Although it has been greater than 50 years since Café Au Go Go closed, Blood, Sweat & Tears frontman David Clayton-Thomas nonetheless recollects the cultural significance of this famed NYC basement bar. Previously situated at 152 Bleecker St. and working from 1964-1969, the Greenwich Village hotspot hosted everybody from Cream, with Eric Clapton, to Jimi Hendrix.

“It was the place to be in these days,” Clayton-Thomas displays. “That’s the place Blood, Sweat & Tears began. We turned the home band for a few months whereas recording our first album at CBS Studios on 52nd Avenue. We might work the membership at evening and file throughout the day. It is exhausting to neglect a membership like that. It would all the time be part of my great recollections of New York.”   

It is not a stretch to say that the ensuing Blood, Sweat & Tears self-titled 1968 album, which has offered 10 million copies worldwide and gained the GRAMMY for Album Of The Yr in 1970, would exist in the present day with out the band’s expertise at this small but famend membership. 

Clayton-Thomas’ story illustrates precisely how unbiased music venues are greater than 4 partitions. Throughout the confines of those cramped golf equipment is a shared cultural historical past and group: collective tales of unforgettable nights watching your favourite bands and artists carry out. The spirits of those artists—some lengthy gone—are endlessly etched within the wooden and ingrained within the stain-filled dance flooring.

Exterior of Café Au Go Go in NYC in 1965

Exterior of Café Au Go Go in NYC in 1965 | Picture: Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photographs

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the stay music ecosystem, already hit exhausting by rising actual property costs, gentrification and concrete sprawl, entered disaster mode. Seminal golf equipment throughout North America, from L.A.’s historic Troubadour to Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern, lie silent. 

Like concertgoers, membership and venue homeowners, too, are eagerly awaiting the return of stay music. Within the interim, these entrepreneurs do what they’ll to maintain their companies afloat: Some launched GoFundMe fundraisers, whereas others turned to social media, patrons and native and federal authorities for monetary assist. The politicians are beginning to hear these pleas

Earlier this month, the U.Okay. authorities introduced a £1.57 billion (roughly $2 billion) support bundle for the humanities, tradition and heritage industries. Within the U.S., a pair of senators launched a aid invoice: the Save Our Levels Act. The Recording Academy can also be endorsing a pair of options: the RESTART Act and the Combined Earner Pandemic Unemployment Help Act.     

The unhappy actuality: With out the leniency of landlords and the passing of stimulus acts by governments, many iconic golf equipment and unbiased venues is not going to survive the monetary fallout attributable to the coronavirus pandemic. Even with these lifelines, the outlook might be grim. Based on a survey from the Nationwide Unbiased Venue Affiliation (NIVA) final month, which surveyed practically 2,000 music professionals throughout the U.S., 90 % of unbiased venue homeowners, promoters and bookers mentioned they must shut completely inside the subsequent few months if they don’t obtain monetary aid from the federal government. 

As the vast majority of the stay live performance trade the world over stays on pause, chatted with a handful of artists, together with Rufus Wainwright, YUNGBLUD, Keb’ Mo’ and others, about their cherished live performance recollections at a few of their favourite golf equipment and venues.

Rufus Wainwright

Venue(s): The Troubadour and Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif.; McCabe’s Guitar Store in Santa Monica, Calif.; The City Crier in Beacon, N.Y.; Ursa, owned by his sister Martha Wainwright, in Montreal, Quebec 

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright performs in Austin, Texas | Picture: Barbara FG (Cleared for any utilization with credit score)

Self-isolating nowadays at his house in Los Angeles finds GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright spending time training extra, particularly the piano. “I have been in a position to dive into the technical forest,” he tells Earlier than the pandemic hit, he was on tour and beginning the promotion cycle for his latest album, Unfollow The Guidelines, which he launched final month through BMG. He booked gigs at many golf equipment, together with The Troubadour, to advertise the file. Then he needed to cancel them. 

“The Troubadour, for me, is very poignant,” Wainwright says. “I carried out there a few occasions through the years, and I’ve seen many reveals there. We have been set to play there in the beginning of this tour. This album may be very a lot influenced by the historical past of Laurel Canyon [in Los Angeles], songwriting and Hollywood, and we had this symbolic present booked at The Troubadour to emulate among the grand historical past that occurred in that venue. Sadly, that chance obtained ripped away when the pandemic struck.” 

