A Visit To L’Amour Brooklyn (Kind Of, Sort Of….)
Do you remember L’Amour? You do? Great and for those among you who do not, for many, many years this was considered “The Rock Capitol Of Brooklyn”. We’ve got so many younger Metal fans out there nowadays that this legendary club is only a thing of the tales that their older relatives bring up from time to time as they recant shows of the past or when legendary bands discuss their early years. For the longest time this was THE PLACE to be for bands and week after week you could see Overkill, Queensryche, Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Anthrax, White Lion and hosts of other groups. It was a pretty cool place to go to enjoy some Metal for the most part but in today’s musical geography the original club has been shuttered for a number of years.
Back in August, I happened to be near the block where the venue had been and since I was early for my reason being over there I was compelled to take a walk to see what the club/street might look like after not being here for a long time. Here’s the entrance. As you can see it’s now called the “Red Wolf Club”. While I don’t know exactly what the Red Wolf Club is, I will assume some kind of dance club. If you know you can let us know in the comments.
Here’s a cool view of the front entrance. As I shot these quick images I had all sorts of flashback memories of heading up to the club for a show or handing out flyers for our own performances at the place. The reflections and images that were hitting me of the place were from when I was a member of a local Brooklyn Metal band called Machine. We had the honor of playing at the venue about ten times during my tenure.
The line to get in would congregate further up the block than you see in this shot. The position were I was standing right now was the load in area and led to the original backstage of the club. When you would walk into that door I just showed the stage was on the immediate right. Eventually they reworked the place and the stage was set up in the far back. I imagine that they loaded in gear on the opposite street as a result of that change. In the old club configuration I remember seeing Overkill in their early days, White Lion and many more. The new setup was where I would eventually see Nightwish and then begin my adventures in music journalism.
A full on look at the gated entrance to the backstage/loading section. I remember that you didn’t have a whole lot of time to get your gear packed up after a set before you had to roll out. It was something like fifteen or twenty minutes to my recollection. Depending on how much gear you had, this could be a very bad thing. There was no back line for the bands that you sometimes find today. Yes there was a fully miked PA System but all the amps and cabinets and drums necessary to bring the Metal were the property of the band. Usually with the Machine shows I worked with a double kick and three or four rack toms, snare and cymbals. Enough for an opening act for sure and lots of little parts to keep track of after it was all said and done. Sorry that I could not offer up any inside shots. It didn’t look open at the time and while I am often brave to get necessary shots, I did not have the chance to get a couple that I would have liked to share.
The spot you see here was kind of a hanging out spot for before, during and after shows. Obviously bands that just played or were waiting too would get some air or try to rally any possible passerby into the venue. L’Amour was a different kind of venue than you see today. There was not a heavy amount of music fans just chancing by like you might find at Irving Plaza, B.B. King’s or the Best Buy Theater. If you were heading to the area where L’Amour was, you already were going to be there. Today we find people being able to just pass by a club like this and if there are shows with tickets left, its a lot easier to snag one and go in. No unnecessary travel to worry about (well, depending on where you are from of course).
I realize that this is a blank red wall but this is around the pot where the evening’s menu would be. Too bad that there was not one there to reflect on. Oh well. Hopefully you didn’t mind this little reflection but as I said I was early for my reason being in the area and I had plenty of space on the side arm Sony Cybershot memory card so why not make the most use of the time and resources. That is what this blog is all about anyway. Life and its happenings, be they current or from long ago.
For a couple of years I have been hearing about a book coming out about the classic years of the L’Amour venue and its going to feature a lot of photography from our friend from the photo pit Mr. Frank White. He’s been at this a lot longer than myself so has some really cool things in his archive. Hopefully this comes out soon so the Metal legions can get a glimpse about what the scene was like back then. There is really a lot of cool Metal history to appreciate for sure.
You can learn more about the original venue via the Wikipedia Entry HERE