Clueless as I was, I entered 315 Bowery not knowing it was the site of the legendary CBGB club where The Police performed their first U.S. gigs back in 1978, and where punk and New Wave made its mark in the ’70s and ’80s with Patti Smith, the Ramones, Talking Heads, B-52s and Blondie regularly taking the stage.
The club closed in 2006 but was revived by fashion visionary John Varvatos in 2008, transforming the historic space into a high-end fashion boutique while preserving as much of the venue’s history as possible — the massive chandelier, the graffiti littered walls, air ducts and toilets, and a gold mine of vintage concert posters. I felt right at home with Cheap Trick and Queen (killer queen) posters looming over me.
In an effort to relive the haunting nostalgia of the space, Varvatos has launched a monthly Thursday night concert series showcasing local talent, with complimentary PBR and Moonshine whiskey to boot. Tonight featured promising Brooklyn band, Blackbells, whose sound is influenced by Oasis and Echo and the Bunnymen. That mash-up makes me a fan already, but watching them perform on the steps of the stage was remarkable. Favorites of their set included opener “Testify,” “You Again,” “Shoestring Lolita,” and their encore, “Bad Bones.” Definitely download their EP if you can. Good stuff.