Learn: Beginnings And Endings With Rufus Wainwright

Different touchstone venues for Wainwright within the L.A. space embrace: The Coronet Theatre, now Largo At The Coronet, the place he usually carried out early in his profession and McCabe’s Guitar Store on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica, the place the artist performed a sequence of reveals earlier than the pandemic hit. 

“I’m acquainted with the smaller-venue scenario primarily as a result of my mother and father began out enjoying in coffeehouses within the 1960s and ’70s,” Wainwright says. “Locations just like the Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, [N.Y.], and The Iron Horse Music Corridor in Northampton, Mass., are all a part of the actually important, socially vital folks music motion my mother and father [Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle] have been part of within the 1960s. For lots of artists, these venues are like a trampoline that may catch your fall while you aren’t essentially the flavour of the month. I grew up witnessing this dynamic, and I began out in smaller venues. To dominate that dynamic is de facto vital and tougher than you suppose. A number of large artists can’t play a small venue … it is too scary and too intimate, however I really like them!”  


Venue(s): The Crowndale in Camden City, London, England; The Lock Tavern in London, England; The Electrical Ballroom in Camden City, London, England

YUNGBLUD performs at the Electric Ballroom in 2019

YUNGBLUD performs on the Electrical Ballroom in 2019 | Picture: Matthew Baker/Getty Photographs

Born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, British rocker YUNGBLUD left house at 16 and moved to London. “I ran away as a result of the north of England is just not a spot for a child in lipstick enjoying rock ‘n’ roll,” he says. As soon as settled within the south, he found the stay music mecca of Camden City, north of England’s capital. 

“These venues formed what I’m as an artist in the present day,” he says. “I keep in mind strolling into Camden City for the primary time and my thoughts exploded; it was all the pieces I ever needed. It was Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Manufacturing facility. I had a golden ticket to all the pieces I examine: The Libertines, Amy Winehouse, and so on. I used to skive off work to get coffees and go to Camden for hours, telling my dad I had been mugged! 

Learn: Yungblud Talks Turning His Tour Postponement Into An On-line Rock & Roll Selection Present

“Camden was actually a giant turning level in my profession,” he continues. “I’ve performed each tiny venue in Camden, from The Crowndale for 10 folks to a sold-out present at The Lock Tavern the place Amy Winehouse performed early in her profession and who’s a large inspiration to me. She taught me being you is nice sufficient. Later, I performed the Electrical Ballroom to 1,500 folks. The Camden Meeting, previously The Barfly, is the place my guitar participant [Adam Warrington] and I actually linked and once we discovered we have been going to play music collectively for the remainder of our lives, bonding over our love of Pleasure Division, Blur, N.W.A, Foo Fighters and David Bowie.

“Once I take into consideration Camden, that spirit, and each present I’ve performed within the golf equipment there, I keep in mind why I am right here and what I am doing it for … it is all in regards to the ardour!” 

Colin Linden

Venue: The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
Metropolis: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Opened: 1947

Colin Linden (R) with Robbie Robertson (L) performing at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern in approximately 1989

Colin Linden (R) with Robbie Robertson (L) performing on the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern in roughly 1989 | Courtesy Picture: Colin Linden

Today, Canadian blues artist Colin Linden lives in Nashville, Tenn., however Toronto is the place he minimize his tooth. The GRAMMY-nominated songwriter and producer grew up quick, sitting in as an underage teen with native legends like Willie P. Bennett and David Wilcox at small golf equipment round city. At this time, Linden figures that is the longest time he has gone and not using a gig in his 48-year profession. “I really feel an actual want to attach with folks,” Linden says. 

Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern is Linden’s seminal venue. He nonetheless has a scar on his brow from a time he performed The Shoe within the mid-1980s and bounded off the stage a little bit too recklessly. And within the early 1990s, he performed there incessantly with a secret band, which included Bruce Cockburn, referred to as Bambi And The Deer Hunters. 

“It’s the place the place I began enjoying as a child and stored on enjoying over a few years,” Linden recollects. “It was an vital venue lengthy earlier than I ever set foot in there. It is a spot the place I’ve had loads of laughter and loads of tears. Once I take into consideration the Horseshoe Tavern, I take into consideration so many issues. I keep in mind sitting within the again alley in booker Peter Graham’s automotive, enjoying him my demo and speaking over my errors. I actually needed a gig there.” 

