The Fillmore hopes to shake up the local popular music venue scene. Photograph by Kyle Gustafson
Silver Spring residents, take note: As of this week, there’s a whole lot more rock in your neighborhood. Tomorrow sees the official opening of the Fillmore, a 2,000-capacity music hall with a storied history prior to even opening its doors. Owned by giant music conglomerate Live Nation, and inspired by nightclub impresario Bill Graham’s legendary San Francisco Fillmore, the Fillmore Silver Spring promises to bring all kinds of entertainment—from Mary J. Blige, whose concert tomorrow inaugurates the venue, to electronic act Deadmau5 on September 21 and 22—to Colesville Road.
“Silver Spring was a really attractive market because of all the revitalization that’s taken place here over the last ten years,” says Fillmore general manager Stephanie Steele, herself a Silver Spring resident, and formerly of Live Nation’s Warner Theatre in downtown DC. “Having a concert venue here is going to help add vibrancy, and supplement what’s already in the region.”
Long before it opened, the Fillmore was the subject of a lawsuit filed against the state of Maryland* by I.M.P. productions and Seth Hurwitz, the DC-based promoter behind the 9:30 Club. While the Fillmore’s layout may be similar to the 9:30 Club, the new club seems to have a different target audience in mind, judging by the lineup over the next few months (Blondie, Moby, and comedians Lewis Black and Adam Carolla), the lavish attention to decor, and the food. The Fillmore has a number of details inspired by the San Francisco original: two purple-tinged chandeliers hanging over the burnished wood floors; vintage rock posters of Joan Jett and Gillian Welch; large, elaborate murals on the walls; and a bowl of apples right by the entrance—a nod to Graham’s trademark tub of complimentary apples in San Francisco. It also features heavy-duty steel bars, drinks holders on the upstairs level, and a menu featuring everything from burgers with duck-fat fries to hummus and edamame.
“We put a lot of time and attention into the food, from what types of food we’d serve, to what it was going to be served in,” says Steele. Food comes in Chinese takeout-esque containers, with pipettes of house-made sauce on the side. “They’ll be easy to handle for when you’re carrying drinks and food back,” she says.
As for working with the neighborhood, Steele mentions how committed the Fillmore is to being a good neighbor. “We have a terrific guest services team, and we’ll have ambassadors outside after concerts to make sure everybody knows where they’re going,” she says. Concerts are also scheduled to finish in time for guests to catch the last red line train and Steele mentions that Silver Spring has over 2,000 parking spaces nearby that are free on evenings and weekends.
But if duck-fat fries and organized transport doesn’t sound all that rock and roll, don’t be fooled. “Just to see the diversity of the lineup over the next few months is really exciting,” Steele says.
*An earlier version of this post may have implied the lawsuit filed by I.M.P. was against Live Nation, not the state of Maryland, as is correct. We apologize for the error.