Monday, September 11, 2017

Grog Shop to Celebrate 25th Anniversary with Special Shows and Giveaways

Posted By on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 4:07 PM

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The Grog Shop opened in 1992 when Kathy Blackman and two other business partners took over a Cleveland Heights bar on the corner of Coventry and Mayfield roads. They all lived near the space and thought it would make for a good rock club. They were right.

The first show featured local garage-rockers Quasi Modo, and the place was packed. It served as a compliment to the Euclid Tavern, which featured indie and underground concerts too.

Within a year, Blackman booked her first national band, the Portland, Oregon-based pop-punk act Crackerbash. In 1994, a then-unknown British group called Oasis played the place. Six bucks got you into that gig.

  • Courtesy of Kathy Blackman
Occasionally, bands like the Deftones and the Brian Jonestown Massacre insisted on playing secret shows at the Grog when they were in town to play bigger concerts at other venues.

When that club lost its lease in 2003, Blackman found a place just up the street. The club has resided at that spot on Euclid Heights Blvd. ever since.

Starting next week, the club will host a handful of special shows to mark its 25th anniversary. Ticket holders will have access to pre-parties that take place at 6 p.m. at the B-Side Liquor Lounge (underneath the Grog Shop) prior to each of the concerts. The first 100 attendees to each pre-party will receive a “bag o' swag” from sponsors such as Gotta Groove Records, Jakprints, EarthQuaker Devices, Jameson, Absolut, PBR, Melt, Coventry Village, WRUW, WJCU, Market Garden Brewery and Alternative Press.

“The music is diverse, and each night represents a different crowd and different era,” Blackman says.

We spoke with Blackman to get her take on each of the concerts featuring acts that have regularly played the club over the past 25 years.

You can also see a slideshow of images culled from the last 25 years.

Tuesday, Sept. 19

The Queers and the Ataris/The Missed (8:30 p.m.)

“They’ve played here a million times. I feel like the Queers is a band we inherited them from the Euclid Tavern. It was a nice rite of passage. They’re such great guys and they put on such a great show. It was a perfect transition. We were originally trying to do a solid weekend of shows. We had held this date forever, and [singer-guitarist] Joe [King] is a such a nice guy, and I even asked him to share some memories. It’s super old school and goes back to our roots. There’s nothing wrong with a good, fast punk rock show.”

Thursday, Sept. 21

The Get Up Kids/Pet Symmetry/Dead Leaves (9 p.m.)

“I have a lot of history with them. [Singer-keyboardist] James [Dewees] and [singer-guitarist] Matt [Pryor], who are the two lead guys, have played here in many inceptions both as the Get Up Kids and with Reggie and the Full Effect. Matt has done solo tours here. They are like family. I’ve seen them become extremely popular and still play here. At some point, they outgrew us and then came back. That’s a great feeling. They set up their tour around this show.”

Friday, Sept. 22

Murder by Death/Miss Macy & the Low Pay Daddys (9 p.m.)

“They started playing here in the early 2000s. For one of their first shows, they showed up late and only got to play for 15 minutes and the next day their equipment got stolen. It was one of the worst things to happen on a tour. They made up a shirt about them losing their stuff here. It’s a poignant memory to them. They’ve been coming back once a year for many years. They’re such good people. They do short, small tours because they have lives and families. They’ll only go out for five or six days, and Cleveland is one of their stops. I reached out to them way long ago when I started thinking about having anniversary shows.”

Saturday, Sept. 23

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists/Obnox/Falling Stars (9 p.m.)

“He’s been playing here for years. Sometimes, he plays solo, and one year he did a show at the B-side, which was kind of fun. We got back a long way, and we actually share a wedding anniversary. He’s changed over the years. At the show at the old Grog Shop, he would have been much different. He had a Matador sound to him initially and has gone through an upbeat phase. His solo stuff is very thoughtful and poignant and political. It’s not frivolous music by any means. He’s had so many different inceptions of Ted Leo. He never sounds exactly the same. Obnox is also on this bill and [singer-guitarist] Chris Allen’s new band, Falling Stars, is playing too. [Guitarist] Tim Parnin is in the band too. They’ve been playing at my club as long as anyone. They’ve been there since Day One. Sometimes, national acts want to pick the local, but I want it to be about Cleveland. Those bands are as equally important to me.”

Sunday, Sept. 24

Cloud Nothings/Chromesthetic/Street Gurgler (9 p.m.)

“They’re new blood even though they appeal to the older demographic. They recorded a live album here, which is really cool. I think they even filmed it. It’s important to do something with the local bands. It can’t be the Grog Shop’s 25th anniversary and be all national acts. It should be about Cleveland bands as well. It’s nice to see a Cleveland band break out and be well-received and well-respected.”

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