February 02, 2016

10 now-defunct Detroit music venues

Even the most historic of music venues will one day meet their end. Like seemingly everything in Manhattan, CBGB’s is now a designer retail outlet. The story of the Hacienda in Manchester has brilliantly been used as marketing fodder by property developers, who converted the venue into luxury housing. The famous Hammersmith Palais in London is now an office block. While some venues may get reinvented, many beloved concert halls are not so lucky. What follows is our list of the 10 greatest now-defunct Detroit music venues.

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The Hip Hop Shop -- 
The Hip Hop Shop started off as a clothing store, intended to showcase a brand of the same name conceived by local entrepreneur Maurice Malone. But history will remember the Hip Hop Shop not for its oversized t-shirts, but for regular freestyle battles hosted by the late, great Proof.  (Image – Google Maps)
The Hip Hop Shop -- The Hip Hop Shop started off as a clothing store, intended to showcase a brand of the same name conceived by local entrepreneur Maurice Malone. But history will remember the Hip Hop Shop not for its oversized t-shirts, but for regular freestyle battles hosted by the late, great Proof. (Image – Google Maps)
Bookies Club 870 --
Just south of Palmer Park on McNichols, local punk rockers The Sillies transformed what was then “a failing gay bar” into the premier New Wave venue in Detroit. So much so that it was the very spot where the Police chose to appear in Michigan. Bookies hosted a slew of bands now familiar on the reunion tour circuit including Gang of Four and the English Beat, along with local Detroit rockers like the Romantics. (J Geils Band at Bookies Club 870, Image – Thomas Weschler)
Bookies Club 870 -- Just south of Palmer Park on McNichols, local punk rockers The Sillies transformed what was then “a failing gay bar” into the premier New Wave venue in Detroit. So much so that it was the very spot where the Police chose to appear in Michigan. Bookies hosted a slew of bands now familiar on the reunion tour circuit including Gang of Four and the English Beat, along with local Detroit rockers like the Romantics. (J Geils Band at Bookies Club 870, Image – Thomas Weschler)
Clutch Cargos -- Before it was a sweaty dance club of ill repute, or even a popular spot to see the alternative rock bands of your pre-teen years, the original Clutch Cargos was located in Downtown Detroit, at 64 W Elizabeth Street. Along with regular gigs from Michigan acts, Clutch Cargos hosted punk rock greats like the Damned, Dead Kennedys, and the Misfits. In 2013, Clutch Cargos’ Pontiac location closed its doors for good, and the old church was converted back to its original usage. (Image – Google Maps)
Clutch Cargos -- Before it was a sweaty dance club of ill repute, or even a popular spot to see the alternative rock bands of your pre-teen years, the original Clutch Cargos was located in Downtown Detroit, at 64 W Elizabeth Street. Along with regular gigs from Michigan acts, Clutch Cargos hosted punk rock greats like the Damned, Dead Kennedys, and the Misfits. In 2013, Clutch Cargos’ Pontiac location closed its doors for good, and the old church was converted back to its original usage. (Image – Google Maps)
Grande Ballroom --
Of all the legendary music venues on this list, few are as storied as the Grande Ballroom. If only because it is the site within which what is perhaps the quintessential Detroit album – MC5’s Kick out the Jams – was recorded. The Grande Ballroom was the Detroit headquarters of John Sinclair and the MC5’s White Panther movement, hosting the Stooges as their house band, before increasing violence in the area forced Iggy and co to flee to Ann Arbor. Today, the once magnificent space and birthplace of Detroit psychedelia is, like so many local historic landmarks, a ruin. (The Who at the Grande Ballroom, Image – Thomas Weschler)
Grande Ballroom -- Of all the legendary music venues on this list, few are as storied as the Grande Ballroom. If only because it is the site within which what is perhaps the quintessential Detroit album – MC5’s Kick out the Jams – was recorded. The Grande Ballroom was the Detroit headquarters of John Sinclair and the MC5’s White Panther movement, hosting the Stooges as their house band, before increasing violence in the area forced Iggy and co to flee to Ann Arbor. Today, the once magnificent space and birthplace of Detroit psychedelia is, like so many local historic landmarks, a ruin. (The Who at the Grande Ballroom, Image – Thomas Weschler)
Zoots Coffee --
Much like their neighbors at the Bronx, Zoot’s Coffee was an integral part of the Cass Corridor landscape for years. After that, it was taken over by industrious crusties and became Idle Kids, before the coop decanted into a newer, shinier space on Cass. Now it serves as the HQ for Model D Media. (Image – Adam Woodhead)
Zoots Coffee -- Much like their neighbors at the Bronx, Zoot’s Coffee was an integral part of the Cass Corridor landscape for years. After that, it was taken over by industrious crusties and became Idle Kids, before the coop decanted into a newer, shinier space on Cass. Now it serves as the HQ for Model D Media. (Image – Adam Woodhead)
