I have thoughts and opinions on the latest goings-on re: Great Scott in Allston. Some are positive and some are negative. Please bear with me on this.
The first thing we need to establish is that the Allston many of us know and love is dead. It died a long time ago. Somewhere around when OB’s stopped letting you smoke in the back alley. You can’t buy loosies at the Superette anymore, Rugg Rd is demolished, you can’t argue with Yolanda at Diskovery about how the millionth-press Rubber Soul album she has on the wall ISN’T worth $100. Mr. Butch is dead. That era is gone.
The neighborhood has completely changed, which is fine this is what cities do! Great Scott was one of the last vestiges of the Allston of yore. Now, I’m not sure what is sadder, the fact that the landlord pushed them out the door, or the fact that people thought it could be saved. Look at that building and where it sits.
I knew a guy, who was a musician, that lived in an apartment in that building and said it was basically as loud as being in the Great Scott bathroom in his apartment. Every night. Who wants to live like that? People paying reduced rent that’s who. No doubt the landlord wants to capitalize on the location and get max rent for the aparts and keep a business on the first floor also paying top rent.
So I can’t say I was surprised by the landlord‘s moves to basically present them with an unsignable lease right when the pandemic started. Anyone who thinks these leeches care about keeping the space occupied or the fabric of the neighborhood plz see what happened to Marty’s …right across the street in 2008. The landlord tripled the rent during an economic collapse on the one place guaranteed to stay in business and paying their rent, then let the building sit unoccupied for YEARS (plural). They. Don’t. Care.
Thinking that the mayor or anyone else is going to exert influence over a landlord to keep a cultural gathering place open is also folly. Politicians only care about money and power. Marty Walsh could give a hateful jizz about a rock club in the college ghetto.
So, enough with the bad vibes here come the good ones. As an old nihilist crank I am BEYOND impressed with the fact that the community raised 200 FUCKIN THOUSAND DOLLARS to save the place. Clubs and restaurants are closing all over the country. Has anyone else done this?
The wretched hive of scum and villainy that milled about smoking cigs on Harvard & Comm emptied their pockets and turned in their Marlboro miles for $200k to save our favorite hangout. That should be the highlight of all this. It’s unreal IMO.
So now what? The landlords aren’t going to let GS carry on it seems. Well, to me THATS FINE. It could be reborn stronger and better. The staff and bookers there are amazing. The sound / sound people are great. All that can move.
With this pandemic gearing ip for round 2, when are places like that going to open again anyways? A year from now? 2 years? We’ve not yet begun to see the economic fallout from this yet. Every day I wake up and another restaurant or bar has closed for good.
Once rare Boston liquor licences are going to be littering the sidewalk soon. As more people make perma-shifts to working from home, Commercial real estate will become more available, maybe an outside chance of becoming more affordable too. Who knows?! Nothing is certain.
All I know is, the passionate crew trying to keep Great Scott alive need to keep going, pick your moment, and strike when the iron is hot! There will be an opportunity to secure a location just as good if not better to create the kind of space Great Scott was!
I believe they will push ahead and do just that. This situation just illustrates what can be done if folks ORGANIZE behind something they believe in, even a beer soaked concert hall. Having $200k available to seize the opportunity is an enviable position to be in!
In closing I am extremely proud of everyone that’s been pushing and organizing and donating and writing letters for this cause. I this city and the scenes within it. This one isn’t going to die because it lost a building. Lets keep pushing! See you hep cats on the other side!