The award-winning weekly Cambridge soul night announced Tuesday that it is leaving ZuZu and The Middle East after an incredible 15-year run, and setting up shop over in Harvard Square for a new Saturday night residency at The Sinclair’s restaurant space.
The final Soulelujah at ZuZu and The Middle East will be October 6.
The following Saturday, October 13, it begins a new era of funk and boogie down Massachusetts Avenue. While Soulelujah will operate on a weekly dance party schedule in the Sinclair Kitchen, we’re told the party will have opportunities to occasionally take over the Bowery Boston venue’s main concert hall.
“When we first started in ZuZu, none of us ever imagined that there would be much of a call for soul music in such a transient city,” reads a statement posted by the Soulelujah team this afternoon. “Thankfully we were wrong on that point, and the Boston and Cambridge communities quickly embraced our ideas. So much so, that we eventually had to expand [from ZuZu] into the [Middle East’s] Upstairs room. Running two rooms each week was incredibly fun, but also quite a challenge. It’s fair to say that we all have a few more gray hairs than when we started. This town has a reputation for being full of cold shoulders, and we couldn’t be happier knowing that just isn’t true. We really can’t say enough about that.”
Though in its statement Soulelujah cites the challenges of running its weekly party simultaneously in both the 100-person-capacity ZuZu and the 190-person-capacity Upstairs, the announcement of the move comes exactly three weeks after Middle East co-owner and manager Joseph Sater retired from the venue and its restaurant amid allegations of sexual assault. Middle East ownership addressed and refuted those allegations on August 28.
“We want to thank all of the staff at the Middle East for giving us a creative space to grow over the years,” Soulelujah adds. “Their hospitality helped us to build a room full of love each and every week, and we are incredibly grateful for all of their hard work. We have three events left at the Middle East and we hope that you will join us in celebrating our friends and family that make their living helping you bust moves on the dance floor… Thank you to all of the guest DJs and bands that have come to rock with us over the years. Our guests all seem to have had the same reaction, ‘You guys get DOWN!’ You get what you give, and we want to thank our crowd for being so open to different styles of funky music.”