Originally opening its doors in 1977, the Paradise Rock Club has been treating locals to amazing music for over thirty years. In case you don’t believe me based on that one sentence, U2 performed their first show in the U.S. at the Paradise. Who else is on the list of legends to play at the Paradise? How about AC/DC, REM, The Police, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, INXS (swoon), Cheap Trick, Phish, Chris Isaak, Rage Against the Machine, The Pixies, Elvis Costello, and Tom Waits.
Of course, there have been some amazing new bands in the limelight at “the dise.” The Paradise has hosted Kings of Leon, Stereophonics, Dresden Dolls, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Liz Phair, Ray Lamontagne, and a whole slew of bands you’ve seen reviewed on your favorite site (that would be TWRY, of course), including Young the Giant, The Subways, Crash Kings, Of Montreal, and Mew, to name a few. Every night of the week, the Dise offers up great acts, both up-and-coming and well-known national acts.
So when a Boston institution like the Paradise closes its doors—even temporarily—you can feel the pain like an arrow in the heart. It’s a dark world in which to exist. However, the updates and renovations to the Paradise were well worth the suffering of Bostonians and Allstonians (non-locals, the Paradise actually lives in the little area just outside of Boston called Allston, which primarily houses students from Boston University and a few Boston College kids).
What’s changed in the place, you ask? Where the bottom floor of the club used to be a bit tight during a sold-out show, the Dise knocked down the separating wall between the club/stage and the merch area and added another bar. The whole floor is opened up and way more comfortable, even during a sold-out show. The upstairs area of the club was basically a ring around the venue with additional standing room and two bars. You stand up and around the sound boards and can get a pretty decent overhead look of the stage, without that crammed in feeling you used to feel on the floor. The top level hasn’t changed, but remains a bit of a respite from the occasional shoving on the main floor (depending on the band, crowd, etc.).
I was lucky enough to score a pass to see Young the Giant at the Paradise on the night the club re-opened their doors to the public. The show was completely sold out and never once did I get that stuffy, panicky, shoved-into-a-sardine-can feeling you often get at these small live music clubs with too many people. The floor was open, the lines to the bars seemed to run smoothly with the addition of the bar where the merch area once lived.
If you’re in the Boston area or are visiting our lovely city sometime, definitely show your support for live music and small local venues by heading over to the Paradise. You’ll have a fantastic time, trust me!