With continuing news that Arlene’s Grocery is on life support, we thought it appropriate to exhume a live show from its heady days. Back when the venue held more clout as a stepping stone for artists on the way to the spotlight.
For instance, The Strokes, which performed here on April 29, 2000. Twenty years ago now, it’s one of the earliest live shows caught on tape before the quintet hit it big, or as one YouTube commenter quipped, “One of the last gigs they had to introduce themselves.”
These days, the early-aughts remain an oft-romanticized time in the history of the New York City music scene. The Lower East Side – and The Strokes, in particular – revived the indie garage style that would dominate for the next decade. Arlene’s Grocery – along with Mercury Lounge, Luna Lounge, Tonic, Cake Shop, and (early) Pianos – helped nurture the scene and propel many local bands to success.
And now the Stanton Street stage is on life support and expected to close in February. The venue also became a prop this month for Chuck Schumer to push the Save Our Stages Act, which would provide $15 billion in grants for arts and entertainment venues to help survive the pandemic. If passed, the bailout would include $10 billion in relief aid for independent venues and other music-oriented independent businesses.
“In many ways, they’ll miss the good old days … someday…”