Essentially the most memorable evening for Linden at this venue occurred on March 13, 1989, when he shared the stage with The Band members Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson. “That was such a tremendous evening,” Linden thinks again. “I keep in mind Robbie getting offstage and asking me, ‘How are you going to guys hear something?’ I spotted he had not been on a stage in additional than 10 years and forgot how loud it will get in a membership!”

Keb’ Mo’

Venue: Harvelle’s
Metropolis: Santa Monica, CA
Opened: 1931


Harvelle’s | Picture: John M. Heller/Getty Photographs

Harvelle’s, a well-liked West Coast blues membership with an extended historical past, is the place Kevin Roosevelt Moore began enjoying in 1992 earlier than he was often known as Keb’ Mo’ and earlier than he had a file deal. His first audition to play the historic venue failed. Later, he landed a gig on the membership via a good friend who wanted a guitarist. After that, Moore performed the venue usually for years. One Tuesday, Moore was performing when tv producer and composer Chuck Lorre was within the viewers; an introduction led Moore to land the theme tune for the favored CBS sitcom, “Mike & Molly.”

“It is essential to take care of the native watering holes of our nation,” Moore, who this yr took house a GRAMMY for Greatest Americana Album for his 2019 album, Oklahoma, explains. “For me, Harvelle’s is the place the place I discovered who I used to be. Harvelle’s is the place I turned ‘Keb’ Mo’.’ If not for Harvelle’s, I, and lots of different artists I do know, wouldn’t be the place we’re in the present day. It is so vital to ensure these native locations that feed the group—socially, culturally, and artfully in a musical approach—stay open. Once you take away the start line for musicians, you are taking away the connection. It is the native pubs and the native dives that make us who we’re.

Watch: Keb’ Mo’ Displays On The Journey To His ‘TajMo’ GRAMMY Nomination

“Even in the present day, Woman Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, and so on., all need to do a dive [bar] tour as a result of the dives are what’s occurring,” he continues. “It is about connecting to the folks. It is uncooked, it is sincere and it is real. The place you need to be most real of anyplace is in a dive, as a result of while you play a elaborate theater, everybody involves see you and is anticipating one thing. In a dive, nobody offers a crap about you, so you need to go to them and work out the best way to join and attain them. In a approach, enjoying a dive is far more tough than enjoying a live performance. Harvelle’s and all of the dives, espresso outlets [and] eating places of the world are essential to creating that connection and group inside the music enterprise.” 

Sarah Jarosz

Venue: The Cactus Café 
Metropolis: Austin, Texas
Opened: 1979

Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz performs at The Cactus Café in roughly 2006 | Picture: Steve Oleson

At 29, New York Metropolis-based American Roots singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz has already gained three GRAMMYs. (Her latest album, World On The Floor, launched in June, options manufacturing from five-time GRAMMY winner John Leventhal.) Jarosz shares her love for The Cactus Café, one of many storied music golf equipment located on the campus of the College Of Texas At Austin in her hometown. The venue has hosted a who’s who of Texas songwriting legends and bands through the years, from Townes Van Zandt and Man Clark to The Chicks and Nickel Creek.

Learn: Sarah Jarosz Graduates to GRAMMY Winner with ‘Undercurrent’

“Since I am not in a position to play reveals on the street proper now, I’ve naturally turned my ideas to among the first venues I started enjoying in,” Jarosz says. “I’ve a specific fondness for The Cactus Café. That is the primary membership I keep in mind my mother and father taking me to as a little bit child, even when it was well beyond my bedtime. I keep in mind the odor of the espresso brewing, the clinking of the glasses on the bar tucked into the again nook, the heat of being surrounded by kindred spirits and music-lovers. 

“Venues like The Cactus are sacred areas,” she provides. “For the hour or two that you just’re inside them, the surface world disappears, and musicians and listeners alike discover solace within the power and the sounds.”

Jane Bunnett

Venue: Jazz Showcase
Metropolis: Chicago, In poor health.
Opened: 1947

Jane Bunnett performs at Jazz Showcase in Chicago, Ill.

Jane Bunnett performs at Jazz Showcase in Chicago, In poor health. | Picture: Jim Funk

Jane Bunnett, 63, is a soprano saxophonist, bandleader and three-time GRAMMY nominee. The latest ensemble the Toronto artist assembled is the all-female, GRAMMY-nominated Afro-Cuban jazz group, Jane Bunnett & Maqueque

She holds a particular place in her coronary heart for Chicago’s Jazz Showcase, began by Joe Segal in 1947. Legends from John Coltrane to Miles Davis have performed this historic membership. At this time, you will nonetheless discover the 94-year-old NEA Jazz Grasp Segal hanging round, however his son, Wayne, runs the day-to-day operations. 

