With sale pending, future of The Tin Angel uncertain
And then there were none. Maybe.
The building that houses 24-year-old Old City folk club The Tin Angel is being sold, according to a report on Philly.com. And while its future as a place for music is uncertain — the buyers own a couple restaurants in Northeast Philly, and have not yet announced their plans for the space — one only has to look at the blocks surrounding it to take the temperature.
This section of Old City along South Second Street was once a bustling live music nexus, from the indie rock dives The Khyber and Upstairs at Nick’s to the hip-hop and funk oriented Five Spot along Bank Street and the tripped out Upstage on 3rd Street. All of those places have since gone away; the Five Spot burned down in the aughties and the rest became bar/restaurants where concerts are scarce — and if live music is there, it’s massively de-emphasized.
The Tin Angel was the last club standing. It opened in 1992 after its companion restaurant Serrano had spent seven years establishing itself on 2nd Street. Over the years, it’s crafted a strong niche for shows that are acoustic and intimate, ranging from folk icons like the late Odetta to contemporaries like The Innocence Mission. It strongly catered to the local community, welcoming Hezekiah Jones, Gillian Grassie and Heart Harbor it its matchbook-size stage numerous times over the years. And it even got a bit far-out from time to time, hosting a set by experimental artist Settled Arrows this summer and one a couple years back by folk-punk outfits Steady Hands and The Hundred Acre Woods.
While owner Donal McCoy tells Philly.com’s Michael Klein that it was time to move on from Old City, he doesn’t want to give up on the niche:
He said he planned to revive the Tin Angel name and concept elsewhere – a bigger venue. “I don’t want to kill the brand.”