So far I’ve only found one factual error – the correct song title is “In The Street,” not “On The Street” – but I’m fairly happy otherwise, considering the amount of information I had to pack into one blog post.
Got about half a dozen RFT assignments in the pipeline for the next month. Here’s the first: Heart at Family Arena, last night. I went in no expectations and honestly enjoyed the show, power-balladeering aside. The problem is I assume every band should get the All Tomorrow’s Parties treatment. If I was Heart’s manager, I’d be booking them in small clubs and cutting out their entire ’80s catalog from “What About Love” onward. So it’s probably a good thing for Heart (and their accountant) that I’m not their manager.
Ah, City Gardens of Trenton, NJ. Home of a thousand hardcore matinees and two thousand 90-cent dance nights. The place where R.E.M. got the idea for “Perfect Circle.” The club where a young Jon Stewart bartended for awhile. The recording location of Venom’s classic (and very unauthorized) Live in NJ. And let’s not forget the infamous beef between CG promoter Randy Now and the late Paul Decolator, as played out in various fanzines and over the air on WPRB.
And currently: the vacant building up for sale or lease.
This news brings up a couple of questions. First of all, is it proper to have nostalgia for a club that I only attended maybe a dozen times in my life? Even though City Gardens was only about 45 minutes south of me in high school and college, I would always choose Maxwell’s or the Court Tavern given the choice. Besides the rotten neighborhood, I just knew more people at those other clubs and always had more intimate concert experiences there. Nonetheless, when the City Gardens book finally comes out, I will be first in line to buy it. Perhaps it’s nostalgia for a bygone era rather than a specific location.
Second of all: what must this place look like inside now? City Gardens closed in the ’90s and became Club XL, a hip-hop/dance spot notorious for its shootings and alleged prostitution. (All of a sudden, rioting punks must have seemed quaint in comparison.) Club XL finally ended sometime in the mid-00s, and I can’t imagine the owners left it in great condition. $225,000 is cheap for such a huge space, even in the bowels of Trenton, so you have to imagine it’s been trashed. Or better yet: with the doubtlessly tacky Club XL fixtures intact.
It would be cool if a group of local disaffected punks chipped in and turned CG into a Gilman-esque cooperative. If Maxwell’s could come back from being a bad brew pub and Gilman could recover from the MRR folks pulling out, it could surely happen. Not that it will. But an awesome fantasy, right?