The primary time Bunnett tried to sit down in and play at Jazz Showcase within the late 1980s, Joe refused to let her play. Flash forward a decade. Bunnett was again within the Windy Metropolis for the Chicago Jazz Competition. After her set, musician Ira Sullivan launched her to Joe, who did not recall the incident. Amends have been made. Within the final 5 years, the membership has turn out to be an everyday anticipated cease for Bunnett & Maqueque; they have been scheduled for one more gig there this spring earlier than the pandemic hit.

Learn: ‘Bitches Brew’ At 50: Why Miles Davis’ Masterpiece Stays Impactful

“I’ve obtained unbelievable recollections of enjoying that room,” Bunnett says. “Proper behind the bandstand is an exquisite 10-by-12-foot {photograph} of Charlie Parker. I keep in mind the primary evening I am up on that stage, it was such a joyous second. Joe sat proper in entrance of my percussionist and simply stared. I appeared across the room in any respect the paraphernalia and historical past and simply soaked it in. There I used to be with a bunch of younger Cuban youngsters of their early 20s who did not have a clue of who most of the artists pictured on the partitions have been.”

Sierra Hull

Venue: The Station Inn
Metropolis: Nashville, Tenn.
Opened: 1974

Sierra Hull (R) performs with Justin Moses (L) at The Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn.

Sierra Hull (R) performs with Justin Moses (L) at The Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn. | Courtesy Picture: Sierra Hull

At 28, bluegrass/roots artist Sierra Hull has already launched 4 full-length albums. Her most up-to-date, 25 Journeys, launched in February on Rounder Data, is the follow-up to her GRAMMY-nominated 2016 album, Weighted Thoughts

“It is easy to take with no consideration {that a} venue like The Station Inn will all the time be there,” she says. “It is a staple of the Nashville group and a musical house for thus many people. I have been deeply impressed by the concert events I’ve seen by each legends and friends there, and have performed the stage myself numerous occasions through the years. It is the kind of venue that’s completely small and intimate but with a historical past that makes it really feel bigger than life. 

Learn: Sierra Hull Takes Her Place In Bluegrass Historical past, Talks Legacy & New Music At Broad Open Bluegrass

“It actually breaks my coronary heart to know that venues all of us love are struggling and will doubtlessly go below throughout this pandemic. I hope and pray they’ll survive this for the sake of our group and the necessity all of us have to collect collectively in locations with a lot historical past and that means.”


Venue: Cedar Cultural Middle
Metropolis: Minneapolis, Minn.
Opened: 1989

Cedar Cultural Center

Cedar Cultural Middle | Picture: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Put up through Getty Photographs

Ondara, beforehand often known as J.S. Ondara, grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, listening to loads of rock music earlier than shifting to the U.S. in 2013. His debut album, Tales Of America, launched in 2019, obtained a nomination for Greatest Americana Album on the 2020 GRAMMYs. In Could, the singer-songwriter launched his follow-up, Folks N’ Roll, Vol 1: Tales Of Isolation, an 11-song assortment written and recorded by Ondara, in lower than per week, whereas in lockdown in Minneapolis. The compositions communicate to our occasions and collective quarantined expertise. A direct response to the worldwide pandemic, the album serves as remedy for Ondara. 

Earlier than shifting from Africa to America, Ondara had by no means been to a live performance. His first present was on the Cedar Cultural Middle, a Twin Cities stay music sizzling spot for the previous 30 years. It modified his life. 

Learn: Kenyan Singer/Songwriter J.S. Ondara On Telling His Personal ‘Tales Of America’ With Debut LP

“I used to be new to America, and I had spent a while with music unsuccessfully,” he recollects. “Nothing was figuring out, so I made a decision to go to high school. Midway via my second semester, a good friend invited me to a present to see Seattle singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen. I had a very religious expertise at that live performance. I dropped out of college the next day and went again to specializing in my music and making my debut file. It was life-changing. The novelty of [it] being my first live performance, together with my inner turmoil of my needs to be a musician being stifled, all performed a component within the expertise. It left an enduring impression. I actually cannot wait till I could be in a room full of individuals once more and sing proper of their faces.” 

four Unbiased File Shops Throughout The U.S. Weigh In On Their Wrestle To Survive Throughout COVID-19

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