Our Corner of the Rock 'n' Roll Life
Making its debut tonight is Channel 1, Greater Boston's largest (capacity 1500) rock club at 25 Necco st., near South Station. Entrepreneurs Joe Cicerone, who owns North End North restaurant in Saugus, and Harry Boras, former manager at Jason's, contemplate booking nationally known rock acts Monday-Wednesday with local/regional rock groups Thursday-Saturday, and Sunday given over to local country and western bands. While earlier ads had projected Channel 1 as a "new wave" facility, the exclusivity of the label was later deemed misleading. The Neighborhoods headline the launching tonight with the Dawgs opening up. Tomorrow, it's Count Viglione's rock spectacular with Love and Flame, Mission of Burma and a new La Peste.
Ernie Santosuosso, Boston Globe, May 30, 1980
While the next biggest room, the Paradise, can accommodate 500 people, Channel 1 can handle close to 1700 (although just how comfortably remains to be seen).
[Monday-Wednesday bookings by Don Law are] sure to hurt the Main Act in Lynn (1200 capacity) and other venues of similar size like Uncle Sam's on Nantasket Beach and Mr. C's Rock Palace in Lowell.
The club, which at 25 Necco st. is not far from South Station, is a gamble. It's physical layout--where a gaudily lighted disco dance floor lies next to a rock 'n' roll stage--is a risk; and it has to overcome a questionable past reputation as the Mad Hatter disco, when rowdiness and fights sometimes necessitated police intervention.
Steve Morse, Boston Globe, June 5, 1980
Upon entering, there's a slick patio-like room of landscaped ferns, potted plants and a small pool (no seats around it, though). The monstrous inside room--shaped like a horseshoe--has a disco dance floor on the left (looking like a wide bowling alley lane), then wraps around a stage and large pinball anteroom. The intent is definitely to marry the new-wave disco feel of the Boston club Spit with live music a la the Paradise. Dancing is the focus, for there's a wide-open dance area in front of the stage as well.
There's a low ceiling, two bars and functional, non-bolted tables around the perimeter (plans are to raise this area to improve presently iffy sight lines), but the nicest feature may be the two back picture windows overlooking Fort Point Channel. These lend a floating, cabin-cruiser ambiance. A stone floor is also neatly dovetailed with carpeting, giving what patron Toni Seger praised as a "subterranean feel."
Steve Morse, Boston Globe, June 5, 1980
at the Channel
July 1, 1981
The Stompers came on last and put technique together with soul and passion, burning in high gear throughout. They were disappointing in one sense: they took no risks with slower, more ballad-like material and played only two "new" songs. Said Baglio: "I went up and played my hits."
But the Stompers hits are formidable--aggressive marriages of gutsy, hard driving rhythms and transcendent guitar and piano bridges. Like Bruce Springsteen or Southside Johnny, Baglio considers rock 'n' roll as salvation and dreams as something to still be worth having. With "You're the One," "Dirty Water," "Escape" and others, the Stompers confidently leaped from one plateau to another. -- Jim Sullivan, Boston Globe, July 3, 1981
[T]he crowd, as it always does, ate up the Stompers and their brand of classic American rock that has its roots in a '57 Chevy and a night on a
I can say it is where I played my last "pro gig" in 1984! (July?). -- Rob Amaral of East Coast Muscle, Niki Aukema's band Lip, and the Lifters, e-mail message, August 20, 2002
Like the Paradise, another important rock and
roll outlet, the Channel, has neither the requisite history nor appearance of a good listening room. Situated just across Fort Point Channel (hence its name) in an industrial section of The difficulties inherent in installing sound reinforcement in such a space stem from the sheer number of people the club holds--an audience is a superb acoustical energy sink--and the low ceiling in the room (only nine foot). The major consideration has been to ensure that the sound output carries all the way to the back of the room. According to sound engineer Peter Vernaglia, the key was to "get stuff off the ground, so people's bodies don't suck up sound." The Channel doesn't own its own PA, but has for the past few years leased a system from Vernaglia's firm, Sound Company, of Woburn. Vernaglia cautions, "The system was not designed specifically for the room, it was designed for a combination of long-throw and short-throw capabilities." He further implies that it may be due for an upgrade soon. -- Michael Bloom, Boston Phoenix, March 22, 1983
At the top of the first page of this article is a photograph of
The difficulties inherent in installing sound reinforcement in such a space stem from the sheer number of people the club holds--an audience is a superb acoustical energy sink--and the low ceiling in the room (only nine foot). The major consideration has been to ensure that the sound output carries all the way to the back of the room. According to sound engineer Peter Vernaglia, the key was to "get stuff off the ground, so people's bodies don't suck up sound." The Channel doesn't own its own PA, but has for the past few years leased a system from Vernaglia's firm, Sound Company, of Woburn. Vernaglia cautions, "The system was not designed specifically for the room, it was designed for a combination of long-throw and short-throw capabilities." He further implies that it may be due for an upgrade soon. -- Michael Bloom, Boston Phoenix, March 22, 1983
Anything from heavy metal to Latino and gospel. If it has an audience, we'll do it.
