The Channel

Any conversation about the Boston music scene in the 1980s has to include the (in)famous concert venue The Channel. Opened in 1980 at 25 Necco Street, at the edge of Fort Point Channel (hence the name) on the site of the old Mad Hatter disco, and shuttered eleven years later, The Channel was nonetheless one of the city’s key homes for live music. With an official capacity of 1,700, it was also one of the largest, and sharing a bill with the national acts that came to The Channel or headlining one of the club’s frequent local music nights was the highlight of many local bands’ careers. Hit hard by rising booking costs, liquor license issues and competition from other venues, The Channel owner Harry Booras filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in 1990, and after a few fits and starts, the venue closed on December 31, 1991.

In its heyday, though, numerous MMONE artists graced The Channel stage, including Human Sexual Response, ‘Til Tuesday, Jon Butcher Axis, The Cars, The Pixies, Lizzie Borden and The Axes, Gang Green, The Neighborhoods, La Peste, Farrenheit and The Fools. If that list looks a little “rockist,” The Channel booker Warren Scott also regularly stocked the venue’s bills with reggae, blues and country/western acts. (As Scott told The Boston Globe in 1985, “Anything from heavy metal to Latino and gospel. If it has an audience, we’ll do it.”) In addition to Scott, other Channel luminaries included renowned soundman Dinky Dawson, DJs Carter Alan (an MMONE contributor), Bradley Jay, Metal Mike, Carmelita and bartender Robin Moran, who, in June 2013, helped organize the Channel Reunion Concert, to celebrate the bands and venue that made the Boston music scene in the 1980s so memorable.

(by Stephen Haag)

Published on June 22, 2013