Monday, October 16, 2006

CBGB's Last Show


Debbie Harry and Patti Smith are among the artists returning to perform at legendary New York music club CBGB's, ahead of its closure after 33 years. Harry's band Blondie, Smith and acts including The Ramones and Talking Heads found fame after performing at the club which helped launch US punk music.

Landlords Bowery Residents Committee refused to renew owner Hilly Kristal's lease after a dispute over rent rises. Kristal says he plans to open a new CBGB's club in Las Vegas. "We're going to take the urinals - I'll take whatever I can," he told the Associated Press news agency. "The movers said, 'You ought to take everything, and auction off what you don't want on eBay.' Why not?"

Steven Van Zandt, of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and also an actor in The Sopranos, organised a rally last year in a bid to save the club. Mayor Michael Bloomberg even offered to mediate in the dispute, describing CBGB's as "a great New York City institution". The venue was founded by Kristal in December 1973, its full name CBGB OMFUG standing for "country, bluegrass, blues and other music for uplifting gormandizers".

Smith, one of the first punk performers to appear there, headlines Sunday's closing night. Harry and Blondie co-founder Chris Stein perform an acoustic set on Saturday.

Story from BBC News



Maps comments: the best band to 'make it' at CBGB's was not The Ramones or Blondie but Television, who mixed punk attitude with sonic exploration and a sort of urban romanticism. You can watch them playing their twelve minute classic 'Marquee Moon' here.

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