Friday, September 20, 2002

Pulling the Plug VI
As the saying goes "nothing lasts forever." That is unfortunately true for the Upstairs Lounge.

TUL began when the manager and a few employees from a wildly successful yet ill-fated fetish club, Hexx, found their venue being sold out from underneath them to a long-standing gay club in the Boston scene that was forced from their previous venue. In one week we packed up and moved across town to what was formerly the Causeway and Chet's Last Call. With some adjustment, we made a long run at offering people a fun venue with an eclectic flavor. The Upstairs Lounge was home to Boston's first weekly swing night, which ran long after the trendier venues discarded swing as a fad. We offered a world-renowned Brit pop/mod night that has been called "the Best in the U.S." We have done a killer '80s night, lounge, rockabilly, goth, industrial, techno, house, and live acts local, national and international. Now, just as we began we have ended. We were told this week by the owners of the venue that TUL is gone and will be replaced by a different longstanding Boston gay club that has been forced from its venue.

Ken, DJ from the Pill, wants to say:

Just wanted to say, regretfully, the Pill at the Upstairs Lounge is over. Last Friday was our last night, unbeknownst to myself until this past Monday evening. Here's the breakdown. There is new management taking over the lounge. They did not have the Pill on Friday nights as part of their agenda. It's with great sadness that the night should end when there were still many good Friday nights to come. However, we are already shopping around for a new venue. There is a good chance we will be back in the not-too-distant future.

Thanks to everyone who came and supported us through the past five years. I have to say it's been one of the best things in my life and I will miss going out every Friday and spinning.

Keep the faith. We will return and be even better than before. -- Ken

For Ken, Charlie, Pete, Liz, Brian, and any of TUL employees who have had the pleasure of serving you over the last years, I want to say thank you for being there. We have made some memories that will last a lifetime, and I'm sure you have, too. We always had fun and hope you have also. We are looking forward to bigger and better things. -- Forrest


I've slightly thrown by the overly reminiscent tone of this closing notice, because the closing of the Upstairs Lounge has been in the works for quite some time. The last time the Anchormen played above the Penalty Box on Causeway Street, Forrest, the primary booking agent for the series, had already stepped away from the Lounge. Word was he had quit. The fellow who was doing sound was negotiating with the management of the place to continue shows there, branching out to other multi-performer, DJ-oriented dance nights, and events that he thought would bring out more people. The outcome of that was uncertain at the time.

Now it's not. While I'm sad the Upstairs Lounge is no more, other people will book other shows there. Forrest and Ken will find other venues for their projects. And the fellow who was doing sound will find places to book his kind of shows, too. We are not heroes, we play in bands. We organize shows. We dance. The closing of the Upstairs Lounge hardly feels historic, and I'm confused by Forrest's apparent concern about the gay community stepping into his space. While I understand how long-time attendees of the Pill nights might feel like they've lost something, my take is that the place was kind of a dump; Forrest hadn't hit any kind of stride in terms of frequent, consistent bookings that actually attracted a regular audience; and the mix of bands was always slightly off and not quite my bag (other than the Anks' nights, which we had a hand in).

Nevertheless, RIP, Upstairs Lounge. RIP.

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