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Tin Angel closing after 24 years

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Talent booker Larry Goldfarb hints at future re-opening in another location

STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
bbingaman@21st-centurymedia.com
@brianbingaman on Twitter

Old City Philadelphia listening room The Tin Angel presents its last show (for now) Feb. 4.
Owner Donal McCoy sold the Second Street building that houses both The Tin Angel and the restaurant Serrano earlier this year.
“The people coming in — a Peruvian restaurant — didn’t want The Tin Angel,” said Larry Goldfarb the venue’s talent booker for 24 years. “We can hold our head high and say that in this little room, up two flights of stairs, we had great artists.”
An intimate, general admission seating space that holds a little more than 100 people, tickets for The Tin Angel’s final concerts are selling rapidly. Jan. 27’s Citizen Cope show is sold out; so is Jan. 28’s evening with Kenn Kweder, plus the two closing night shows with The Ben Vaughn Quintet and Dan Montgomery.
Recently added to the remaining schedule is “Farewell to Tin Angel: A Benefit for Soundgirls.org.” Starting at 8 p.m. Jan. 31, the lineup features John Francis, Kuf Knotz, Laura Shay, Lily Mae, Ross Bellenoit, Hezekiah Jones and other special guests. Point Entertainment talent booker Jesse Lundy, who organized the show along with Francis “for the love of the venue,” said that all the proceeds will go to SoundGirls, an education/mentoring nonprofit run by Tin Angel sound engineer Barb Adams, providing tools, knowledge and support for the next generation of women audio engineers.

Ben Vaughn plays the last two shows at The Tin Angel's Old City location in Philadelphia. Submitted photo

Ben Vaughn plays the last two shows at The Tin Angel’s Old City location in Philadelphia.
Submitted photo

Lundy, who was in Goldfarb’s role at friendly-rival listening room The Point in Bryn Mawr, rattled off a list of names he reveres that appeared at The Tin Angel; among them: Rosanne Cash, Ray LaMontagne, Old Crow Medicine Show and former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor.
The remaining shows also include “Au Revoir to the Tin Angel” with Eric Bazilian and Wesley Stace (who used to go by the stage name John Wesley Harding) Feb. 1, a Philadelphia Folksong Society show with The Hillbenders Feb. 2, and Steve Forbert and Joe D’Urso Feb. 3. All start at 8 p.m. Call (215) 928-0770 or visit www.tinangel.com to check ticket availability.
It’s fitting that Vaughn, a Camden County native now living on the West Coast, will be the last one to play there. He was The Tin Angel’s very first headliner in 1992, breaking in the place for other aspiring singer/songwriters to launch their careers, such as Damien Rice, Patty Griffin, Chuck Prophet, Kelly Joe Phelps and Alejandro Escovedo.
“That’s how we came up with artists like Erin McKeown and The Avett Brothers,” Lundy chimed in.
According to Goldfarb, a Philly-based 46-year music business veteran, Vaughn emailed him about closing night as soon as he caught wind of a report back in October about The Tin Angel closing. “Is it bittersweet? Yes. It’s a good way to go out,” he said.
Goldfarb reflected fondly that Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Donovan, the late Laura Nyro, and Small Faces’ Ian McLagan have all played The Tin Angel.

Eric Bazilian plays one of the final shows at The Tin Angel in Philadelphia on Feb. 1. Submitted photo

Eric Bazilian plays one of the final shows at The Tin Angel in Philadelphia on Feb. 1.
Submitted photo

“One of the best compliments I got was from Gil Scott-Heron (famous for his spoken word/jazz single ‘The Revolution Will Not be Televised’),” said Goldfarb, who is proud of his track record of booking 40 concerts at the Academy of Music over the years. Although he was infamous for showing up late, Scott-Heron wouldn’t hesitate to come to Philadelphia to perform, for example, four Tin Angel shows during a holiday weekend. When Goldfarb asked him why he would commit to such a small room, when he could make the same money in a single night somewhere else.
“He said: ‘I’m at a point where I’m comfortable with what I’m doing; and secondly, Larry, I trust you’,” Goldfarb said.
Unlike Legendary Dobbs, the North Star Bar and The Point, this is not supposed to be the bitter end for The Tin Angel. “We’d like to have a bigger space … It’ll be a while,” said Goldfarb.
Follow www.facebook.com/TinAngelPhilly and @tinangelphl on Twitter for updates on the future of The Tin Angel.

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