City Gardens rock and roll club was here; Jon Stewart worked as bartender; REM song written here.

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Location

City Gardens (formerly)
1701 Calhoun St.
Trenton, NJ 08638
United States
40° 14' 13.92" N, 74° 45' 37.17" W

About

This was a punk/new wave club in the eighties to the mid-nineties. According to Wikipedia, it was a bible warehouse and "US 1 Motors" before that. There is a new book about it called "Notice No Slam Dancing No Stage Diving No Spikes An oral History of the Legendary City Gardens, " by Amy Yates Wuefling and Steven DiLodovico. See, ex., yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer, starting on page C1. Many top bands played here, some in their early days. Comedian Jon Stewart worked as a bartender here. From what I read, Green Day played a very early show here.
I attended shows here very early on. I remember The Cramps, Dead Kennedys, I think the Residents, NRBQ, The Shades and Violent Femmes. A friend said he saw a good Bo Diddley show here, and I believe Ben Vaughn's band backed Mr. Diddley. I know I saw a really good Shades (New Jersey band that had been on the verge of making it big) reunion show here. We used to like to go to Jo Jo's Princeton Avenue Steakhouse, which was about a block away, after shows. Jo Jo had criminal troubles in the late seventies, early eighties, and I see online that he has had problems in recent years, too. But his cheesesteaks were really good.

Created by:

plaquemaster
Wed, 03/26/2014 - 11:26

Comments

There are entries for similar venues on Cyber Plaque, from various eras and of various genres, including: Sunset Park, New River Ranch, Tippin Inn, Alexander's, East Side Club, The Hot Club, Khyber Pass, The Bijou/Showboat, Uptown Theater, Main Point, Chance Theater, Kaleidoscope, The Trauma, Stars, and Sunnybrook Ballroom.

There is a good history of The Shades, a wonderful band that played here, at http://www.phawker.com/2006/12/27/rocksnob-ladies-and-gentlemen-the-fabulous-shades-or-the-greatest-philly-new-wave-single-you-never-heard-of-and-probably-cant-find/.

The authors of the City Garden's history were on Dan Reed's show on WXPN today. The book sounds great. They had many stories. One was about how the cops would not come when called, because the club was in Trenton, the city, and the adjacent parking lot was in Ewing Township, and neither police force would claim it. Also, REM played there on 10/2/82. Guitarist Peter Buck, on that afternoon, watched kids play football at the park next door to the club, and that inspired him to write the REM song, "Perfect Circle." (This anecdote is supported at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_Circle_(song).) They also said the building had once been a Packard dealership, and I'm not sure whether that was the US 1 Motors mentioned above.

There is an interesting review of the City Gardens book by former WKDU music director and The Bob editor, David M. Snyder, at http://popdiggers.com/no-slam-dancing-no-stage-diving-no-spikes/.

Last night I saw a short VH1 segment on when LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy was an underaged bouncer at this club, and I see it at http://www.complex.com/music/2013/06/james-murphy-how-to-drop-a-skinhead. If you Google, you'll find quite a bit on James Murphy working here.

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