To this day I regret never being able to have a glimpse of one show at the legendary CBGBs in New York City. I would have settled for seeing anything just so I could say I was there and saw the innards of the concert club. Just to be stuck inside that cramped venue seeing a band live for one night would be enough. Tragically that will never happen now as the club was forced to close its doors a few years back.
Credited for starting many bands careers, CBGBs (Country, Blue Grass, & Blues) was a concert club in the district of Manhattan that opened its doors in the 70s with the intention of being a venue for country, bluegrass, and blues bands. The unique club welcomed many unsigned bands to play their original music and kick started many bands careers. In turn, it became more of a club for punk rock acts. It aided in the success of many punk rock and hardcore bands throughout the years until October 2006 when the club had to close its doors because of legal battles between club owner and musician Hilly Kristal over back owed rent. Aside from protests and fund raisers, not enough money could be raised.
The doors may be closed forever, but the legacy will live on thanks to live shows that were recorded and are now starting to be released. MVD Audio started a CD series called the CBGB OMFUG Masters: The Bowery Collection so at least I can now hear some of the shows I missed out on.
With a few CDs being released already I was lucky enough to obtain a live show played on February 3rd, 2003 featuring The Queers. The thirty one tracks The Queers played that evening was just a taste of the thousands of shows that were played in that club.
The Queers as many know are pop punk rock legends in themselves having been around for quite some time now. Having started in the 80s and then reforming in the nineties they have a carefree mindset and remind me of the Ramones but a lot crazier with lyrics usually about girls and drugs.
On February 3rd, 2003, The Queers took stage at CBGBs and after announcing they were “The F*cking Queers” played a memorable show to I am sure a sold out crowd. Starting off their set was a cover of the classic Ramones “Rockaway Beach”, perhaps homage to the band that first gained attention thanks to playing the very same stage The Queers were presently on.
Blasting through songs like “No Tit”, “This Place Sucks”, and “I Hate Everything” the band really sounded like they were giving it their all, as if they were playing the most important show of their up and down career. Sure the songs were brief but they were full of punk rock energy that I am sure many fans consumed that evening.
A cover of The Mr. T Experience “… And I Will Be With You” was a surprise to me as I was not expecting such a song to be mixed into their set list. It was a little callous at times to listen to, but it was a cover and the band was just having fun and probably had a few too many in them.
Upon “Ursula Finally Has Tits” ending there are a few moments of silence and then someone on stage grabbing microphone asking “hey you want the Queers to come back?”
After rising up the crowd a bit, the punk rockers, a tad tired, return to the stage and crank out “Tamera Is A Punk” my personal favorite song by the Queers. Other encore songs included “I Met Her At The Rat” in which the band seemed to struggle though and “F*ck The World I’m Hanging Out With You Tonight” their "very very very very very last song" as stated by Joe Queer. Of course after their supposed last song they ripped through “This Place Sucks” one more time just for kicks.
The sound quality on this CD was much better than I had anticipated. The Queers really put on a solid show from start to finish. I have heard live recordings before where I had a hard time hearing the singing over the guitars but this CD was mixed properly and played out well. I still am wishing I was able to see this show in person at CBGBs but I’ll settle for the live CD since where CBGBs used to be is now a high end men’s fashion store.
Props to MVD Audio for hooking up with CBGBs to release live material so that the less fortunate like myself now have an opportunity to hear what a live show really sounded like in the legendary club. If that is not cool enough, MVD actually is donating a portion of the sales of all the CBGB OMFUG Masters: The Bowery Collection CDs sold to the Hilly Kristal Foundation for Musicians and Arts.
Also if you get a change read the CD insert with an excerpt from lead member of the Dictators Handsome Dick Manitoba. His little story of CBGBs is really a nice view of a musician who played the club and was also good friends of the since passed Hilly Kristal. CBGBs may be gone but the memories will remain. Any fan of real music should check out at least one CD from the CBGB OMFUG Masters: The Bowery Collection. Not only will you be listening to history but you will also be participating in keeping the dream alive.