Here at Music in SF, we’re always looking for ways to highlight San Francisco music venues. This month we’re showcasing The Great American Music Hall. The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, Calif., is a historic musical venue located in the Tenderloin District. A live music San Francisco institution, the hall has a capacity of 600 music fans. Over the years, it has been home to almost every kind of musical performance imaginable, from burlesque shows to jazz to rock concerts.
History and Architectural Style of the Great American Music Hall
The history of the Great American Music Hall San Francisco CA goes back to 1907 when it was built following the great San Francisco earthquake. Its original name was Blanco’s. The French architect named it after a house of ill repute on Africa’s Barbary Coast.
In 1936, burlesque performer Sally Rand bought Blanco’s and renamed it the Music Box. Rand closed the performance hall in the mid-1940s, and for a while, it was known as Blanco’s again. The music hall declined steadily through the 1960s to the point that it was nearly torn down.
When Tom Bradshaw acquired the building in the 1970s, he refurbished the building in its current style and renamed it the Great American Music Hall. The live music venue San Francisco became as well known for its decorative columns, balconies, and frescoes as it was for musical acts like Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan. In 1974, Jerry Garcia recorded an album at the Great American Music Hall with his jazz ensemble.
The Great American Music Hall’s reputation for top-notch musical and comedy acts continued through the 1980s and ‘90s. In 1982, comic Robin Williams recorded his “An Evening with Robin Williams” comedy special there. From 2003-2004, the Velvet Hammer Burlesque act was housed there.
Performances Today at The Great American Music Hall
Since then, current owner Diablo Management Group has booked primarily musical talent at the Great American Music Hall. Today this live music venue in San Francisco attracts national and international musical performers.
Live musical acts that took place at the Great American Music Hall in 2017 included:
• Alina Baraz
• Cody Jinks
• Dead Man’s Party: An Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman Tribute
• Fleetwood Mask, “The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band”
• Julien Baker
• Teenage Fanclub
• The Band Perry
• The Murder City Devils
• Vanessa Carlton
Fans of rock, folk, jazz, and other great American musical styles will readily find entertaining acts at this classic San Francisco venue. Hopefully, this concert hall will be around for generations of music fans to see their favorite artists perform live in concert.