The Story Behind The Back Room
Local musician Sam Rudin recently opened a new music venue in downtown Berkeley, The Back Room, which honors his vision to recreate the cozy ambience of the original Freight & Salvage.
Every East Bay music lover of a certain age knows that the beloved 420 seat concert hall started out as a tiny 87 seat room, stuffed with thrift-store couches and great acoustic music. The Freight’s overwhelming success and resulting expansion have been celebrated by all, but there are some who miss the living room intimacy that allowed lesser known musicians to make their mark, and better known players to get up close and personal with their fans.
Rudin, known for his rip-roaring solo piano wizardry, as well as his band of jazz and blues veterans (Hurricane Sam & the Hotshots), describes his new venture as a small space (100 people max), with great acoustics and comfortable seating, that showcases the musicians with respect and appreciation.
The Back Room welcomes all acoustically-based genres, including jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, Americana, and more, and is an all-ages venue.
- The Back Room is not a place for food. Oh, we might have popcorn available, and a few packaged snacks, but nothing that needs to be heated, sliced, or served.
- The Back Room is not a place for drinks. Of course we have water, and punch, and soft drinks – we don’t want anyone to go thirsty. And adults are welcome to bring their own adult beverages — we’ll even supply the glasses. But we can’t sell any alcohol, and we don’t really want to.
- The Back Room is a place with comfortable, upholstered furniture that may remind you of your own living room. (Assuming, of course, that your living room is filled with a few dozen thrift store mismatches.) Seating, as it happens, is very important to us, because we want the folks here to be completely relaxed, and happy, and ready to listen.
- The Back Room is, as the logo says, an intimate place for music.
Now, we like loud, sweaty rock as much as anyone. But we are a small place designed for a smaller sound. We offer a wonderful ambience with brick walls, a high vaulted wooden ceiling, and a Steinway grand piano on stage.