, jazz, dub, to indie, Brazilian, and global beats. From small clubhouse to music powerhouse, Nublu has undoubtedly stayed humble to its roots, and there is no better way to put it than in Ilhan’s own words: "We are just playing music."

Nublu’s 10th anniversary features an incredible lineup from June 1-30, including Sun Ra Arkestra, Brazilian Girls, Wax Poetic, Jojo Mayer’s Nerve, Taylor McFerrin, and Jetlag feat. Andy Rourke from The Smiths. World0renowned DJs will also join the festivities, featuring Moby, In Flagranti, DJ Logic, Tim Sweeney, and many more."

I asked Ilhan all about it.

Nublu is back to its roots and celebrating 10 years, albeit with some slight changes including a wine/beer/sake-only bar and some menu offerings. Is it truly all about the music and can you remain profitable without a full bar?
Yes, I hope we keep the same vibe going. Great music is still always here and it’s getting better and better everyday! Many of the resident bands who have played here for years continue to rise and draw more fans, so yes, I guess you CAN say it is all about the music or rather all about art. Alcohol-wise, our bartenders have concocted a nice drink menu with sake so there is still a “cocktail” vibe at the bar, and we do have good wine and food to offer now as well.

How do you feel Nublu has impacted the New York music scene over the past 10 years?
I think Nublu has grown into something unique. It has developed into a space where the criteria is about good musicianship and personal expression, meaning that we never have cover bands or jazz acts that play standards etc. It’s all about making your own music on a high level. Over the past 10 years lots of great bands have been born here and many bands and DJs have played here and developed. Nublu has never been about being yet another place where you just do a "gig.” It’s more about developing a sound and developing a band or an idea or compositions.

I do think Nublu has had a very important role in NYC, but the interesting side of Nublu is that it has become global. You will find people from Tokyo, Paris, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, etc. that know and follow Nublu now. That following has developed a bit because of Nublu records, a bit because of the club, from our jazz festivals that we now host in some of those cities yearly, and from traveling the world playing with various Nublu bands.

You have started taking Nublu global with a club in Istanbul and jazz festivals in Sao Paulo and Paris. Tell us what the response to Nublu and its sound has been overseas. Is this the next phase for Nublu?
It has been very good and always a growing movement which is the most inspiring thing. This past February we sold 5,200 tickets for a 5-day Nublu Jazzfest in Sao Paulo where we booked some US acts and some Brazilian acts. Pretty amazing for a second-year festival in Brazil, so the interest is there for sure. More and more radio stations around the globe are also adding our tracks.

Can you share your favorite Nublu moments from the past 10 years?
There are too many! I never know where to start, and my philosophy is always that the latest is the best…. so this past Friday night was an amazing night. The vibe was so great, people looked really happy, and the bands and DJ sounded fantastic. Of course we have had our star moments, like when Gilberto Gil came in and jammed, or when Kevin Spacey or Keanu Reeves most recently came in. Flea have stopped by and hung out at the bar, and soccer star Ronaldino shows up to our Wednesday night Brazil parties.  But in general we have many, many amazing nights at Nublu and I think the main reason is that Nublu is a "destination" type of place. We don’t get too many passersby who happen to stop by; we get an audience who plan on coming to Nublu for the night to have a good time and enjoy good music.

You had to relocate Nublu to a temporary space back in fall 2011… Did the six months in a strange place result in losing an audience or have you gained new faces?
Nublu has always been upside down and turned around. I think being on Avenue C and basically being in Manhattan and having live music and DJs every single night, and basically not advertising anywhere, has always made nights very random. There are always new faces mixed with old faces around here so that hasn’t changed a bit.

On the things to list for all you party people, I can’t recommend a soiree more strongly than New York Night Train’s bash at Home Sweet Home  tonight called “Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down.” Jonathan Toubin spins 45s and bringing you tracks you can’t hear anyplace else. It is the rarest of rare music. We’re not talking B-sides; we’re talking e,d,g- sides. A cool, cool crowd gets down and dirty and totally sexy in this basement that I absolutely love.

