Maxwell’s to return with new booking strategy

Elise Testone will performed at the reopened Maxwell's nightclub on Oct. 24.

Elise Testone will perform at the reopened Maxwell’s nightclub in Hoboken on Oct. 24.

The bleacher seats have been taken out of the back room of Maxwell’s in Hoboken, and there’s a fresh coat of paint on the walls. It doesn’t really look like the same room anymore, which is fitting, since the artists who will play there when it reopens Oct. 24 are very different from the indie-rockers and scruffy punk bands who helped make the club legendary in the ’80s and ’90s.

That’s right. Maxwell’s — which closed amid much fanfare in July 2013 but soon reopened its restaurant room — will be presenting music again in its small but famous back room, under a slightly modified name, Maxwell’s Tavern.

The music will be mostly rock and blues, says co-owner Pete Carr, who bought the club with Evan Dean less than a year ago. “We’re going to try to do rock and blues here basically every Friday and Saturday, and maybe Thursdays we’ll put some comedy in,” he says.

“American Idol” alumna and Kinnelon native Elise Testone, whose music mixes elements of rock, blues and soul, will be the first act, on Oct. 24. New Jersey’s most popular cover band, The Nerds, will add some mischief on the night before Halloween, Oct. 30.

Acts booked for November include the Eric Clapton tribute band, Bell Bottom Blues, on Nov. 7; Murali Coryell, on Nov. 8; Papa J, on Nov. 14; and Michael Powers, on Nov. 15.

Tickets are $10 per show. Visit

Blues singer and guitarist Murali Coryell plays at Maxwell's in Hoboken, Nov.

Blues singer and guitarist Murali Coryell plays at Maxwell’s Tavern in Hoboken, Nov. 8

Since July 2013, Maxwell’s has hosted occasional entertainment events, including an open-to-the-public Justin Timberlake video shoot and comedy shows as part of the recent Hoboken Comedy Festival.

Taking out the bleachers was a strategic move, allowing the club to bring in tables for certain shows, though the tables can be moved out to create an open floor, depending on the act.

The change in booking strategy was well thought out, too, since Hoboken is no longer the town of struggling artists it was when the original Maxwell’s thrived. Now, you’ve almost got to be a young urban professional to be able to afford a Hoboken address — and, especially, to live in one of the many luxury apartment buildings that have sprung up in recent years in the vicinity of Maxwell’s.

Still, Carr says he wants the club to maintain a connection to its indie-rock roots.

“One of the things that we’re talking about is doing the first Friday of every month as a local indie band night,” he says. “And we’ll probably do the Hoboken Music Awards around Dec. 5 as well.”


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Jack Silbert October 18, 2014 - 11:37 am

Haunting shades of the “microbrewery” era. The biggest flaw I see here is charging $10 for the shows. One of the great things about the real Maxwell’s was the low ticket prices: Up until the very end you could see top national and international indie acts for $10 (a quick look at my old stubs shows that even in the last month, Screaming Females, Paul Collins’ Beat, and the Fleshtones were all $10 tix.) If they’re bringing in no-name acts, keep it cheap or pass the hat.

Leah K. October 20, 2014 - 6:56 pm

Elise Testone is not a no-name act…

Stephen Bailey October 18, 2014 - 5:25 pm

Well, to be fair there were plenty of big acts that had $20-$25 covers at Maxwell’s in the past. Admittedly I don’t know who this Elise Testone is but if she’s associated with American Idol and has a fanbase, $10 is not all that outrageous. I am hopeful that the local band nights will be as fun as they were in the past and will expand to more than one night a month. But it is a start and I’m not getting the old “brew-pub” vibe from these guys at all.

albert ross October 18, 2014 - 6:33 pm

There are hundred of original musicial acts in the tri-state area which are always better and preferable to Eric Clapton cover bands, even preferable to Clapton himself.

Baby steps I suppose, but a Clapton tribute band? Ewww.

TJK Haywood October 19, 2014 - 12:23 am

They ruined the back room, stripped it of it’s soul and ‘s a TV yuppie place now. Is there even a stage? I saw the pix on Fb. It was a heartbreak to see.They turned NJ’s premiere rock club into a haughty taughty bland soulless white box for pizza munching yuppies that know nothing about music culture. SHAME On THEM!
I loved Maxwell’s the way it was, the way it was supposed to be.

Heyzus October 22, 2014 - 8:38 am

Yuppie this. Yuppie that. You have such hate and anger in that dark, dead heart of yours.

TJK Haywood May 3, 2015 - 1:38 pm

Obviously My heart is alive and well , which is the reason why I loved the way it was . My criticism is well thought out and formed from 30 plus years of experiencing the venue. I’m talking about love for Rock and Roll culture. You want me to look bad ,your reply is trying to FOX news Spin it like I don’t know what I’m talking about. Obviously I now what I’m talking about, I’m talking about love.

Kevin Cale October 19, 2014 - 9:45 am

Not sure who Elise is, but glad music is coming back.

Sad thing is, is rock and blues is not what the Hoboken Resident is looking for these days as their music of choice.

After plenty of Hoboken music studies, it’s singer/songwriter & indie music that is on top.

Not sure if Maxwells “Tavern” did their research but hope they did…. Would love for it to stick around.

Heyzus October 22, 2014 - 11:46 am

Who conducted these studies? Where can I read them?

WWR October 19, 2014 - 3:08 pm Reply
Harlan October 20, 2014 - 7:54 am

Saved as a favorite, I like your blog!

Noah October 20, 2014 - 5:43 pm

i grew up a few blocks from maxwells and went to shows there from when i was 13 until the day it closed. the new owners turned maxwells into an applebees. went once and i had to leave out of disgust.


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