Saturday, August 28, 2004

VENUEWATCH: Sad news from Chicago, whose all-ages punk venue the Fireside Bowl is about to close and re-open as a bowling alley. The Fireside's owner has decided that ten years of rough and tumble is enough and is returning the venue to its earlier use. It seems that bowling alleys are closing down all over Chicago (not, we suspect, because they're turning into punk venues) and so he's hoping to exploit the growing gap in the market. The loss of the Fireside will come as a hit to the Chicago scene, especially as all-ages venues are rare enough in the US. The Fireside was offering slots to three or four bands nearly every night, the sort of reliable venue which any scene really needs to underwrite its next generation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Matt M. -

I'm so shocked to see a story on this on your page, Simon, it seems like such a little Chicago-oriented thing but it will be missed. Every show was $5 since its inception. It was an old, rotting, 1950s-era bowling alley with a gignatic bowling pin hanging out fronjt, a full bar in the back, and then in the front, to the side of the bowling lanes, a slowly caving in ceiling under which bands played on a very small stage. So many bands have played there since it opened: Huggy Bear, the Make Up, Damo Suzuki from Can, the Rondelles, Ar Upp from the Slits played recently, and I'm only naming stuff I can think of off the top of my head. Anyone could play there so that's where all sorts of local bands and national bands got their first gigs in Chicago. I will kind of miss it even though after that chaotic nightclub distaster in Chicago where 19 people died in a stampede I always thought that totally could have happened at the Fireside too.

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