Friday, January 13, 2006

Under The City Streets

When talking about nightlife and nightclubs in the 1980s, you have to stop and pay homage to The Adelphia House apartment building at 1229 Chestnut Street, whose basement was the epicenter of all things new wave in Philadelphia for a number of years.

The entrance to the basement was a simple door found steps away from the front door to the apartment building above - which at the time was pretty much a flop-house space. Rooms were cheap since no one WANTED to live at 13/Chestnut in 1980. Well, no one 'cept us...

I took a picture of the facade yesterday - actually I took a ton of pictures of where things used to be -- they'll be posted in due time. The red box marks where the entrance was to the legendary East Side Club. There's nothing there now. It went from the East Side Club to the gay disco Kurt's to some black straight dance club to mothballs.

I have tons of stories from when it was Kurt's - which I will post about later, since I was intimately involved with the opening of that contraversial club, having been in charge of its advertising campaign.

For now, it's all about the East Side Club. When you walked down the flight of stairs and made a left into the space, the first thing you noticed was just how low the ceilings were! The club was dark and the 'theme' was graffiti.

There's no way to say it - cept I SAW SO MANY LIVE SHOWS HERE! I truly can't pick a highlight - perhaps it was spending $5 to see some band from England called Depeche Mode. Or maybe it was getting in free to check out Wall Of Voodoo. Or perhaps it was the time I saw Our Daughter's Wedding - or got to first-hand understand the roots of music with the legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker.

Or perhaps it was New Year's Eve when I rang in the Orwellian year of 1984 with a live concert from the Cocteau Twins!

There are so many memories of the East Side Club, that the only way I can explain it is with pictures.

As always, click an image to enlarge ... and enjoy.


Liz Fine said...

It was love at first site for me with the East side club when I walked in for the first time and the stairs went downward. So cool.

Sean said...

Holy shit! A Certain Ratio, OMD, the dBs, and Duran Duran?!?


Anonymous said...

I loved East Side Club! I also remeber it, as we used to all it, Squirts. ;-) (Which you would get from the free buffet brunch on Sunday.) A freind of mine had moved into Adelphia House, so I would crash there some times. I remeber when he moved in, there was a murder that had happened in an apartment just a few dorrs away. It was thrilling! The danger and glmour of the seedy city! The "apartments" were something else. No room to swing a cat, you needed a hot plate to cook or microwave, the bathroom was full of old fixtures from the 10's. It was something else. He had a great window that looked at the air shaft. It was noisy and hot in the summer.

O said...

Those flyers are great. More please!

Mary Maddox said...

Hey. Lux Interior died. I am the same age as you, but grew up in philly suburbs so didn't discover all the great clubs you write about (east side, love, kennel) until 1983 (and there was the bank and ripley's), but i had a ball and chain radio and listened to wfil and all those old stations. and when i finally got to south street in 1983, i was in love with it. For a good two years, i went to as many places as i could and still have records i bought as third street jazz (i still lived in devon and would just come in for the day or night). i moved to nyc in the fall of 85, so that was that. Anyway, i'm pretty sure i saw the Cramps at the East Side Club and your reminiscence took me back there. and damn, i'm only up to February 2006!