Monday, July 15, 2013

Goodbye Maxwell's - Hoboken, NJ - 07/14/13

Though what I am writing about today isn't a record or even a record store; this place had so much to do with building the foundation of my taste in music, I had to write a little about it to say goodbye.  On July 31st, 2013 Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ will close its doors for the very last time. I have been going to Maxwell's for shows for almost 20 years. I've seen so many incredible bands play here and it was such an institution that the impact this little building has had on my life is difficult to measure.

The entrance to Maxwell's
I've seen almost every band that has ever meant anything to me play at Maxwell's. The very first show I ever went to was a Rocket From The Crypt/Pee Chees show. It was the sort of experience I'll never forget. It was only the 2nd time I had seen Rocket play live and it was one of the most influential shows I've ever seen. I can trace my undying love of Rocket From The Crypt to this show; it was when I truly saw the light.

Another incredible show I was at was when Beck played solo acoustic here in 1996. I didn't have tickets to the show, but I arrived at about 3 in the afternoon and just did everything I could do to get in. I ended up talking to one of the sound guys for a while and he put me on the guest list. It was a perfect show. Only about 200 people can fit in the venue and it was packed. Beck played for almost 2 hours with no setlist, taking requests and talking to the crowd. It was just another magical night in Hoboken.

Front of Maxwell's
I could never list all of the bands I saw there over the years, but from Archers of Loaf to Doo Rag to The Supersuckers to Ted Leo to the Mr. T Experience to Gentleman Jesse to Hot Snakes to Night Marchers I was simply there all the time. Now, it's been a while since I've been to Maxwell's recently, having less to do with the venue or the bands and more to do with the fact that I'm not as into going to shows as much as I used to be. But I wanted to go back one more time before it shut down.

I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I walked this
hallway into the back room where the bands played
I'm not going to be able to go to Maxwell's for one last show.  Nearly everything between now and July 31st is sold out; certainly all of the band's I would like to see have one last hurrah.  So, last night my wife and I went to Maxwell's to have dinner (they were also a full service sit-down restaurant in addition to a music venue), take some pictures and to give me the chance to lament about old times and the end of an era. The food was fine, but seeing that room for what I knew would be the last time was tough. We ate, we talked and I tried to soak in as much of the atmosphere as I could for the last time. I picked up a T-shirt, complained about the closing to the waiter and paid my check for the last time.

There was also a bar and restaurant that I didn't go to as
much as a kid, but really appreciated as I got older
I've lost a lot of cool places around here over the years. Coney Island High, Tramps, Brownies and a myriad of record stores. Most of those were in NYC. Maxwell's was always the place that was ours in New Jersey. It just seems wrong that it's being taken away, that other young kids won't have a chance to discover a band that will change their life. I'm so sad that Maxwell's is going to be gone and I will truly, truly miss the hell out of this place.

A T-shirt to remember the good times

1 comment:

  1. HOh man, I was at that Beck show! Incredible. It will be missed.