Milestones to Change to “High Fidelity”

So, my friend and sometimes-poster to this blog, John Sachelli hipped me to the fact that Milestones was changing hands a few weeks ago, but I didn’t really get a chance to blog about it. It’s probably as well that I didn’t, and there’s a great article in the latest City discussing the new owner and the outgoing owner.

It seems that, contrary to rumors, there will continue to be live music at Milestones, albeit under a new name. And what a name. “High Fidelity.” Before I get into the positives, let me just point out this one negative. The name sucks on so many levels. “Pretentious” is an adjective that comes to mind, yet despite the high-flown intentions or perhaps because of them, “lame” also comes to mind. With a name like that, you can only appeal to vinyl snobs and baby boomers, neither of which is where the money’s at in the first place.

But, OK. I’ve bitched about it. Nothing I can do to change it, anyway. Now for the good news: the new owner, Joe Gizzie, is a musician himself, and the former owner is opening a non-live music bar further down East Avenue. As I see it, this is good in a number of ways.

For one, I think most anyone I know who’s played the Milestones stage in the last few years would agree with Mr. O’Leary that the club has been in need of some new blood and new exitement. It’s been in kind of a holding pattern recently, still putting in good bands, but not really giving them any real reason to return. There is something to be said for the need for live music club owners to be almost as creative as the musicians that take the stage, and that has been missing recently.

At the same time, while O’Leary may have been losing his taste for Milestones and booking live bands (to be honest, as a musician, I think I can actually appreciate this sentiment.? We’re nothing but trouble.), he has been very active with the East End Fest planning, and having him move farther down the street might hopefully drag the Fest further down the street and open up at least one more stage.

I’m sure that I’ve lamented the East End Fest’s recent paucity of original, local bands more than once on this blog in the past, so I shan’t dwell too much on it here.? But the Milestones stage tended to be one stage that could be relied upon for at least original music, and he usually followed that up with something good inside after the Fest was over.? Granted, his contract upon leaving Milestones reportedly stipulates that he cannot have live music at the new location, but I don’f know that this will necessarily extend to an outdoor stage during the East End Fest.

So, hopefully, Milestones gets a shot in the arm that it needs – albeit with a questionable name – and so does the East End Fest, a celebration which I never used to miss until it got hopelessly lame.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.

3 replies on “Milestones to Change to “High Fidelity””

East End Fest “Hopelessly Lame.”

Seeing hundreds of people jammed in behind Milestones and the Spot completly loosing their minds to Uncle Plum comes to mind.

… but maybe that’s because, in my oppinion, modern rock is pretty much socked full of whiney bull-shit or so much distortion and sound all at once that the listener has no hope of getting what the lyrics are.


Oh, yeah. It comes to my mind, too. In fact, I can recall the last East End Fest I went to, being hopelessly, horribly single at the time, and standing there watching Uncle Plum because there were women to talk to. Didn’t get anywhere, and my ears hurt from the awful music.

I’m hoping to stem that something will serve to stem that tide a bit. The fest keeps shrinking year after year, both in distance down East Ave and in time. That should tell them something. Remember when you used to be able to drink durning the festival and the last stage didn’t wrap things up till well after dark in the middle of the summer? I do, and Milestones was where the Appellate Building is now.

And as for “Modern Rock,” let’s face it: the world is full of lame people. More importantly, the world is full of people who know jack-shit about music and need someone else to make up their minds for them. That’s what original music at local festivals is all about. But try telling that to the folks running the show over there.

Not too sure if this will be read,,,ha! But here it goes!
As a former employee of Milestones (1997-2003), I did see the gradual decline of this great club due to in great part to the general public’s lack of interest in original music. My job there was to mix live music and I had a lot a lot of fun there and got a lot of great work touring-wise from those great bands. Some of us may remember a few great performers that played there and rocked the house. Here are some of my favorites:
SCOTS! Yes, Southern Fried and loud!
ColorBlind James- Thanks Chuck!
John Mayer- yeah, he did play there, about 6 months before his single hit.
The NightStalkers-every Sunday night,,first band I ever mixed, way, way, back!
Josh Rouse-great show, maybe 40 people there
Yellowman-110 pounds of Dancehall Reggae
Inner Circle-‘Bad Boys, Bad Boys’,,mixed them too,,they tried to blow up my Subs!
Martin Sexton-I toured with Martin before he played there, sonic one-man accoustic!
Pushstars-I toured with them (thanks Ron Mesh). Great show, I turned them up real
Sorry, I could go on, but the important thing to remember is that all the bands I mentioned were original. Milestones gave me the vehicle to get jobs with these bands and for that alone, I will miss the place. I’ll miss the place and can only hope the new owner will at least ‘try’ to bring in some good original music here and there. Oh yeah, I will also miss the Sunday night shows there as well where I mixed some of the best Celtic bands in the world!

Comments are closed.