San Francisco Armory reopening as live music venue

When the San Francisco Armory opens its doors as a music venue for the first time on 31 December it will boast a sizeable d&b audiotechnik sound system and the only ‘supergrid’ truss structure in California.

The two major upgrades are part of the Armory’s bid to become San Francisco’s leading live music venue.

Since the historic 4,000-capacity building was granted an entertainment permit from the city in April, it has spent the past nine months upgrading the sound system, as well as adding sound attenuation vestibules and the trussing.

The first event at the new Armory will be a New Year’s Eve party headlined by French electronic music duo Justice.

The supergrid is a massive 56ft x 68ft truss designd to give national touring shows the ability to replicate the experience of a much larger venue.

“Within the year, the Armory will be the number one venue in San Francisco for live shows,” said Audrey Joseph, director of events for the Armory. “The new sound system and supergrid give us the ability to stage both one-offs like New Year’s and touring shows. We’re in talks with national concert and event promoters about securing the venue on an exclusive basis.”

In addition to the supergrid and sound system, Joseph oversaw the building of sound attenuation vestibules around exterior doors, and is in the process of adding STC-rated shutters over the windows to prevent sound leakage into the surrounding neighborhood.

More than 100 years old, the former National Guard Armory is one of San Francisco’s most distinctive buildings – a Moorish castle with an 80ft domed ceiling and 40,000 sqft floating maple dance floor.

“In the 1930s the Armory was San Francisco’s premier sports venue, and was known as the Madison Square Garden of the West,” Joseph explained. “With the improvements, we’re taking that title back as the city’s most important concert venue.”