Writing about music and the music business is one thing. Actually being a part of the business is another. Years ago I subscribed to the policy that if I ever begin to utter phrases like “I want to manage a band” or “I want to own a club,” then my loved ones are to assume I have slipped into some sort of dangerous delusionary haze and act accordingly. The music business is, in a phrase, a young man’s game. And in that game I recently found one of my favorite intrepid young men, former Stereophile editorial assistant, Ariel Bitran who is now running a music venue in the gentrifying before-your-eyes Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick.

Out on Broadway under the J, M, Z trains, Palisades features live music nearly every night and often during the day and night on Sundays,. It's a big, functional room that has clearly developed that magical ingredient that all successful clubs need to survive: A Scene. Being a Scene means that people will come no matter who or what is onstage, just to be a part of the…Scene. That’s not to say that Palisades is booking bad music. It’s all cutting-edge electronica, indie rock and sounds that fit into that most wonderful of categories: beyond mere words. Ariel’s ears (and routing) are guiding the booking and it shows.

The night I was there, I saw three bands, one of which, Guerilla Toss was killin’ it. Fronted by Kassie Carlson, they played a version of what’s become the latest trend in indie rock mashups—a jazz attitude towards improvisation mixed with hip hop and guitar rock. Funk overlays the whole thing. Once they found their groove and got the crowd involved, the whole place was full on bopping, speckled with a few pumped fists. Always fun to see where rock and roll has gone via hungry young bands. Through it all, Ariel was running sound and lights, dealing with crowd issues, staying aware of the (ahem!) female patrons and even sneaking a few gratis cans of warm Genesee Cream Ale to thirsty friends. Great club, great time.

From all his friends at Stereophile congrats go out to Ariel on this excellent success.

Kal Rubinson's picture

See Ariel on the front page of today's NY Times Weekend Arts II section.

John Atkinson's picture
Scroll down the page to see the photo of Ariel playing the guitar at

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

willdao's picture

Cool. I know where I'm comin' next time I'm in the city--and won't even have to make a (futile) quest to try to track you down for a great music club recommendation (which I'd thoroughly resolved to try to do, btw)!

Keep some Genny Cream warm for me (doesn't even have to be's a tradition...the way we were always forced to drink it when we smuggled it into our prep school dorm at, um...age 21).

Stephen Mejias's picture

Yay, AB! Rock on.