Syracuse is starting to look a whole lot bigger. Upstate Shows, the promotion company that runs the Westcott Theater, now has two more venues to work with.

In June, Killswitch Engage played the first show at the F Shed, a new venue located at the Regional Market, marking the first of many concerts to come. The Shed was used regularly by the market, but never as a concert venue.

Upstate Shows started looking to expand two years ago after noticing demand for some artists was far higher than anything the Westcott Theater could accommodate. “We’ve done Lotus so many times at the Westcott Theater and our phones would always ring for a day straight with people looking for tickets,” said Eric Binion, one half of the booking force behind Upstate Shows. “We knew we needed to move them to a bigger venue.”

And that’s exactly what they did. Upstate announced last Monday that the F Shed’s fifth concert will be headlined by Lotus in November. On-the-rise dance acts Krewella and Big Gigantic are also slated for upcoming performances.

“It’s very similar to a festival tent like at Bonnaroo,” said Binion, “but on a much smaller scale.” The walls of the venue can all be opened, increasing capacity and allowing sunlight and fresh air to reach the fans.

Not every show is a blockbuster, though. For bands with less of a following, Upstate Shows also took over the Lost Horizon on the first of September. The club, open since 1976, is one of the last standing venues booking proper shows for punk and metal bands. Binion views the acquisition as a new tool to make every show as appropriate as possible. “For a show that’s only going to do 200 people at the Westcott, that’s kind of an empty room,” he said. “But at the Lost, that’s half the capacity. That’s a concert!”

Between the Westcott Theater, the F Shed, the Lost Horizon, and the option to keep leasing stadium shows at places like the OnCenter or the New York State Fairgrounds, Upstate Shows is close to running a monopoly on live music in Syracuse, but Binion doesn’t view this as an issue. “I think our track record proves that we try to cater to everybody,” he said. “Whether it’s a country show, a death metal show — we do comedy events, we’ve got Alton Brown [from the Food Network] coming. If there’s an audience out there for it, we’re going to bring it to Syracuse.”

Photo by Nico Rinaldo

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