Nyabinghi 1998-2006

Opened in 1998 by Greg Barratt, who had owned another bar by the same name in Morgantown, West Virginia, the Nyabinghi at 1229 Salt Springs Road served as a haven for heavier stoner rock and metal as well as many other sorts of music in its brief existence. Plenty of acts who were big names or on their way to becoming big names played there such as the White Stripes, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Clutch and the Melvins. Hell, even former child actor Corey Feldman played their once with his terrible band. It was an eclectic place with a killer jukebox and beer selection that made a name for itself on the national music scene with the Emissions From The Monolith music festival.

In 2006, Barratt put it up for sale on eBay, but a a potential buyer with the means to meet the $150,000 bid for the building and equipment never emerged. Nyabinghi’s last night was on New Year’s Eve 2006. The building fell into foreclosure and later housed a bar called Pope’s Pub for a short time. A deliberately set fire in Jan. 2009 caused $5,000 damage to the stage area. Sometime in the last two years, the building was razed.

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Dead Boys, speaker salesmen

A 1977 performance by the Dead Boys at CBGBs is being used as the cornerstone of a new commercial spot for Sonos wireless speakers. It’s a short clip of “Sonic Reducer” taken from footage filmed for CBS’s 60 Minutes in the hey-day of punk. The show was later released on DVD as Live at CBGB’s 1977.

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Lou Reed (1942-2013)

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Lou Reed, the famous New York artist/musician/poet, died on Oct. 27 at the age of 71. To my knowledge, his only performance in Youngstown came on April 27, 1978 at the Tomorrow Club.  The show came in between the release of the studio album Street Hassle in February and the live recording Live: Take No Prisoners in May.

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New Wave of British Heavy Metal with chicks

girlsschool 4-18-82By the time 1982 rolled around the Agora was pretty much on its last legs as a major act venue in the city. Early MTV hit-makers and other up and coming rockers of the day didn’t really get many booking slots as promoters relied on regional talent to fill bills that used to be reserved for national acts in the preceding years.

Area heavy metal fans did get a treat though when Britain’s Girlschool showed up for a gig on April 18, 1982 at the Agora. While the Youngstown area did not attract such well-known New Wave of British Heavy Metal acts Iron Maiden or Motorhead, Girlschool was the genuine article and was well-respected in metal circles around the world. In 1982, the band was testing the waters in the states for the first time with the album Demolition which included tracks from the band’s first two UK albums.

WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: Here’s the band performing “Hit and Run” in 1982.

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Because the night belongs to us

patti smith 2-15-78Patti Smith was one of the foundations of the New York City underground rock scene at the time of her Feb. 15, 1978 appearance at the Tomorrow Club. Commercial success was limited at this point, but that changed in a few weeks time when she released the album Easter. The Bruce Springsteen-Patti Smith penned “Because the Night” shot up the charts when it was released in the spring eventually allowing Smith to slow her hectic touring schedule in the 1980s.

WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: Here’s Smith performing her biggest hit on TV later in 1978.

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Update

I trashed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shows page and replaced it with an chronological index of all of the shows I have mentioned here. It’s a much easier way to navigate the site.

Also, I recently edited a very minor Wikipedia article about the State Theater which includes some basic information about the rock clubs that were there.

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Talking Heads close out the Tomorrow Club era

talking heads 12-17-78

A few days before the Tomorrow Club shut down and turned into the Youngstown Agora, the New York City new wave group Talking Heads played there on Dec. 17, 1978. Likely driven to play Youngstown because of their Sire Records label-mates the Ramones and Dead Boys, the future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers slowly establishing themselves as a major critical darling with the release of albums in 1977 and 1978.

WHAT THE SHOW LOOKED LIKE: Here’s video footage of the band playing in Nov. 1978 on the same tour as the Youngstown gig.

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Space Potatoes at Cedars

The satirical punk rock act The Dead Milkmen graced the stage at Cedar’s on Sept. 24, 1986. Could not find any ads from the newspaper, but the band’s drummer wrote a tour diary and the stop in Youngstown is mentioned. The band opened for itself as the Space Potatoes.

DEAD MILKMEN TOUR DIARY, 9-24-86

WHAT THE BAND LOOKED LIKE: Here’s the band a little later on in 1986.

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It’s all over now

I headed over to Cedar’s on Wednesday afternoon, January 30th, 2013 to see if the bar was still open. Published reports had it closing today, but it was a ghost town when I showed up. Not sure if it opened later or last night was it, but I saw no real signs of life. RIP Cedar’s at 23 North Hazel, Youngstown, Ohio. You will be missed.

The open light is no longer on at Cedars on Hazel St. in Youngstown.

The OPEN sign is no longer on at Cedar’s on Hazel St. in Youngstown.

The closed Cedar's Cafe and patio area will soon be a memory.

The closed Cedar’s Cafe and patio area will soon be a memory.

The gate to the patio area of Cedar's was wide open on Wednesday afternoon. A few beer bottles and cups were scattered about.

The gate to the patio area of Cedar’s was wide open on Wednesday afternoon. A few beer bottles and cups were scattered about.

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Closing time at Cedar’s

This blog generally deals with things from the past, but tonight it has been revealed that one of Youngstown’s longest standing rock venues will close shortly to make way for a yuppie burger joint and some apartments. Here’s what the Vindy had to report today:

Cedar’s Lounge, the legendary rock’n’roll bar with a reputation that extends beyond the region, is being forced out of the location where it’s been for 37 years.

The new owner of the Gallagher Building, which houses Cedar’s, said Friday that the bar will not be permitted to stay.

“Cedar’s will not stay there,” said Dominic Gatta III. “With all the upgrades [it needs], including a new stairwell, new sanitary, bringing the building up to code and everything else, it does not fit my vision for the building.”

Gatta, who bought the Gallagher building for $192,500 in September, has plans to gut the entire first floor of the building.

The first floor is slated to become a high-end burger restaurant and a separate wine/coffee bar. The second floor will house commercial offices, while the third and fourth will be transformed into apartments.

The good news is the bar’s owners are planning on seeking refuge elsewhere in Youngstown, so we’ll see how this plays out. In any case, it’s quite sad to a cultural gem of the city disappear.

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Note: Apparently Jan. 30, 2013 is the final day of the club at its current location. It will reopen at a Steel Street location soon.

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