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By Anatol Steven. 09.03.2013


Save to foursquare Marijas 21
entrance from Pērses
, Riga
Phone: 6728 4516



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Concertgoers in Riga are anticipating a more interesting and varied wave of bands to play gigs in the Baltics now that the new mid-sized venue Palladium is open. Recent acts have, in most cases, raised expectations including the Kaiser Chiefs, Anna Calvi and James Blunt.

It does seem that, despite the opening troika of British guitar-wielding acts, what we have to look forward to is more rooted in electronica. Club nights and visiting dubstep DJs are planned, though no more than once a month.

But Palladium manager Ģirts Majors, founder of the Baltic region’s most popular summertime music fest, the Positivus Festival, insists that all kinds of gigs can be expected. 

“It’s a new era for events in Riga,” he says. “We’re reaching the audiences without having to aggressively advertise.”

He’s working with international concert planners in Finland, emphasizing that artists who extend their tours into the Baltics will be delighted with the extra dose of adulation in Riga. Maximum capacity at the 2600 sq m Palladium is 1600 people, but it’s a perfect venue for 300-400.

He’s particularly interested in getting more alternative and indie bands here. Their presence in the Baltic region has been rare up to now because of the scarcity of mid-level venues, leaving it to hoary old rock monsters and semi-retired eighties acts to play the city’s stadiums. Starved of live entertainment, many locals will go and see anyone they’ve vaguely heard of.

Majors is sure that some of the Palladium’s former glory will rub off on it. The 98-year-old building used to be the most popular cinema in Latvia. Despite two devastating fires in the fifties and sixties, renovation patched it up so that audiences would always flock back to fill every seat. It was the first widescreen cinema in Riga, and had acoustics that would bring even the most monotonous Soviet movie to life.

The acoustics are still amazing. A new wooden floor has been put in place, and the lighting and PA systems are of a high level. Seating can be installed for events and private functions. One of the burned walls has been left visible above the stage, rather evocatively. The stage is set for the Palladium to continue its life as one of Riga’s premier entertainment venues.

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