Saturday, September 02, 2006

C.B.G.B. on the move


Last year, building owners issued an eviction for Hilly Kristal and rock music’s most infamous club, C.B.G.B. Now the place responsible for nurturing a young punk-rock scene almost 30 years ago must look to the immense tourism industry in Las Vegas as a mode of survival. Kristal, who opened “Country Bluegrass Blues and Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers” in 1973, claims several locations provide suitable replacements for the once Bowery-based club. However, Las Vegas recently emerged as the top site when reports surfaced that Kristal planned a trip in early September to finalize a deal for a home in Sin City.

Regardless of its new location, C.B.G.B. no longer functions as the cultural center of youthful punk music. This has been true long before Kristal’s eviction, however. During the rise of hardcore music in the mid-1980s, violence ascended as a popular means of expression at C.B.G.B. Consequently, Kristal ceased to book any punk or hardcore acts for over a decade. Since the implosion of punk in late 1980s, C.B.G.B. serves as more of a monument than a Mecca of sorts for the youth scene; a place where it happened rather than a place of happening.

Apparently, Kristal plans to move everything from the stage to the toilets in order to make the new Las Vegas site as authentic as possible. Kristal also booked C.B.G.B. legend Patti Smith to perform on closing night. As comforting as this may be to some fans of live music, C.B.G.B.’s once irreplaceable and unrivaled social function is now history.

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