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Signage of venue (c.2008)
|Former names||Stages Music Hall (1979-82)|
Cabaret Metro (1982-92)
|Address||3730 N Clark St|
Chicago, IL 60613-3810
400 (Smart Bar)
Metro (formerly the Stages Music Hall and Cabaret Metro) is a concert hall in Chicago, Illinois that plays host to a variety of local, regional and national emerging bands and musicians. The Metro was first opened in 1982. The capacity is 1,100, divided between the main floor and the balcony. The building housing Metro also houses Smart Bar underneath the main venue.
In the late 1970s, Joe Shanahan, having experienced the art, music and dance culture in New York City, created a club to host creative acts in Chicago. Shanahan was directed to the Northside Auditorium Building. The building was originally built in 1927 as a Swedish Community Center. When Shanahan came across it, it was home to a jazz/folk club, Stages.
Shanahan opened "Smart Bar" in July 1982 as a dance club, mixing a variety of the new genres of the time. Smart Bar was on the fourth floor of the building, which now houses the offices of the Metro staff. DJs Frankie Knuckles and Joe Smooth performed regularly. Ministry and similar bands performed their new industrial music by playing tapes of newly recorded songs. In August 1982, Shanahan, through his production company Latest Creations, booked and promoted a concert for the then little-known band from Athens, Georgia, R.E.M.. The show was a success and Shanahan began booking the club's weekend slots, gradually taking over the main floor of Stages. He then moved Smart Bar from the fourth floor to the basement of the building. Metro, then called "Stages Music Hall", was re-opened as a live music venue in its current space.
Metro at first booked mainly local bands, including Naked Raygun and Big Black, and later brought in bands from out of town, including New York's Sonic Youth, Glenn Danzig's Samhain and the Ramones, Athens for R.E.M. and Pylon. Minneapolis for The Replacements, Hüsker Dü and Soul Asylum. Texas for the Butthole Surfers, and California for X and The Bangles. In Metro's first year of business, it hosted New Order, Depeche Mode, Killing Joke, Billy Idol and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.
During this time, Metro began a long-standing relationship with Chicago's Jam Productions.
In the 1990s the club booked grunge and alternative music. Urge Overkill, Liz Phair and Veruca Salt began their careers in Metro. Seattle bands included Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney, and Los Angeles bands included Jane's Addiction and Perry Farrell. Seattle-based Pearl Jam recorded a live album at Metro on March 28, 1992. Bands from Britain, such as Oasis (band) and the Manic Street Preachers, played their early US gigs at the Metro. Smashing Pumpkins played their first and last gig, before their reunification seven years later, at the Metro. The Metro also hosted one of the last Blind Melon shows with Shannon Hoon on September 27, 1995. Hoon died of a drug overdose less than a month later. Additionally, Jeff Buckley filmed his only concert DVD at the Metro before dying.
Other artists and bands that performed at the venue included Metallica, James Brown, Iggy Pop, George Clinton, Joe Strummer and Prince, The White Stripes, Alkaline Trio, The Killers, No Doubt, They Might Be Giants, Phish, Disturbed, Chevelle, Travis, Jimmy Eat World, Interpol, The Frames, Jack Johnson, Kanye West, Pearl Jam, Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, Moby, The Faint, Fatboy Slim, Arctic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Academy Is..., Chance the Rapper, Fall Out Boy, and Kill Hannah. Local bands can get booked at Metro through the same method used in the club's earliest days, sending a demo. Bob Dylan performed two shows at Metro to celebrate the club's 15th Anniversary. Chicago favourites Alkaline trio recently celebrated playing 30 sold out shows at the venue
On July 22, 2007, Metro celebrated its 25th Anniversary, with a free public concert at Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion with the Decemberists backed by the Grant Park Orchestra. On July 21, 2007, Metro held an employee reunion and public party to count down the hours to the official anniversary at midnight on July 22, 2007.
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