Being the insufferable Manhattan snob that I am/was, I can’t really say I was ever a regular at Hoboken’s Maxwell’s. Sure, it was just a brief trip under the river by PATH train (although a long, goddamn walk down that main drag of Washington Street to the actual club), but I always figured that any band worth their salt playing Maxwell’s was invariably going to play in Manhattan, too.
Ostensibly, I was right about that, but that didn’t make the performances at Maxwell’s any less amazing. Once I gleaned that fact, I started going more often.
I’d love to say I saw some seminal bands grace the low stage in that cramped, low-ceilinged backroom, but that would be stretching it. I did see a truly surreal performance by Mr. Bungle circa the release of their delightfully unwieldy major label debut. I also caught Cop Shoot Cop, The Wedding Present, Lush, Velvet Crush and a handful of other indie bands.
Unfortunately, I never got to see The Feelies play at Maxwell’s (essentially their home turf). That’s them at the top of the post in that storied backroom, prized off of Tumblr. With the possible exception of, say, Hoboken’s Bongos (who I’m honestly not all that versed in), I can’t think of a band who more typified Maxwell’s and its whole aesthetic.
Maxwell’s closed, of course, a couple of years back (although it had closed before, only to re-open). This time, however, it was gone for good – essentially eliminating any remaining reason for me ever to visit Hoboken. I haven’t a clue what is currently occupying the building that once housed the beloved establishment.
I stumbled upon the very enthusiastic documentary below a couple of weeks back. Take a trip back to the mid-80’s when the notion of a live music venue fostering its own music scene in Hoboken still seemed like a viable endeavor.