Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hilly Kristal RIP

CBGB founder Hilly Kristal died yesterday (August 28). I had a love/hate relationship with the legendary Bowery venue when i was living in New York (1985-90) and then playing there with Superchunk as well. it was legendary for good reason, and it felt fairly historical with it's palpable layers of show sweat, beer, smoke, sewage, etc. but it was also uncomfortable, smelly, and expensive (beers). didn't really matter because you wanted to see bands there as opposed to most anywhere else those bands would play (except maybe Maxwell's), you could buy a beer across the street (handing your money through the hole in the plexiglass) and drink on the sidewalk, and when Superchunk started it was great playing there because of everyone else who'd played on that stage. still, worst club bathrooms ever.

my first visit was sometime in 84 i think, a Vatican Commandos matinee on a family trip to NYC to visit schools. i have little memory of that show in particular except that i was scared...definitely a different vibe than that at the hardcore matinees i was used to at the Brewery & elsewhere here in NC.

beyond that, some particularly memorable shows there off the top of my head:

Sonic Youth around Bad Moon Rising, my first Sonics show and first non-matinee CB's experience. why was Rude Buddah opening?
Die Kreuzen - a poorly attended Sunday matinee on tour for their first album, blew my mind. still have the tee, you can see through it.
Corrosion of Conformity - another Sunday matinee, this one was packed. classic trio lineup tearing it up and i was psyched to see Thurston and Mike Watt both in attendance for a band that obviously i took some personal pride in as they were my "homeys" as they say.
Butthole Surfers - Psychic, Powerless... tour, so freaking crowded. the ultimate "I NEED AN AISLE HERE PEOPLE" show where i got stuck right by the corner of the stage where it was great to watch the band but the bouncer was constantly trying to clear the aisle for fire inspection purposes. my friend Michael recorded this on his walkman and i still have the tape.
The Dickies - never saw a bad Dickies show but this was at a point where they could sell out Irving Plaza or the Ritz so to see them at CB's was especially great.
Dinosaur Jr / Pussy Galore / Live Skull / Antietam -- i swear that was the lineup and i used to have the poster to prove it but i can't find it anymore...perhaps i've added a band in my mind that didn't actually play but i think that was it.

too many to remember!
thanks for inventing CBGB, Hilly.


Blogger baconfat said...

My only CB's experience was seeing Pavement there in February 1997, the middle show of a 3-night NYC run in 3 different venues. The night before at NYU had mostly sucked, the CB's show was fun and energetic, and the next night at the Westbeth was pretty much amazing and HBO was there to capture it. Plus, it was my first time driving in NYC and it was snowing. I remember there being a ton of folks outside trying to get tickets for the CB's show - I heard they were going for as much as $100. I stayed away from the bathroom, which I guess was a wise move. Here are some Pavement quotes from the Matador site about their CB's experience:

Andy: How did you guys feel about last night's show [at CBGB's]?

Stephen: It was nice. I always like playing there. It's like being in a really nice rehearsal space. everything sounds really good at CB's when you're in a band onstage.

Andy: It does sound amazingly good.

Stephen: Our sound man is always happy. He's Dutch and macho, so...

Bob (in Amsterdammer accent): "It is good. They know how to do their room."

1:56 PM  
Blogger Mac said...

i did almost always like the sound at CB's as a patron; i don't remember what it sounded like onstage.
in the crowd it sounded good, and LOUD.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Peterhune said...

Holy cow, Vatican Commandos? Haven't thought of that Moby/Mike Spadacinni hardcore thing in ages.

2:25 PM  
Blogger jkristian said...

Is it possible it was das damen and not antietam? if so i think show was on november 8, 1986.

3:13 PM  
Blogger alex said...

Excellent boy! said his mother.. But the analysis and--still more distinctly--the synthesis of dreams which lack regression toward pictures, e...

12:17 AM  

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