By Tom McLaughlin, Class of 2019
Music fans lined up outside of the newly restored White Eagle Hall on Wednesday, October 11 in Jersey City to see the California-based indie pop group Best Coast perform with the Philadelphia and Brooklyn-based indie rock group Field Mouse.
White Eagle Hall (WEH) is one of the newest additions to the Jersey City arts scene. Constructed and operated by Polish immigrants and craftsmen, its doors first opened in 1910. After 24 years serving as a community center, Saint Anthony’s parish took over as owners, adding a rich history to the hall as home of the legendary high school basketball powerhouse. In 2012, the venue was sold by Saint Anthony’s and it was publicly announced that WEH would undergo a restoration process.
Now, in 2017, WEH has been transformed into a brand new concert and theater scene for Hudson County residents. Along with cutting edge sound and lighting technology, the owners and restoration team still sought to preserve the venue’s unique history, adding and restoring several different elements and fixtures to have as much of a local feel for the audience as possible.
Talent Buyer Heath Miller commented on working with the hall’s owners and explained how they wanted to keep the venue true to its past.
“It’s nice to work with real people and not like a big, large, faceless corporation that’s just churning it out and following a pattern. It’s people putting heart and soul into the place,” Miller said.
As WEH expands, the staff hopes to increase the diversity of genres in the hopes that it will have something to offer to all members of the Jersey City culture.
“We’re definitely working towards expanding the type of music we’re working with,” Miller explained. “If you want to see something, tell us. I’m all for taking input, like, please help me get the bands that people locally want to see.”
Bethany Cosentino, leader, vocalist and guitarist of Best Coast commented on the band’s first time being in Jersey City and explicitly marveled at how the venue used to be a high school gymnasium. After the show, she even posted a video to her Instagram Story to thank the Jersey City natives who came to show their support.
“The crowd tonight was one of the coolest and most diverse mix of people I’ve ever seen at a Best Coast show, and it made me so happy and I can’t wait to come back,” Cosentino said.
Best Coast can be seen touring with Paramore while also playing select headlining shows throughout October. For tickets and more information on the band, go to www.bestcoast.net. Tickets and information about White Eagle Hall can also be found at www.whiteeaglehallnj.com.