Where to start…
In text, the Audium in San Francisco sounds cool. The venue description lists it as, “Audium is the only theatre of its kind in the world, pioneering the exploration of space in music. The theatre's 176 speakers bathe listeners in sounds that move past, over, and under them. "Sound sculptures" are performed in darkness in the 49-seat theatre.”
You walk in and there’s a small waiting area. It’s got some abstract sounds, some odd projection, and a few seats. Everything smells like a musty unfinished basement. You walk through an angular hallway and end up in a round room with seats presented in a circle. There’s no assigned seating, you just sit wherever you want. Once everyone is seated, the sounds start and the lights turn down low. Twenty minutes, a short intermission, and then twenty more minutes.
Unfortunately, the sound isn’t that interesting and the sound quality isn’t great (or loud). The show starts off with sounds from the BART station and it only gets weirder from there. When the description says “music”, it’s using that term pretty loosely. I’m guessing that in the 70’s, this place was a lot more impressive. As it is now, I can get much more impressive sound at a movie theater, with 3D headphones, or with an Atmos setup at home. Want to really hear immersive sound? Go check out the Magnolia sound room at a Best Buy.
The abstract “show” was pretty lame. We bolted during the intermission. If we wanted to hear sounds of the BART station and feet walking in mud, we can do that at the Bay Point/Pittsburg line. Twenty minutes was all we could take. Luckily, our night was saved by a local brewery called Hammertime just a mile or so away where we were able to get a bite and a brew.
Bottom line here is: this may have been pretty special in it’s early years, but in 2019, don’t waste your time. We were not impressed.