(miniature James Arthur’s Manhunt, Buccaneer Lounge, September 2013)

Sunday morning’s fire at Memphis, TN previously-shuttered Buccaneer Lounge — an establishment I only staggered thru a handful of times — resulted in no small outpouring of social media nostalgia. Photos of late nights at the Bucc w/ all measures of killer global talent (at past Goner Fests and otherwise) have popped up throughout the last two days, and they’re all a vivid reminder that some of the most exciting musical moments of our lives take place in cramped conditions, very often without a proper P.A., “stage” lighting (or a stage for that matter) and few of the creature comforts more casual audiences might associate with anything they’d wanna experience. And that’s their loss.

And eventually, ours, too. Because as similar venues bite the dust (fewer via arson, I reckon but maybe for another spectacular stroke of bad luck) we lose something far greater than just another floor / toilet / bar that (hopefully) over-pours. The stuff that ultimately blows minds, changes lives and lays waste to the form book rarely gets started in a C3 or Bowery Presents or Goldenvoice setting (not in recent years for G.V anyway). And the purpose of this post isn’t to trash those companies or the lovely people who toil for them — I’m just saying there’s a lot of amazing stuff doesn’t gonna get off the ground without some version of the Buccaneer because it’s always gonna be the places of that nature that give the newer or more idiosyncratic players a first, second or third chance.

That’s not to say a bar with an air freshener or a well-lit exit sign is the enemy of art or anything of the sort. But much the way Austin’s Trailer Space was mourned (IE. DON’T CALL IT AN INCUBATOR BECAUSE INCUBATORS ARE FOR INFANTS AND YOU REALLY WOULDN’T WANT INFANTS IN ANY OF THESE PLACES), all the real estate angels and nuevo Star Searchers cannot replace one good party. If you’ve got anything like-minded happening in your town, don’t wait until they’re giving away the fixtures to soak up what’s on offer.