Sunday, October 31, 2010

#4 Go to Maxwell's in Hoboken

What’s that? You’ve already done this? A couple hundred times in fact. Oh, your band had their CD release party there….

If you’re a fan of good music and live in NJ, then no doubt that's true. You already refer to Maxwell’s when naming those amazing shows at small venues to impress other music snobs. Of course, you also know too well the overcrowded room, the annoyance of parking or getting a cab back to the path, the lack of a box office, and all the other drawbacks. So then why add this to the list?

One word: History

When I say history, I don’t just mean all that “first area show for Nirvana and REM (Peter Buck still plays there), Sonic Youth guitarist was part owner” stuff (though that is good stuff so read up if you like). What I am talking about is living history. Think of all the venues closed down: NYC’s Limelight, CBGBs, Philadelphia’s The Khyber, NJ’s The Fastlane, and a million others. New venues always emerge but like great music and art, a venue also needs support to continue to bring quality. Without it, quality suffers, the staff and bookings change, or simply stop altogether. Todd Abramson has been booking bands at Maxwells since the Mid-(F-in’)-80s! Whenever I’ve dealt with him, I can tell he still cares about his job, the venue, and good bands. Therefore unlike some of the other things you’ll find on the list, if you've done this already just shut up and do it again. And after that, do it another time. In fact, go early, eat dinner (black bean hummus is pretty good), have a couple beers, and stay after the show.

Also, what other venue has Yo La Tengo play all eight nights of Hanukkah every year! I mean honestly, I probably should have just started and ended with this point.

Some notable shows I’ve seen at Maxwells: Thurston Moore, The Lemonheads, The Muffs, Hunchback, Jets To Brazil, Jesse Malin, Jonah Matranga, Longwave, Trash Can Sinatras, Bleu, The Doom Pussy, and many others but my memory sucks in old age.

Fake Chapter bands who have played Maxwells: Miles Hunt, Green To Think and Steve Piperno solo, CJ Grogan, DMBQ, Domenick Carino and probably others but their memory sucks even worse than mine.


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