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If Forever Never Comes…

It can be a strange thing to visit something from one’s past. Where a childhood home once stood could now be a Burger King. A person whom you shared a first kiss with could stand next to you in the supermarket and there would be no recognition. Or the music venue where one saw so many great shows can now look like a prefabricated strip club – minus the strippers.

Boston’s was one of the best places to see shows in Tempe in the 1990’s. Here I saw Jawbreaker, Man or Astroman, The Promise Ring, Modest Mouse and many others. These were some of the best shows that I saw in my twenties.

For awhile Boston’s was closed and went through various incarnations. Now it is a music club again called Club 910. And I never could have imagined it ending up the way it is today.

Recently my band played there. I knew the place looked like trouble upon pulling into the parking lot. There was a red velvet rope out front and the dull glow of purple neon emanating from the door.

Whoever had bought this place had put in a ton of money into it, but had spent it in a very wrong way – which seems to be an epidemic in Phoenix, those having the funds not having any sort of clue about making a cool place that anyone would want to hang out at. There was a stripper pole planted in the bar and faux classy couches situated around the club that looked like they were purchased at Jenna Jameson’s yard sale. The outside part of the club, where they used to have outdoor shows when it was still Boston’s used to have a rough gritty charm – so much asphalt surrounded by cyclone fencing, was now poured over with smooth cement and was dotted with firepits, looking like the scene of some reality show where the presence of shirtless, ripped dudes who communicated via grunts and snorts would not be out of the ordinary.

I was not in the best of mood when it was time to play. I set up my bass equipment and had to deal with the two sound guys who were on the scene. One of the soundmen was disappointed that my cabinet did not have 10 inch speakers. It’s a vintage Sunn that has two fifteens – not a Trace Elliot. He ran a direct input from my amp but seemed to be confused about my gear. He asked me if I had any sort of envelope filter set up – what, does he think that I play bass for Korn or something?

We proceeded to play under an almost seizure inducing array of lights that were being projected onto the stage. Before we played I made the joke that “It’s great to be back here at Boston’s”. The audience was empty except for my girlfriend, and the ghost of my twenty-three year old self, who was clearly flipping me off.

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