CBGB To Close On September 30th
After over 30 years, the legendary rock club CBGB will be closing for good on September 30th, 2006.
CB's, as it is universally and fondly known, opened its doors in 1973, making it NYC's oldest continuously-operating rock venue. Owner Hilly Kristal originally intended the club to showcase country, bluegrass and blues (hence the acronym), but the lack of places for unsigned bands to perform in New York at the time made CB's a magnet for the punk and art-rock scenes that were emerging downtown. Throughout the '70s, such seminal artists as The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, The Patti Smith Group, Television and Suicide performed at CB's regularly, and the club served as an incubator for what would become the most influential music of the era.
When punk metamorphosed into hardcore in the '80s, CB's remained on the city's cutting edge, offering a home for The Gorilla Biscuits, Agnostic Front, The Cro-Mags, Sick Of It All, H20, Murphy's Law, Leeway and the other pillars of the NYHC movement.
As the New York nightlife industry grew bigger and more cutthroat in the '90s, CB's remained an endearingly stubborn throwback, sticking firm to the open-door booking policy that first welcomed its inaugural class of rebels - whoever you are, whatever you do, your band can play at CBGB. In a downtown scene increasingly governed by fashion and status, CB's has zealously adhered to the formula that made it meaningful, by refusing to apply stylistic filters to its bookings, welcoming all comers to sink or swim on their own merits.
A much-publicized altercation with their landlord in mid-2005 led to an a star-studded benefit concert in Washington Square Park, and even Mayor Bloomberg vocally led his support to the little club that had developed, over the decades, into a globally-recognized cultural institution.
However, despite the universal outpouring of love, and numerous attempts to resolve the matter legally, Kristal has been unable to arrive at terms with the building's owner, and a three-decade musical legacy will come to an end in just a few short months.
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