The Scene (#8): The Thirsty Whale

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As the winter months slowly started turning to spring, those trips to the record store became more and more frequent than only on Friday nights. It was more like any time I had some extra cash in my pocket.

My own personal CD collection was growing considerably:  Screeching Weasel – My Brain Hurts, The Queers – Love Songs for the Retarded, The Offspring – Smash, Rancid – Self-Titled, R.E.M. – Monster, and Violent Femmes – New Times.

Baseball tryouts at school were fast-approaching, but I couldn’t care less because one of my childhood friends handed me a flyer and told me to come out and see his punk band play that weekend.

“The Thirsty Whale,” I said confused, “Isn’t that place 21 and up?”

“Usually,” my friend said, “but they’re doing all ages shows on Saturday nights now. Hope to see ya there, man!”

The Thirsty Whale was a rock music club, a dive by today’s standards, and just one town over from where I grew up, but only a few blocks away from my grandparent’s house. It was a no-brainer where I would be Saturday night, but just like how my mom raised a stink about me going to a “bar,” all my friend’s parents told them they couldn’t go.

 They listened! I didn’t!

Paintings of Axl Rose and Jimi Hendrix filled the walls at the entranceway, the smell of stale booze and cigarette smoke filled the air, and bouncing from wall to wall was the sound of fuzzy, popping, out of tune guitars, vocals turned 3 decibels too loud, a bass plunk that vibrated the floors, and drums so loud that they drowned out everything else.

I couldn’t tell you what any of the band’s names were that played that night.

I couldn’t tell you what songs they played. 

It was grimy.

It was obnoxious.

It was sleazy.

It was perfect…. and it was where I was going to be every Saturday night!

YOUR TURN: Do you have a local music venue that host(s) all ages rock shows? Tell us about yours below!

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