Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Hall Of Decadence

Although the club scene in Center City ran from river to river - the heart in the early 80s was the East Side Club. Then, the after-hour heart was later found at both The Kennel Club and Revival.

Many of my younger friends remember Revival for their 1990s dance events and occasional live shows. My memory of the space is its early years, like in 1986 when I got a chance to see one of my personal idols ... ex-Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy in concert. He performed there a few times, but I first saw him in November of '86. The room was perfect for a live concert - high ceilings, loud soundsystem and faithful fans. Other bands I remember seeing at Revival in 1986 were 10,000 Maniacs and Flesh For Lulu.

Upstairs was a great dance hall, with an angled dj booth that looked over the space and bars at each end. Although you found yourself everywhere - I tended to dance under the backwards-spinning clock on the wall. The back rooms were what dreams were made of ... if your dreams were of illegal drugs and making out, that is.

The club offered it all - a hall of decadence that was notorious not only for its bathroom sex and bringing techno and industrial’s earliest sounds to America, but for introducing NYC performance artists like golden boy John Sexx, the yam-lovin Karen Finley, and the Ultimate Diva Joey Arias to Philadelphia. It was located in a neighborhood that was off the radar for most folk - so if the club went a bit longer than it was officially supposed to ... no neighbors complained.

Revival was run by David Cohen and his mom Helen and its personality came from both DJ Bobby Startup and promoter Bob 'Nature Boy' Denney. The club lasted 1o years until 1995, when David - who was big on microbrews, decided to chang the place to Jake & Oliver's House of Brews (named after David's two sons). From that point on, who really cares... ;)

For me, nights at Revival were chances to relax. By the time Revival was underway, it was damn near impossible for me to go to a gay club without having to be doing some form of business - thanks to my role at Au Courant Newsmagazine. In the mid 1980s, Revival was my personal retreat from everything.

9 comments:

babyraven said...

Oh, man, how awesome is Peter Murphy??? I wish I could have gone to that show. Still, seeing him with Bauhaus in NYC this fall was pretty freakin' awesome.

Liz said...

Revival was a place to relax. I definately remember that feel to it. It was every bit as cool as anything in NYC. Philly has more of the cool factor than NYC these days anyway.

Chris Krakora said...

I've had some great memories about Revival as well. I remember the Pixies played there in Feburary 1988 at 2 in the morning in front of a small crowd about 50 (I think).

BTW I remember that Karen Finley flyer; back when I was in college a couple of friends had that same flyer. I think that she's great. Wish that she had made more music; IMHO I think that she would have made a great Electroclash record!

Kenny said...

Revival was a great place as was the Kennel Club. If only I was able to have just one more night at the Kennel Club.. and to be 17 again. Thanks for the memories.

The Divine Ms. Jimmi said...

I miss the Kennel. The gay punks used to meet there. We saw a show by the Ramones there. Plus--with a few black beauties, you could snag a punk boy! Or so I heard!

Anonymous said...

i remember going to see hardcore band matinees are revival. i used to LOVE that place. usually there was so many people on stage that you couldnt tell who was in the band and who was getting ready to dive.

Anonymous said...

Johnny Thunders at the Kennel Club in '85, then again at Revival later that year, Also at Revival: Let's Active, Bad Brains... can't walk by that building without lamenting its loss....

freesamuel said...

anytime today's youth looks at me like i'm some kind of lame loser who never could have possibly been cool, i casually mention the bad brains show at revival in '87 - instand street cred. although as great as the bad brains show was, what i miss most were those sunday matinee all ages shows with electric love muffin, f.o.d., etc.

Jane of the Waking Universe said...

i loved that backwards clock upstairs at revival. I would stare at it for hours. saw some great shows there. Volcano Suns, Love Tractor, Pixies. good times.