Yesterday, with its lease expiring at midnight, the Save CBGB crowd might have begged for mercy, dragged the governor to the Bowery, or searched for a last-minute legal loophole. Instead, they staged a concert rally in Washington Square Park with a reunited Public Enemy, Blondie, the Bouncing Souls, and others.
In recent weeks, the debate has become “complicated,” with almost everyone weighing in on whether the club is worth saving. Is punk not dead after all, or are some aging rockers just getting in the way of a landlord’s right to evict?
Although the lease has now expired, the club’s September schedule is still up and supporters insist they aren’t leaving.
“We’re going to show the world that New York has never been more unified over an issue than this,” Steven Van Zandt told The Real Estate between acts. Finding time outside of The Sopranos and E Street Band, Mr. Van Zandt has worked tirelessly to save the club.
And although Mayor Bloomberg offered his support this week (cough: election year), Mr. Van Zandt thinks they can do even better.
“If we can get George Bush on the phone, he’d be with us too,” he said. “Of course he would!”
The Bouncing Souls played an impressive set, with kids moshing and a guest appearance by HR from seminal hardcore band, Bad Brains. Lead singer Greg Attonito told the crowd about the band’s early performance at CBGB in 1991, but complained that you “can’t buy dimebags” in the park anymore. Maybe times do change.
During Blondie’s set, Debbie Harry pulled off her long skirt to reveal Ramones shorts. Not surprisingly, the crowd went crazy.
Before Public Enemy went on, The Real Estate caught up with Chuck D
“It’s a venue that allows artists to say something to galvanize the public,” said Chuck D. (Actually, Public Enemy never played the club, but the hip hop star said he’d been there many times and would love to play if they keep it open). “CBGB’s has always been that venue for musicians that want to say something.”
We’ll see if it stays that way.