I wasn t that excited to read an oral history of a club I never went to, but found this to be a page turner In a lot of ways it coversground in aentertaining way than Our Band Could Be Your Life The oral history format gives you a great feel for all of the people involved because they are allowed to speak in their own voices And because City Gardens was booking every alt weirdo underground act in every possible style, if you were a alt weirdo underground punk whatever during that era, you re bound to see some of your favorite acts represented on these pages. As a long time patron of City Gardens, I was excited to read this book But upon reading it, I was disappointed it reads like a punk rock version of VH1 s Behind the Music. The authors did a great job of documenting one of my favorite teenage and on haunts From the day the doors opened to the night they closed, this book presents the shows and events in chronological order If you ever attended a show or dance night there pick this up and relive a night from 20 or 30 years ago. I have many fond memories of City Gardens, and so I was happy to pick up a copy of this book Yeah, it went a bit long in places, a little too short in others, but it s a nice history of the place with some good stories. For Those Who Don T Know City Gardens Was The Club, Trenton New Jersey Was The Place And No Slam Dancing Is The Story Of It All And Now, Finally, The Story Is Being Brought To You By The People Who Lived ItDuring The S And Into The Mid S, City Gardens Was A Haven For The Underground Music, Art, And A General Sense Of Creative Collectivism Drove The Imaginations Of Its Patrons And Performers Alike, And The Resulting Memories Have Been Captured And Molded Into A Narrative That, While Reminiscent Of A Larger History, Is Still Uniquely JerseyThe Doors OfCalhoun St Closed SomeYears Back, But In The Minds Of Many, The House That Randy Built Still Casts Its Long Shadow Of Influence Whether You Grew Up There Or You Were Just Visiting, Chances Are City Gardens Had Some Impact On You, And That Impact Probably Informs And Instructs The Person You Are Today Some Of Those Stories Are Here Some Of Those Stories Still Reek Of Pit Sweat And Still Glow With The Exuberance Of Youth Colored By Nostalgia In The Pages Of This Book Are War Stories And Friendship Stories And The Inspirational Stories Of Lives Realized And Identities Met It Is A Story Of Life The Imperfect, Often Messy And Sometimes Brilliant Moments Of Life Its Cast Is As Diverse As Its Moments, Yet Still Uniform In One Similar Goal The Search For Something Different Almost Each And Every Person Who Participated In The World Of City Gardens Will Echo, In Some Combination Of Description And Passion, The Desire To Reject What Was Handed To Them And, Instead, Find Their Own Path The Universal Sentiment Is One Of Belonging Of A Visceral Impulse To Connect To Something Larger And To Find A Safety In Similarity To Find HomeKnow That When You Read These Stories That Have Been Curated With Great Care With Almost A Kind Of Religious Reverence They Have Been Handled With Loving, Gloved Hands As One Would Handle A Brittle Old Photo Of A Long Lost Loved One They Have Been Chosen To Represent The Lives Of So Many People Regardless Of Where You Were From Or How You Came To City Gardens, Your Story Is As Valuable As Any We Ve Recorded The Sheer Volume Of Lives Intersecting With Lives And History Piled On Top Of History May Have Hindered The Inclusion Of All Stories, But, Hopefully, If You Lived The Life And You Felt The Joy And The Strength Of The Music We All Celebrate, You Ll Recognize Yourself In Some Of These Words You Can Order The Book Here Most of my childhood and alleged adult life. Let s be honest Trenton might be the capital of my state but the only crowning achievement is that Taylor Ham was invented there.Maybe it was the distance about an hour away or the bad vibe that seemed to emanated you felt like you could get jumped either in the parking lot or inside the club from two completely different groups of people but I only hit City Gardens about a dozen times back in the day But they put together some great shows and were able to book bands that had gotten too big for the smaller clubs by me like The Pipeline in Newark and Maxwell s in Hoboken After one ska show there was complete chaos I had one good friend that ended up in the hospital definitely not fun to eventually get back up to North Jersey at 4 in the morning when you re a teen Anyway the book is a blast to read and really took me back to just how insane the scene used to be Loved to hear about some old and forgotten classics from the likes of The Butthole Surfers or Wendy O Williams And hearing nuggets like R.E.M and H sker D playing to a mostly empty club are priceless although not as strange as Grant Hart s angry non sequitur aimed at Bob Mould that seemingly comes out of left fieldHe said to me, Do you know what punks are And I m like, No He points at the hole in the wall he was fixing and goes, You see this Punks kick holes in the wall That was my impression of punks when I was a kid Nikki Nailbomb whose parents owned City Gardens when she was a kid I loved this club. Brought me down memory laneLoved the first hand storytelling by the artists and staff of City Gardens I also enjoyed reading about the shows I actually attended If you grew up in central NJ in the 80s you probably know somebody in this book Outstanding history I m sorry it took me this long to get to it.
Amy Yates Wuelfing has been a music journalist since 1985 when she helped publish the punk zine Hard Times Since that time she has written for other music publications including B Side and HITS She is a graduate of Temple University and is currently Vice President of Marketing at business consulting firm.
- 434 pages
- No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes
- Amy Yates Wuelfing
- 13 November 2019 Amy Yates Wuelfing