Somewhere between the Mudd Club and Danceteria, there was Hurrah on the Upper West Side. I never went, of course, being too young and unaware of such things at the time. It shut its doors in 1981, when I was only 14 years old. It’s story, however, is now being told in a new book by a gentleman named Tim Lawrence called “Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983” (read an excerpt here). I’m quite looking forward to checking the book out.
As discussed here, meanwhile, Hurrah played host to a dizzying array of crucial bands, from The Cure to Iggy Pop to the Feelies to the Specials to Mission of Burma to the Lounge Lizards to Gang of Four to Bauhaus to XTC to New Order to the Bush Tetras and hundreds more. If, like myself, you were too young to ever attend, here’s, evidently, what it was like entering the venue.
In any case, the only reason I’m bringing any of this up are the clips below, one of which my friend Cory unearthed and slapped on Facebook. While certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, all of this footage is pretty remarkable. Here’s the inimitable James Chance and the Blacks playing at Hurrah in 1980.
Before you ask, I have no idea who Chance’s co-vocalist in the first two videos (“Money to Burn” and “Melt Yourself Down”) is, but she tackles the impressive feat of almost upstaging the mighty James Chance. The last two clips feature Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, helping Chance’s band cover “Good Times” by Chic and “I Feel Good” by James Brown. Debbie looks suitably luminescent.
Hard to believe this all went down on West 62nd Street.