Simon Says So Long Acheron

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You know, of all the insane events, celebrity deaths (fucking Phife Dawg, man.), and political clusterfucks (LofuckingL at Great Britain) that have made up the blueprint of 2016 thus far, this one is right up there as the most soul crushing.

Just about a week ago, the owners of famed NYC venue The Acheron posted this on their Facebook page.

It is with a profoundly heavy heart that we have to announce July 9th will be the last show at the Acheron. As a result of numerous factors that are completely out of our control, the space can no longer be used for shows. The Anchored Inn will remain open, doing the glorious work of keeping the punks fed and drunk. We are endlessly grateful to all of our staff, along with (almost) every band and show-goer that has ever walked through these doors. When we started 6 years ago I don’t think any of us imagined the Acheron would have grown into what it is now, and we feel very proud of all that we accomplished in that time. It has been a pleasure, and we mean that from the bottom of our hearts.
We are working on a few last minute shows to finish up our final weeks and will announce them as soon as we can.

All shows booked for after the 9th will be moved to new venues, which we will also announce soon.

Thank you to everyone that helped make this feel more than just a venue over the years. While we’re all deeply saddened by the loss, we feel extremely proud, and privileged to have been able to do this for as long as we have. Please come find us at the bar, and let’s have a drink. Viva 57!

What did Janet Jackson used to say? “Don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” Bet she wasn’t saying that shit about Jermaine Dupri. But in all seriousness, this hurts. A lot. While there are many other venues in this hellforsaken city that have had many other great shows, this little bar with a very small space wedged right next to it located on Waterbury St. just a couple of blocks south of the L train, a school, and an conclave of abandoned warehouses was a very beloved cornerstone of the NYC metal scene.

I had been around when the names of La’mours, the original Knitting Factory, and CBGBs were whispered with reverence from many a metal-head and punks lips, and had attended many shows in those places. But The Acheron I believe was something special that deserved just as much love. I’m not going to bore you with history or go on a diatribe about all the people whose lives the venue changed, citizens. Instead I will just share two beloved memories of my own.

The first show I attended there was Abnormality opening up for Malignancy. They were on tour for Contaminating the Hive Mind and I absolutely had to catch their first NY show ever and watch Malika and co. tear shit up. They killed it of course, but one of the memories that forever sticks out of my rotting brain from that show was of two concertgoers of the fairer sex getting very angry at Malignancy, proceeding to toss their cups of whatever beverage they were imbibing at them and storm out of the place. The band then proceeded to adjust the jokes and banter they had been firing at the ravenous audience in between their 3 minute spastic deathgrind onslaughts to include how ridiculous such a random scenario was. I don’t know why they were angry, and apparently neither did the band. But whatever argument you could apply towards the treatment of two females at a metal show, which I personally won’t go into here because it wasn’t the point I was trying to make, the whole scene made for an inescapable memory within this maniac’s head. The rest of their set absolutely crushed though, so there’s that.

Memory # 2 would be Sadistic Intent, Deathhammer and a couple of other bands two years ago. After I finished off possibly the best burger I’ve ever eaten, some of the bar’s infamous fries, and a nice bottle of summer pale ale, it was time for the event. Local trad metal riffers Natur, who played seemingly every underground show back then, opened and killed as usual. But neither they nor other openers Iron Force could prepare me for the absolute spine-altering assault of the two main bands. Those four madmen of Deathhammer trekked all the way from Sweden to engulf everyone in a shitstorm of thrash riffs in the first of two times I would see them in the next two years. And I’ll tell ya citizens, “Full Moon Sorcery” in particular is a goddamn revelation live. And then Sadistic Intent took the stage. From the intro of “Impending Doom,” they launch into “Asphyxiation” and for the next hour or so, they have the audience of denim and black shirt clad folks in the palm of their weathered riff weaving hands. Here, there was no talk of inclusion or safe space, because that audience and that band at that very moment, THAT was the damn safe space; everyone there was as one, connected through the riffs and the throng of swirling bloody beer stained bodies.

By the time Sadistic Intent closed off their set with Funerals Obscure and I said goodbye to my buddies and departed for home downing my last PBR (shut up), I felt it. That incomprehensible sense of awe and serenity that only a really good set from a band you like, or a band that MADE you like them through sheer force of will, can provide. One can get this feeling at any show at any venue depending on the band and so forth, but only a small venue can conjure up that combination of intimacy and energy and, along with its “big brother” St. Vitus, The Acheron was cream of the crop for this in the greater NY area.

I’m sure there will be other venues and bars and clubs that will open up in the wake of the few months after The Acheron closes its doors for good as a music venue on July 9th (The Anchored Inn bar next door will remain open). But to this maniac at least, while those places will put on many good shows, it won’t quite feel the same. Take heed of this citizens and support your local goddamn scene and venues. Don’t let this happen to you. And for any NY metal-heads out there, try to go the last show on the 9th featuring Magrudergrind, Trenchgrinder, and a couple of other rad bands. Give the Acheron a last great hurrah.

Acheron, I will burn a police station or two in your honor. Thanks for the cheap craft beer and the crushing riffs you provided me and the rest of the NY metal scene over the years. VIVA 57.


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