|Sleep Circadia performs at the Montage Music Hall on October 17. Home to Rochester’s metal scene, the Montage attracts both local and nationally-known bands.
Built into the belly of the massive 50 Chestnut Plaza
Building in the heart of Rochester’s East End, the
Montage Music Hall is a unique sort of beast.
Sharing a wall with the Rochester Athletic Club, this
intimate concert venue occupies a space that was
once a massive 2,180 seat auditorium. Signs of the long abandoned
hall can still be seen in the various backrooms and staging areas
throughout the Montage’s recesses — chandeliers, marble staircases
and sweeping balconies stand unattended. It has adapted as the face of
live entertainment in Rochester has changed over the years. Through
new ownership and a strong relationship with the local music scene,
the hall has developed a special identity as a landmark venue in the
western New York music scene.
The Montage Music Hall isn’t very big. The floor only holds around
400 people, and the average staff only includes four people; a manager,
a bartender, a doorman/security attendee and a sound mixer.
Sometimes extra hands are brought in to help out for bigger shows.
Yet despite — or perhaps because of — its size, the stage has supported
some of the biggest regional and national names in rock and heavy
metal music. Though the club plays a variety of music, including jazz
and blues, its focus on the heavy metal scene of western New York has
generated a lot of buzz.
“I’m the metal guy.” Oz Asbjorn grins wide as he describes his role as
stage manager at the Montage. In fact, Asbjorn is always grinning. As
one of the main contributors to the Montage’s growing relationship
with the local metal scene and its ability to book nationally recognized
acts, Asbjorn loves what he does. “I’ve been a metalhead since I was
a kid,” he says, adding, “Whenever I can get the name of metal out,
that’s what I’ll do.”