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Mississippi Nights

This one will be pretty much only for a St. Lou area crowd--and it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with baseball, but Brock20's recent post on this venerable St. Lou institution left me no choice but to ramble and remember the incredible things witnessed therein. Besides--The Birds will clinch in a couple days and tonite all is well (well, damn close to well) in Cardinal Nation. So humor me.

In the early 80's, it was only half the size it is now--kind of a small dump, really. But it was the BEST music club on The Landing; hell, in all of St.Lou. Those days saw Ramones, Dead Kennedys, Cramps, Black Flag, Minutemen, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, Tom Waits, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Sun Ra, UB40, Violent Femmes, Del Fuegos, Replacements, Jason & The (Nashville) Scorchers, Meat Puppets, Mekons--the list could go on and on (if my ruined brain could recall them all). Goddamn that place rocked! Forget the hippie/blues bars in Soulard--Mississippi Nights was IT then. At least for bands of that noteriety.

Into the later 80's, a basement club in the Washington University Loop, Cicero's, helped start the whole "No Depression" subgenre of what now is called alt-country: Cicero's fostered a local scene that gave birth to Uncle Tupelo (as well as their honky-tonk cover band offshoot, Coffee Creek), Chicken Truck (which became The Bottle Rockets), etc--as well as regional acts like The Jayhawks, The Morells (later The Skeletons), and Joe Camel & The Caucasians (more Belleville, IL native sons)--all leading to Son Volt and Wilco and all those bands we love so much today.

I must confess that I dig Son Volt way more than Wilco, but then I always dug Jay Farrar's stuff more in Uncle Tupelo. I grew up in Belleville and have been seeing those guys since around 1984 (went to West High School in the 70's with their older brothers), when they were mostly a great cover band called The Primatives. I spent much of my early 20's getting drunk to their music at bowling alleys, drive-in movie theaters (they'd play til dusk when the movies started), VFW halls, and tiny seedy bars. BUT their first big shows as Uncle Tupelo were at Mississippi Nights, the shrine of alternative music in St. Lou (see, I knew I'd get back to my point eventually).

Now there are several other venues--The Galaxy, The Pageant, Creepy Crawl, probably others I'm too much of an old fart to know about--but Mississippi Nights, boy howdy!--it's our own CBGB's. Long may it stand!

(Please feel free to add more memories of shows seen there. Or anywhere in St.Lou. I'm kind of a sentimental old punk)

     

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