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Old Posted Sep 24, 2015, 3:04 PM
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Love seeing this type of endeavor in Erie! Fingers crossed that it makes it. Tough business, but do it right and Erieites will flock to it for good live music. A venue this size (900 capacity) has been missing for awhile, like in many cities.

This will open in the former Daka Paper warehouse on W13th across from Griswold Park, which is a great location. This was formerly the Metropolitan dance club, which finally closed after one too many fights and shootings.

Music Hall & Blues Lounge to open Sunday

IE, Pa. -- Jimi Popeski was already scouting locations to open an Erie music club, when a musician friend told him about the Metropolitan at 144 W. 13th St.

He couldn't believe his eyes or ears. The venue had everything he wanted. Downtown location. Two rooms for bands, including one large enough to hold about 900 people. Sound system. Basically, all he needed to do was sprucing up -- some painting, building a green room, renovating a side room and convincing Ron Filippi -- the building's owner -- to give him a shot.

Missions accomplished. The Music Hall & Blues Lounge opens Sunday night with a post Tedeschi Trucks Band concert with the Saint Francis Band, an accomplished Americana group from Georgia, and Sean-Patrick and the Newgrass Revolution.

"I said (to Filippi), I can't believe this room is nearly in silence," Popeski said. "You can tell the details they put into this, the way the bar is set up. You can tell it was designed with a stage for music. And then the dance-club thing took over, and that's all it's ever been. Musicians in Erie don't even know this room exists."

Filippi acknowledged the Metropolitan didn't take off as a dance club, so he's excited to see the venue become a home for live acts. Oh no, it took off, but people tend to decide to stop going after multiple shootings happen inside your club.

"When we opened up originally in 2001, we were a million-dollar dance club, and we really don't want to go back into that business," he said. "The main club is going to be more of a concert hall where we're going to bring in different acts -- regional and maybe some nationals for shows from like 8 to 11 p.m. The Blues Lounge is more of a traditional type of operation."

The Music Hall's capacity gives Erie a room that's larger than a bar but smaller than the Warner -- the equivalent of, say, Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom or smaller Agora Ballroom. Local acts will play the Blues Lounge, which was formerly a Tiki Bar.

In recent years, the Metropolitan mostly functioned as a rental hall for private parties, charity fundraisers and wedding receptions. Filippi said the Music Hall will still be available for Saturday rentals, but those events will eventually move to the second floor after renovations. The entire complex will be renamed the City View Events Center. Cheesy name.
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