Chicago’s The Salt Shed Celebrates Its Grand Opening With Big Gigantic [REVIEW]

The Salt Shed in Chicago, Illinois just opened its indoor concert space after years of anticipation, and Big Gigantic performed on opening night.

The Salt Shed is a venue near downtown Chicago located within an iconic building that formerly housed the Morton Salt Company. After a few outdoor performances in 2022, the indoor space is officially open for 2023, and Big Gigantic performed on the venue’s first night on February 18.

Now that The Salt Shed is finally here, it instantly becomes one of the top venues in Chicago along with Radius. There were a few areas that need improvement after opening night, but The Salt Shed is on its way to being a state-of-the-art venue.

Tickets to 2023 events at The Salt Shed are available now.

The show started with Levity, Ahee, and Eazybaked opening the night before Big Gigantic’s performance.

Before walking into The Salt Shed, you’re greeted with an outdoor area with several food trucks and comfortable seating options. Last year, an outdoor concert setup was built here to host artists like Death Cab For Cutie and Fleet Foxes. While the main attraction is now the indoor space, The Salt Shed still has an outdoor area that will be particularly nice once the weather starts to warm up.

After a relaxed and efficient security line, the lobby inside has plenty of room for bars, coat check, and artist merch. There is also Guitar Supply, a permanent music and guitar store that stays open during shows.

The Salt Shed focuses more on rock and live performances rather than electronic music.

Tove Lo was actually scheduled to be the first show before Big G, but she had to cancel due to illness. This meant that the Big Gigantic show was likely even more crowded than usual, which led to some headaches on opening night.

The Salt Shed is split up into three different sections: General Admission on the floor, Grandstand in an assigned seating section, and Premium GA in an elevated VIP section along the side. On opening night, general admission and grandstand ticketholders had access to both the GA floor and the seats.

This meant a nice mix of viewing options, but the entrance line to get into the GA level was extremely overcrowded early in the night. Some attendees reported waiting up to 30 minutes just to get onto the floor, and when they did, it was too crowded. Grandstand and Premium ticketholders are promised access to the floor level as well, but there needs to be better crowd control at the GA entrance in the future.

As the crowd dispersed throughout the night, it was easier to access the floor during Big Gigantic’s set. Another issue was the bar lines on the floor level being very long, but there were additional bars on the upper levels that had shorter wait times.

The Grandstand seating area features comfortable seats on a few different levels to view the stage from.

I started the show all the way to the front left of the venue and watched the last half of Big G from the grandstand. Both viewing options are worth the price in their own ways. The floor level provides a more traditional EDM concert experience, while the grandstand had an incredible view of the venue’s production. And the seats were some of the the most comfortable seats you’ll find inside of a venue.

The grandstand also has its own row of speakers suspended from the ceiling, meaning the sound quality is just as good as it is from the floor. Grandstand tickets are slightly more than GA, but for an extra $20, the assigned seating is well worth it if that’s something that interests you.

The elevated seating areas set The Salt Shed apart from Radius, a similarly sized venue in Chicago.

The Salt Shed was founded by 16 On Center, the group behind The Empty Bottle, Thalia Hall, The Promontory, and other local bars and venues. It’s apparent in The Salt Shed’s decor and vibe that the team behind it has experience curating popular entertainment spaces.

The production was particularly impressive considering this is the biggest venue and most intensive project the company has taken on. The lasers and onstage lighting combined with the renovated warehouse ceiling were awe-inspiring. Gordo and Green Velvet are currently the only upcoming electronic shows scheduled at The Salt Shed, so it will be interesting to see what kind of visual production those bring out. All three events are booked and produced by Collectiv Presents.

The Salt Shed is the newest venue in Chicago and is a must-see for fans of live music.

With other artists like Iggy Pop, Phil Lesh, The Roots, Third Eye Blind, Goose, Nils Frahm, The Flaming Lips, and MUNA scheduled to perform, The Salt Shed is set to host a wide range of events in 2023. Let’s hope The Salt Shed continues to thrive and adds to Chicago’s reputation as one of the best cities for live music.

Story: @michael_premier

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