[Booker] Warren Scott, Boston Globe, January 2, 1985
The stage was right near the back door of the club and one night someone took my bass right off the stage after the show had finished and walked out the back door with it. It cost our crew guy his job. I guess it's not all roses, huh? -- Stephen Gilligan of the Stompers, e-mail message, August 21, 2002
The Channel books local to international acts, mainstream to hardcore, and is the most serious rock club in town when it comes to reggae and
one year we made a christmas recording--joy to the world to a bo diddley beat--instrumental version--5 horns--really cool--anyway, we took it down to the channel one night and they played it and i'll never forget how cool it was to see everybody bopping around to joy to the world. we subsequently won some kind of radio station listener favorite call-in contest with that recording--we figured we would, mostly because of the positive response we got from the channel crowd. -- Michelle Willson of Animal Train and Evil Gal and the 1993 Winner of the Battle of the Blues Bands at Harpers Ferry, e-mail message, August 15, 2002
Necco Place isn't about to be mistaken for a yuppie fern bar. Except for the blue tablecloths and lounge lights, the separate, smaller and more sophisticated music room which opened Thursday next door to the Channel has a plain decor not very different from its big brother. It's quite unpretentious for a club with big windows overlooking the water and a diverse range of acts.
The new 250-capacity club is basically the Channel's old VIP room cordoned off from the main club, given a separate entrance and a musical slant all its own. -- Paul Robicheau, Boston Globe, February 25, 1989
If there's any model for the room musically, we're trying to do something like what Jonathan Swifts did. -- Robert Sacks, Booking Agent, Boston Globe, February 25, 1989
In a move sending shock waves around the Boston music scene, the 1,500-capacity Channel club has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. The nightclub will continue operations, but admits to being hard-hit by the spiraling costs of booking talent, buying advertising, paying rising liquor liability costs and competing against the powerful Tea Party concert agency run by crosstown rival Don Law.
"It was just a necessary move. It's been harder and harder to do business," Channel co-owner Harry Booras said yesterday of the bankruptcy filing, which was made last week.
"There's no one cause behind this. We did it for a variety of reasons. Our rent has also gone up a lot, and the general economy is not what it used to be. People are more careful about what they spend, and we're coming off a horrible December when the cold weather kept people away. Another problem is the local music scene is not as strong as it once was." -- Steve Morse, Boston Globe, February 1, 1990
The Channel's adjacent sister club, Necco Place, will likewise continue, with more emphasis on the acoustic and folk scene, he said. The Channel also hopes to bring in more outside promoters such as Al Goldman, who used to book Jonathan Swift's in Cambridge, and Garen Daly, who formerly booked bands at the Somerville Theater.
"We're hoping for the best, but it's hard because not as many bands do club tours any more," Booras added. "It used to be that acts always had to do club tours to promote their new record, but now they get help from MTV, VH-1, college radio and commercial radio. It also seems like more people are buying records, tapes and CDs, but less and less concert tickets." -- Steve Morse, Boston Globe, February 1, 1990
THE CHANNEL WAS AUCTIONED TWICE, but neither time did this result in a sale. The club's curiously amusing story, as it unfolded, brought in reports of faceless, shadowy characters, financial irregularities, and rumors of ties to organized crime. The Channel was finally sold and reopened as a live music venue. So far a search of our archive has turned up nothing further until the decision was made to switch the entertainment from bands to semi-nude dancers. Semi-nude dancers?
While the ensuing chain of events is not without its points of interest, the Channel's story became more the stuff of which legal-oriented Web sites are made--and the New England Music Scrapbook isn't one of those. So we prefer to think back to the many great times had by club patrons. We like to think back to dancers, prancers, and second-glancers. And to many wonderful benefit shows. From the (count 'em) seven women of GNO sweating their pores out, while nailing "Love Under Pressure," to the Channel faithful packed in tight to hear James Brown. It was a wonderful era in the region's music history, and the Channel played its part in a very big way.
-- Alan Lewis, August 25, 2002
I really like the picture of the Channel that appears at the top of this page. We'd love to hear about it, though, if you have one that you think may be better. So far, a decent illustration of the club's interior hasn't turned up in our archive.
-- Alan Lewis, August 18, 2002
|New England Music Scrapbook News|
|NEMS Home Page||Webmaster|