Shott On Location:[br] Tonic's Downfall Is A Total Drag


“Everywhere we go, it’s gonna be, like, buildings,” said Japanese alternative/bossa nova singer Miho Hatori on stage at Tonic on Thursday night.

Ms. Hatori was bemoaning the Lower East Side experimental music hall’s looming closure as a segueway into a song about global warming.

In her final performance at the cash-strapped venue, Ms. Hatori also gave thanks to owners John Scott and Melissa Caruso Scott for allowing her the chance to perform quirky tunes that wouldn’t fly in a less avant-garde venue.

Ms. Hatori then crooned an ode to Anna Nicole Smith.

Tonic supporters are planning a rally on Saturday morning to “call for public political intervention” to stop the venue’s eviction. Friday night’s improv and “dark techno” lineup is slated to be its last show.

The Village Voice reported this week that Tonic owes more than $10,000 in back rent, among various other issues, including permitting problems. Tonic presently stands between two new condo developments.

Outside the venue on Thursday, one patron, smoking a hand-rolled cig with her boyfriend, recalled her most memorable experience at the doomed music spot:

“I saw Devendra Banhart here,” she said. “I came here to see him, like, way before he was big. And he sat on stage on a pedestal, cross-legged, and performed with a guitar, as a dude with a full beard, then got off stage, took, like, a 10-minute break, and came back, shaved his beard, slicked his hair into, like, a Flamengo do, put makeup on and a dress, and continued to proceed with his show in drag.

“He’s not a drag queen–he’s a woman when he does that,” she added. “It’s scary.”

– Chris Shott

Shott On Location:[br] Tonic's Downfall Is A Total Drag