R.I.P. CBGBs

My apologies that this blog has been so irregular recently. A situation in my personal life, namely a wedding, has been distracting me. But now that it's over…

Since I've been in NYC clubs have done nothing but close. But last night's sad end for CBGB's was especially poignant. Though I wasn't there (too much wedding hangover), I did speak with a number of people who were there and each said Patti Smith's set which brought down the curtain on the club's 33 year history was pretty special. Rather than play her own stuff, she weaved together a set of covers from bands who played the club. "Marquee Moon" "The Tide Is High" and "Blitzkrieg Bop" were among the highlights.

Amongst many in the NYC music community a debate about CBGBs and whether its time has come still rages. To be honest, the club in recent years had been hosting little more than bad punk and metal acts. And let's face it: punk, the club's big claim to fame, has long since gone the way of disco and new wave. People still play it but it's no longer a cutting edge musical form.

But had the club's time come? When I think about what the neighborhood surrounding CBGB's once looked like—a dump— and what it looks like now—a rapidly gentrifying `hood—it does seem to point to the fact that times have changed for good.

Still, seeing yet another live music venue in NYC go away is not good. Brownies, Wetlands, The Bottom Line and now, CBGBs. The trend is unmistakable. Meanwhile gargantuan, overpriced, see and be seen dance club hellholes continue to sprout. The dumbing down of America continues unabated.

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COMMENTS
Al Marcy's picture

Dumbing Up? We like to think it used to be better. It was never better. And, it can't get worse ;)

Donald N.'s picture

Mr. Baird, I couldn't agree with you more...sad. I find the cost of concerts to be another ridiculous factor to be examined but, that's a topic for another column.

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