The 20 Grand --
With the possible exception of the automobile, music is Detroit’s greatest export. And what better illustration of Detroit’s role in the popularization of American sounds abroad than the legendary moment when Mick Jagger first saw BB King at the 20 Grand’s Fireside Lounge. The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Martha Reeves are just a handful of the Motown heroes to have graced the stage at the 20 Grand. (Image – Google Maps)
The 20 Grand -- With the possible exception of the automobile, music is Detroit’s greatest export. And what better illustration of Detroit’s role in the popularization of American sounds abroad than the legendary moment when Mick Jagger first saw BB King at the 20 Grand’s Fireside Lounge. The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Martha Reeves are just a handful of the Motown heroes to have graced the stage at the 20 Grand. (Image – Google Maps)
Freezer Theater --
Is there anything more punk rock than an illegal venue? Located in the Cass Corridor, the Freezer Theater was the site of some of the most infamous shows by local greats like Negative Approach and the Necros. The space was eventually demolished in 2013.Freezer Theater
Is there anything more punk rock than an illegal venue? Located in the Cass Corridor, the Freezer Theater was the site of some of the most infamous shows by local greats like Negative Approach and the Necros. The space was eventually demolished in 2013.
Freezer Theater -- Is there anything more punk rock than an illegal venue? Located in the Cass Corridor, the Freezer Theater was the site of some of the most infamous shows by local greats like Negative Approach and the Necros. The space was eventually demolished in 2013.Freezer Theater Is there anything more punk rock than an illegal venue? Located in the Cass Corridor, the Freezer Theater was the site of some of the most infamous shows by local greats like Negative Approach and the Necros. The space was eventually demolished in 2013.
Graystone Hall --
Not to be confused with the venerable (and much grander) Graystone Ballroom, the Graystone was a small venue and social hall on Michigan Avenue. In the early 1980s, it had hosted shows by the Circle Jerks, Black Flag, the Big Boys, Necros, Negative Approach and even the final performance of the Misfits in October 1983. Then, as the first-wave hardcore scene died down, the action moved elsewhere.
Graystone Hall -- Not to be confused with the venerable (and much grander) Graystone Ballroom, the Graystone was a small venue and social hall on Michigan Avenue. In the early 1980s, it had hosted shows by the Circle Jerks, Black Flag, the Big Boys, Necros, Negative Approach and even the final performance of the Misfits in October 1983. Then, as the first-wave hardcore scene died down, the action moved elsewhere.
Birmingham Palladium --
Remember when Birmingham was cool? It was a really, really long time ago. One of legendary media-personality Russ Gibb’s handful of metro-Detroit venues, the Birmingham Palladium originally began as the Birmingham Teen Club.  From its initial use as a sock hop – where attendees would check their shoes in wooden boxes in the lobby – the Palladium rose to national prominence hosting the likes of Chuck Berry, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, and Parliament. Located on what is now Peabody Street (then Brownell), the site is now a parking lot. (Image – Google Maps)
Birmingham Palladium -- Remember when Birmingham was cool? It was a really, really long time ago. One of legendary media-personality Russ Gibb’s handful of metro-Detroit venues, the Birmingham Palladium originally began as the Birmingham Teen Club. From its initial use as a sock hop – where attendees would check their shoes in wooden boxes in the lobby – the Palladium rose to national prominence hosting the likes of Chuck Berry, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, and Parliament. Located on what is now Peabody Street (then Brownell), the site is now a parking lot. (Image – Google Maps)
The Magic Stick --
The early 2000’s was a time of great optimism in the area now known as Midtown. The White Stripes had recently found a national audience and Detroit was at the center of a worldwide garage-revival phenomenon. Bands like the Sights, the Dirtbombs and Von Bondies were regular fixtures, and for the better part of a decade the Stick was the host of virtually every rock concert worth seeing. Magic Stick – you will be missed. (Image – Adam Woodhead)
The Magic Stick -- The early 2000’s was a time of great optimism in the area now known as Midtown. The White Stripes had recently found a national audience and Detroit was at the center of a worldwide garage-revival phenomenon. Bands like the Sights, the Dirtbombs and Von Bondies were regular fixtures, and for the better part of a decade the Stick was the host of virtually every rock concert worth seeing. Magic Stick – you will be missed. (Image – Adam Woodhead)