Unsolicited Maxwell’s Memories
Hoboken’s landmark music venue Maxwell’s is closing down forever in one week. Please allow me to now add to the chorus of tale-telling about this legendary flophouse, for I went there a grand total of twice (please, hold your applause).
December 31st, 2001: I paid real money to see the Jared Leto of grunge, Evan Dando, command the cozy confines of Maxwell’s with his patented brand of mumbly acousti-angst. The place was so packed that Dando and his band couldn’t retreat between their regular set and their encore—they just sat down on the stage, sipping their waters/beers whilst trying to ignore the tittering crowd. Dando was pretty ace that night and his performance included (if I’m remembering correctly) shimmering renditions of “Confetti,” “Outdoor Type,” and “If I Could Talk I’d Tell You.” Before the show started I had some spaghetti or ziti from Maxwell’s kitchen. I don’t remember it being amazing, but it also didn’t make me retch.
July 2, 2008: A Feelies reunion. How could I resist? This one may have been even more crowded than New Year’s Eve with Dandy Dando. In fact, a handful of people were milling around outside the club when I got there flashing homemade “NEED TIX” signs. To some people a Feelies reunion is like Wrestlemania. According to this ancient artifact I found Das Feelz to be pleasant enough, though currently I recall flashes of disappointment over not hearing “Moscow Nights.” To be fair, I only shouted for it twenty-two times. You gotta break thirty to get attention from the legends of strum.
So there’s my Maxwell’s history. On the whole, more thrilling than the one time I went to CBGBs and their gallery was closed and they refused to sell me a t-shirt they had hanging from their ceiling because some clown like Daniel Baldwin had worn it, yet decidedly less thrilling than the time I went to that bar in Seattle where Layne Staley apparently spent his final days ingesting turpentine and stale cigarette smoke.