Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Best Club To See Shows

Rightfully so, New York City's CBGB took the most number of votes in our favorite club to see shows poll. In following the format we've set with these poll results, I thought it would be fitting to post the liner notes from my band Triple Threat's live at CBGB 7". -Tim DCXX

CBGB - NYC: 88 Votes
The Anthrax - Norwalk, CT: 45 Votes
City Gardens - Trenton, NJ: 22 Votes
Club Pizazz, Philadelphia, PA: 4 Votes
The Rat - Boston, Ma: 13 Votes
Safari Club - DC: 13 Votes
Gilman St. - Berkeley, CA: 26 Votes
Fender's Ballroom - Long Beach, CA: 10 Votes

Deep inside these decaying, eroding, graffiti covered walls lies one of the richest histories in underground music. If a band mattered, chances are they played New York City's CBGB. From The Ramones to The Dead Boys to Agnostic Front to SSD to Youth Of Today to Chain Of Strength and absolutely everything in between, they've all shared the glory of tearing up that stage. As a young kid diving into the punk / hardcore scene of the mid to late 80's, CBGB was well known as one of the scenes premier clubs. I recall reading story after story about what went down between those walls. Until I was old enough to get myself into New York City, I had to contain my excitement and bide my time by calling Opec Sid's show hotline and merely listening to the recorded voice announcing the shows to come. A couple of years later I actually made my way to show at CB's, it was 7 Seconds and I remember it like yesterday. As I made my way into the club, all I could do was soak in the atmosphere. I found myself searching the walls for remnants of the past. All those graffiti tagged band names and stickers I had seen in photographs were now right in front of my eyes. I looked at the broken, patched up dance floor and imagined all the boots and sneakers that pounded that wood into oblivion, while bands like the Bad Brains and the Cro-Mags played their hearts out. As dark, intimidating, dirty and beaten as that club was, I felt like I was at home. It's character was undeniable, it's stage and general size was perfect and it's sound system was surprisingly impeccable. Out of all the clubs I've played and been to all over the world, none of them had all the qualities of CBGB's, it was definitely a one of a kind.

First time I hit that stage with my own band was with Mouthpiece in September of 1995. That first time was so surreal. Just playing there on that stage and knowing that you were now going to be a part of that history was mind blowing. The following year Mouthpiece played there again, this time with Floorpunch and Killing Time. Not only had I gotten a second chance to play there, but on a great bill as well. In the years to come I would find myself playing there a few more times. Once while playing in Hands Tied and then twice with Triple Threat. Out of all those five times playing that club, not once did I take it for granted. Every opportunity was cherished and every memory was carved into my head. Whether the crowd consisted of 50 kids or 500, it didn't matter. Playing CB's was like being in a zone all of it's own.

This last and final show I was to play at CB's was bitter sweet. Triple Threat was approached by Matt Pike from The Kenmore Agency regarding an upcoming H20 show. Matt shot me an email that simply read, "CBGB’s one last time?". Without question, my response was, "The answer is YES". So there it was, August 19th 2006 with H20. We climbed up on that stage for the last time and gave it our all. It was bitter sweet because the show went smoothly, we played well, we had a good time and then when our set was finished, we walked off that stage like we had just said our goodbyes to an old friend. The following month I found myself at CB's for the final date of the Gorilla Biscuits reunion tour. To play CB's one last time as a band and then to go to a show at CB's, one last time as a fan, seemed like a fitting closure.

So take this live 7" as our thank you to CB's. A thank you for all the sing alongs, the stage dives, the dancing, the hang outs, the fun and most importantly, the great times and memories we will never forget. -Tim McMahon / TT

Triple Threat at CBGB, Photo: Wendy Shoenfeld