Best place to mourn the closing of Tonic, Fez, Sin-é, and other small but important live-music venues (2008)


Recently, I attended the 33.3 birthday party of my filmmaker pal Sonny, which he held at a generic downtown bar called Hi-Fi. In addition to his fame as filmmaker and host, Sonny is also something of a fixture on the local indie-pop scene (check out his fab documentaries about the punk-rock karaoke scene and the Danielson Famile at So while the party was mostly an excuse to drink away some of the endless, stifling summer hours, his choice of venue was anything but perfunctory—not so long ago, Hi-Fi was a kick-ass live club called Brownies that gave excellent value (and shockingly non-crappy sound) for a nominal cover fee. Though small and predictably nondescript as such places go, the roster was always varied and almost always first-rate; favorite shows from the good old days include stellar sets from the Geraldine Fibbers, Black Eyed Snakes, the New Year, Mascott, the Flying Neutrinos, Lisa Germano (she burst into tears and had to leave the stage; we wept for/with her), the Delta Queens, Bee & Flower, Unwound, the Dambuilders . . . and, and, and. These days, music lovers will just have to make do with their darkening memories, plus cheap drinks and an MP3 jukebox with over 3,000 full albums.


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