Rock clubs come, rock clubs go. Same for music venues, nightclubs, bars, and other important cultural hotspots. But it’s always been fascinating to us that so many notable (and in some cases, historic) concerts, parties, and events have happened across the city in places that no longer exist. And not only do these joints no longer exist, but what has replaced them — condos, new businesses, university buildings — have eradicated any trace of what went down. From General Electric building over the site of The Channel in Fort Point to the inconspicuous Allston location of early-’80s post-punk comet Underground, so much of Boston’s musical history is hiding in plain site.
We pass these places every day.
So, what’s sitting on these properties now? Well, it’s often not pleasant. Vanyaland editor Michael Marotta and photographer John Hutchings spent a day tracing Boston’s long-gone clubs, and photo-documenting what exists in these spaces today. We’re a bit fascinated by the fact that New Order played what’s now a BU dorm laundry room, The Doors played some weird Brighton apartment complex, and Led Zeppelin played what’s now essentially a 7-11.
It should be noted, also, that we’re not really lamenting here, just pointing out that interesting stuff has happened in places you wouldn’t think to look because of natural change. It’s cool to us that these old legacy bands played in places that we pass every day and don’t think twice about. This is in no way a “better in the old days” post; we’re just pointing out that musical magic took places in many unmarked graves around the city.
Words below are by Marotta, and all images by Hutchings. Research and anecdotes were pulled from The Music Museum of New England, Dirty Old Boston, The David Bieber Archives, and a variety of other online sources, linked when appropriate.
Also — if we got anything wrong, in location, history, or context, please kindly let us know at email@example.com.
The Abbey Lounge
3 Beacon St., Inman Square, Somerville
Once home base to Boston’s garage rock scene, the longtime bar space, which first opened in 1907 and was properly established after Prohibition ended in 1933, ended its run as The Abbey in late 2008. It now houses the popular Trina’s Starlite Lounge.