Moderator’s Note: Journalist Nathan Bevan asked me the question in the headline. I responded that these venues are in keeping with Tom’s music of late and his label, Rounder. Considering that, it’s smart of Management to book him in such venues. It’s important to note that, these days, the Bowery in New York — formerly a hellhole for all bad things that can happen in a big city — is today very trendy. An apartment there can rent for almost $4,000 a month.
By the way, there are tickets for all three venues on ebay. But they are very pricey.
Is Sir Tom Jones trying to relive his working men’s club roots with New York gig?
The Voice judge will appear at NYC’s The Bowery Ballroom next month – a grungy hall usually linked to bands such as The Dead Milkmen
By Nathan Bevan | Wales Online | April 13, 2013
He’s traditionally more associated with the opulent glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas stage.
But for his latest US tour Sir Tom Jones is set to play a tiny, rough and ready venue the inside of which he’s probably not seen since his days on the Valleys’ workingmen’s club circuit.
Next month – almost 49 years to the day since he got his lucky break by meeting future manager Gordon Mills at a fateful show at Cwmtillery’s Top Hat Club – the Pontypridd star will appear at The Bowery Ballroom in New York, a place normally given to hosting such bizarrely-monickered noise merchants as The Dead Milkmen and P****d Jeans.
Graffitied and grungy, the 550-capacity hall can be found in a neighbourhood of Lower Manhattan which was once synonymous with panhandlers, prostitution and punk rock – the infamous and now defunct CBGBs, which debuted bands like Blondie, The Ramones and Talking Heads, having been just a few blocks away.
These days though it’s more a haven for trendy artisan types and exudes bohemian cool as opposed to the Skid Row squalor of yore.
Nevertheless, it’s still an unusual choice, even for an artist like Jones whose latter-day career has not been without its daring moments of reinvention – specifically Reload, his savvy ‘99 collaboration with acts like Stereophonics and Robbie Williams which won him a new generation of fans and the more recent transformation from pop lothario to that of rhythm and blues hollerer.
And, for Ellen Sterling – the Vegas-based journalist behind www.tomjonesintl.com, the online US fansite dedicated to the Welshman – the booking was anything but accidental.
“Tom’s on an eclectic, roots-based record label in The States called Rounder and the kind of acts on their roster are usually just the sort which crop up at places like The Bowery Ballroom,” she said.
“But it’s actually Tom’s management who are behind this gig and I think it’s a pretty shrewd move. They’re smart people to shift him to this type of venue and it’ll be great for those going along to see their idol so up close and personal.
“In short, the Ballroom isn’t a step down, it’s a step in a different direction,” she added.
“It’s way smaller and more low-key than the type Tom would usually play. But, then again, you could argue that with only 730 seats the Hollywood Theatre at the Las Vegas MGM Grand is intimate too, yet he’s played there plenty of times.”
Neither did Sterling think that the Bowery’s reputation would deter Tom’s traditional fan-base from buying tickets.
“I’ve heard via my website that Tom devotees of all ages are going – including one lady who’s 83.
“It’ll be the perfect place to see him really pouring all that passion into those soulful, gospel-tinged tracks from his last two album, Praise& Blame and Spirit In The Room.
“I doubt there’ll be much Top 40 pop in the offing. That’s not really where Tom Jones 2013 is at anymore.”
However, there was both a palpable sense of online disbelieve and anticipation with regards to the Voice of the Valleys’ announcement.
“I’m not sure we ever thought we’d see the man, the legend that is TJ in a place as intimate and grungy (relatively speaking) as Bowery Ballroom!” squeaked the Brooklyn Vegan website, while www.ohmyrockness.com tweeted: “Tom Jones is playing The Bowery. So get excited, everyone’s Auntie Janet!”
Jones is also scheduled to perform at The Troubadour on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip, a night club which has played to host to everyone from Bob Dylan to Liza Minnelli and Guns ‘n’ Roses and since it opened its doors in the late ’50s.
“It’s not the first time Tom will have been there either,” recalled Sterling.
“All the local newspapers out here wrote at length about it being a departure for him back then too.”