Also on the check-it-out front is Bantam, 17 Stanton, which has opened its backyard in time to catch the outdoor craze, which has revelers on roofs, by pools, and on curbs. I DJd there last night with Kelle Calco and these great guys Sonic Relief. It was splendid.

Riff Raff’s 1 Year Anniversary, and Commune Hotels and Resorts’ Newest Addition

The three-day weekend that seems so long ago has me confused about what day it is. I can’t decide if it feels like Wednesday or Friday, but it can’t be Thursday…can it? The beautiful weather has me itching and scratching to go out. It has lurched my cabin fever into spring fever. My 30-minute DJ stint at Lit Lounge’s 10-year anniversary also confused my schedule. Of course I’m on tonight at Hotel ChantelleJustine "D" Delaney was scheduled to go on after me, and we caught up before in a big way as dude after dude played impossible tracks to a spectacular crowd of downtown denizens of the deep art/rock world. Justine told me of her recent engagement and showed me the ring and introduced me to the doctor she snagged. Nice guy. We reminisced about working together at Life and then Spa. She would come in during the day to chat or pick up a check and I’d turn on the sound system and we would put on records (remember those?) and annoy the staff as we explored the old sounds. After our sets, I retreated into the Fuse Gallery to hang with Erik Foss and his crew. I met amazing folks including artist Joe Heaps Nelson, whose show "This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things" opens at Fuse on February 25th. Lit lives and thrives, entering its second decade because it feels like home to so many of us. Foss joked that he was going to try to go another 10 without renovating and I agreed. You don’t fix things that are perfectly imperfect.

The weather allowed me to don my old leather jacket which, like Lit and maybe Foss and myself, is becoming more perfectly imperfect as time goes by. Amanda and I talked of Oscars and where we might go to watch it. The Darby has a big dinner/viewing thing going on and there are always friends’ house parties. I haven’t seen The Artist and will tomorrow, for sure. I loved The Descendents, and Hugo was a masterpiece, but for me The Tree of Life is just gorgeous.

I wanted to check out Riff Raff’s celebrating its year anniversary. I have never been and really want to. Riff Raff’s is part of Fourth Wall Restaurants and owned by Michael Stillman. Fourth Wall owns and operates The Hurricane ClubQuality MeatsMaloney & PorcelliSmith & WollenskyThe Post HousePark Avenue Seasons, as well as nightlife venue Riff Raff’s. Those are great joints and I am interested in meeting Michael who, at a very young age, has built this impressive empire.

Last but certainly not least for today’s spew… Salvatore Imposimato my dear friend who did such an amazing job at Morgans Hotel Group has a new and very exciting gig. Light Group moved into Morgans, and Sal has moved on to be the executive director of entertainment for Commune Hotels and Resorts. Sal sent me this:

"Commune Hotels and Resorts is a collective, uniting two different hotel brands, Thompson Hotels and Joie de Vivre, into a truly independent, multi-platform company. Our mission is to offer our guests a wide range of eclectic, local and inventive experiences in authentic settings, without the bureaucracy that a big brand imposes. Nothing short of revolutionary, our ethos is about individuality, community, locations that are authentic to their environment, and the kind of exceptional service that makes travel unforgettable."

He starts April 1st as he has another baby due, any second. I dined at The Darby last week with my Amanda and his lovely wife Andrea. We asked for a table for four and 8/9th’s but of course that seemed cleverer before it was said. Andrea was the door girl at the Boom Boom Room before she blew up (with baby). She worked with me at my doors for years. She is beautiful, bright, and amazing and I am curious if this second child will finally get her out of nightlife.

Thompson Hotels, with Sal programming entertainment, will be wonderful and a fixture in this column’s must-attend events listings. The company has 40 plus properties in its portfolio. Congratulations Sal and Commune!