On March 24, 2010, a new venue called Grand Central made its debut during Winter Music Conference. Nite Jewel and Tanlines were the first artists to grace its stage, and after the closing of Studio A, Miami was aching for a new midsize venue. Five years later, Grand Central proved to be that and more.
With the help of bookings from Miami's Poplife, Grand Central was the go-to venue for bands making their way to Miami that fell somewhere between the American Airlines Arena and Churchill's Pub. To so many South Floridians, Grand Central was a much-needed venue, bringing acts to town that might otherwise have nowhere else to play and offering affordable tickets compared to many Miami Beach venues.
But now, sadly, Grand Central has announced it will close September 26. In a statement to New Times, Aramis Lorie, cofounder of Poplife and co-owner of Grand Central, said:
After nearly six years of a very successful operation, Grand Central is closing its doors at the end of September at its current location permanently. This by no means is an end to Grand Central's spirit and brand. On the contrary, it is part of a strategic move focused on growth through a spectrum of diversified ventures in the hospitality industry and the creative world.
Please join us Saturday, September 26, for one final engagement.
What exactly Grand Central has planned for its final night September 26 hasn't been revealed. Lorie also didn't comment on what will happen to the acts that were booked through October.
For now, Grand Central isn't elaborating on the specific reason for its closure. But if one had to guess, it's safe to assume it has something to do with the impending construction of the Miami Worldcenter, which has already claimed Will Call, Mekka, and the Downtown ArtHouse.
With the closing of Grand Central, many Miami music fans will find themselves temporarily left with no home. Around 10,000 square feet, the venue filled a huge void in the city's music market. Before its arrival, Fort Lauderdale's Revolution Live was one of the area's most successful midsize venues, but Grand Central was able to draw talent back to the Magic City, hosting an eclectic mix of acts. Groups sucha s Cannibal Corpse were just as likely to get booked as Rakim.
But now one big question remains: What venue will step into Grand Central's place? Though Grand Central may be no more, Poplife is still around and in need of a new venue to book its acts. The Olympia Theater has been experiencing a flurry of awesome bookings lately, including Neutral Milk Hotel, Kraftwerk, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Mana in Wynwood, this year's III Points and Fool's Gold Day Off venue, looks poised to take advantage as well.
But, for now at least, it's time to toss speculation aside and mourn the loss of a great venue. In the words of John Belushi: "My advice is to start drinking heavily." You can even play the Grand Central drinking game. Just take a shot for every band or DJ you watched within GC's walls. It shouldn't be hard to catch a nice buzz, and though it won't save Grand Central, it should help to dull the pain.
In Grand Central's honor, New Times tracked down some local talent to ask them their favorite Grand Central memories.
New Times: What was your favorite Grand Central moment?
Otto Von Schirach, musician: The Dave Nada Moombahton Massive party gets my vote. Dave Nada had 1000 Miami aliens shaking their booties all in sync to the massive kick drum, and I will never forget that night. It totally looked like a choreographed Moombahton Olympics.
Gio Profera, AKA Juleisy, Miami's favorite bearded drag queen: I loved so much at Grand Central, bro. Pero, the best might be Red Bull Culture Clash performing with Pepe Billete, Otto Von Schirach, and the rest of 305 PLP family. And the Roller Disco for always keeping Miami rolling with funky people and beats.
Mychael Ghost, lead singer of Astari Nite: My favorite Grand Central moment of all time would have to be Astari Nite having the privilege of being support for Peter Murphy. It was a performance that solidified our band a headline show at the 2015 Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig, Germany. We will forever be grateful to Aramis and Mario.
Jipsy, photographer and founder of NefariousGirl.com: There are so many, like the roller-skating party and Diplo playing to a full house, but it's really only a great memory only because of the GC team, including Barbie Basti. Poplife are my first and only Miami nightlife family.
Benjamin Acero, founder and Director of Un_Mute Events: My favorite grand central memory was an event we produced with Rhadoo and Konrad Black in 2010 and again last year. We did Raresh & Praslea along with PL0T and Resolute. the show was one of the rare moments that Miami experienced Romanian techno. it was a Beautiful night of proper music education.
Michelle Leshem, DJ and founder of SuperMarket Creative: So many amazing moments but I'll narrow it down to two: The Cut Copy concert and DJing for the Robyn + Rokk Body Talk Show.
Stephany Torres, artist relations & marketing for Poplife: WMC 2014 during Hard. A whole bunch of us were hanging in the green room and Skrillex randomly turns on the sound system and delivers a set of only '90s hip hop. It felt like Peach Fuzz with all my close friends. Favorite show: The Black Angels. The energy was perfect, their set was tight, and it was just a really great live show.
AholSniffsGlue, artist: I have been a fan of musician and artist Daniel Johnston for a long time, so seeing him at Grand Central a few Basels ago was amazing.
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Lex One, musician and member of Wizard Sleeve: GC was the heart of the Miami scene. Besides the countless hip hop shows I've seen there, Little Dragon had to have been my favorite live band to rock the spot — not to mention how the bartender was a bit heavy-handed on the vodka and cranberry that night.
Chuck Loose, former Chickenhead member and Iron Forge Press founder: Definitely playing with Dead Milkmen there with Sandratz was my best memory of that place. Staff there were always super cool and professional. I did a few posters for them over the years, and they always seemed to appreciate them.
Brian Basti, managing partner at Grand Central: I would have to admit that, for me, my favorite moments were all the times I worked with the GC crew. A lot of our staff have been with us since the beginning and some have been with us even before that. It was nice to have such an amazing crew.
John Caignet, Founder of Jolt Radio: I enjoyed watching Animal Collective & DJ Woozles at Grand Central and I'll never forget the nights Benton had his residency in the patio. Great selections, friends, pool table, and dancing.
Chuck Livid, founder of TuffGnarl.com: I’ll never forget the first time I went to Grand Central. I was amazed at how many smoking hot girls wearing ‘80s style cut-off shorts and ray-ban sunglasses dancing there were. This wasn’t the Miami I grew up in in the mid ‘90s. It was in many ways better. Grand Central was the real deal — a large space run by good people that gave a stage to many local bands to shine opening for national acts. It’ll be greatly missed.