Ghostface Killah coming to Greenfield

  • Legendary hip-hop artist Ghostface Killah will perform at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center on Saturday, May 19, at 9 p.m. Contributed photo/Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center

  • Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center is celebrating its one year anniversary since rebranding with shows from a wide variety of genres, including a Ghostface Killah concert on May 19. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, May 09, 2018

The bartender asked Ben Goldsher how many cases of Red Stripe they should order ahead of Friday’s concert. The former band of Bob Marley, The Wailers, are coming to the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center.

Goldsher replied to go ahead and get a couple extra orders in because he’s expecting a big crowd. In all likelihood, too, after managing another full house for a show at Franklin County’s emerging concert venue, the members of the reggae band might ask Goldsher a question he’s been getting a lot that has everything and nothing to do with Greenfield.

“Every time we have artists come, from local and far, they’re like, ‘Wu-Tang is coming here? Ghostface is coming here?’ It blows people’s minds that it’s happening in this space,” he said, saying maybe six more cases of the beer will work.

It’s a busy time at Hawks & Reed as it celebrates its one-year anniversary under the new moniker, which changed after the Goldshers bought the building — formerly known as The Arts Block — two years ago.

Come Saturday, May 19, a likely sold-out crowd will gather for its biggest performance to date since rebranding. The New York rapper, Ghostface Killah, member of the iconic Wu-Tang Clan and pallbearer of ’90s-era hip-hop, will perform at the Main Street venue at 9 p.m.

“They’re some of the founders of the culture and the style,” Goldsher said about Ghostface Killah and his fellow Wu-Tang Clan members. “To have one of them come to the little old city of Greenfield is pretty extraordinary and a game-changer of some sorts.”

“It’s literally the word around town that Ghostface is coming to Greenfield,” Goldsher continued.

Tickets for the concert are still available for $30 in advance or $40 on the day of the show. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

Opening for Ghostface Killah will be The Problemaddicts and LS Camp, both Massachusetts-based hip-hop groups.

Hawks & Reed’s evolution

In case you thought Hawks & Reed wasn’t just a hip-hop venue, you are right. But the hip-hop scene is evidently brewing at the space that neighbors Greenfield’s Town Hall.

In the past year, Goldsher has figured out how to get some classic acts to come and perform, sometimes before up-to-capacity crowds of 400 to 450 people. Hawks & Reed has seen household names in hip-hop circles, including KRS-One, Dead Prez and Masta Ace.

First, though, came Bizarre, a member of D12, the rap group that once included Eminem. Goldsher’s brother, Jeremy, who helps run the center with Ben and their father, Steven, said “I remember saying, ‘Don’t do it … he’s not big enough.’” The deep-cut member of the old rap supergroup drew a packed crowd, though, to which Jeremy Goldsher said, “Ok, there’s definitely a scene for it.”

When Steven Goldsher bought The Arts Block two years ago, he and his sons set out with a mission:

“We’ve placed art and the artist at the center of our identity and mission,” said Steven Goldsher, a Greenfield native. “The whole concept was to let the artist lead the way, to bring as many artists and art that fits in that venue, and the rest would happen.”

The art that has come has been across the spectrum, from rap to jazz music, from the black box theater that hosts the local Silverthorne Theater Company to a dozen artist installations, and even from the co-working space Jeremy Goldsher is designing upstairs, to the full bar and developing restaurant on the first floor.

“We brought this place out of bankruptcy and are really starting to re-establish it as, hopefully, a long-time anchor for downtown Greenfield,” Jeremy Goldsher said.

Steven Goldsher suggested the future could hold partnerships with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, or the possibilities of museums to commemorate the beekeeping or dinosaur fossil history in Greenfield, in addition to creating a nonprofit arm to the center.

“Having it become a place — and in some ways it is already this way — when you go out on the weekend, you look at what’s going on at Hawks & Reed, because it’s a destination, as opposed to because Ghostface Killah is there,” Steven Goldsher said. “It’s a destination.”

It’s also an opportunity for the elder Goldsher to watch his sons grow into their own, both in their late 20s, as they learn to manage all the moving pieces while grounded by a passion for the arts.

While Steven Goldsher has Ben and Jeremy running the ins-and-outs of the daily operations, including helping to book talent, it’s led to a year under the new name of Hawks & Reed that has begun to define the performing arts center, one act at a time.

“We started the one year off with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and now we’re ending with Ghostface,” Ben Goldsher said. “Those are two iconic people in the music industry and it’s really our honor and pleasure to be able to host them ... It changes what’s going on in the town of Greenfield. I think there’s more happening and Greenfield is on the come up.”

To purchase tickets for the May 19 concert, call 413-774-0150 or visit www.hawksandreed.com.

Staff reporter Joshua Solomon has worked at the Greenfield Recorder since 2017. His beat includes Deerfield, Sunderland, Conway, Whately and the topics of health, welfare and education. He can be reached at: jsolomon@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.