It’s been almost two years to the day since one of Philadelphia’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll venues, Upstairs at Nick’s, closed its doors for good.
My friends and I spent many a drunken Monday night there. Pints of Yuengling and $2 shots of Jaegermeister were available with no cover charge. The UAN’s Monday open-mic night was a gathering place for some of Philly’s best (and worst) bands. The amount of talent wasn’t a concern, as long as it was loud enough, and you had enough beer in your gut, it didn’t matter.
But free admission and cheap beer weren’t the only things that UAN had going for it. The shows they had were amazing. The difference between seeing a band at UAN and seeing a band at a large venue is immeasurable.
I remember when I saw Mudhoney, and I was drinking a beer and rockin’ out to the opening band. I turn to my left, and there’s vocalist Mark Arm, drinking a beer and rockin’ out to the opening band.
It’s an experience you can’t imagine.
A band playing at UAN might as well have been a garage band from around the corner. There wasn’t any of that cock-rock “I’m better than you are” attitude.
The worst part of it all is that when UAN closed, a trendy dance club opened. A pinnacle of Philadelphia rock ‘n’ roll was turned into its antithesis: a place for yuppies to begin the breeding ritual. Leaving the Khyber as Old City’s only rock venue.
Perhaps one day a venue with as many great features as there are piss stains on the floor will open up again in Old City. It’s in dire need of one.