The Pyramid Club / A hardcore-fanatic’s guide – Part V.

Originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 5. (Click the picture for bigger size.)

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In the late 80s New York was still dangerous and not yet gentrified. East of Avenue A was still a wasteland. The Pyramid Club was (and still is) a nightclub in the East Village, located at 101 Avenue A in Manhattan. The institution named for a pyramid motif in the building’s original tiling, opened in 1979. What made this club unique was that the inclusivity across all cultural lines, mixing disco and hardcore/punk, pop culture and high art, straight and gay. The Pyramid Club shows were organized by many members of the NYC hardcore scene. It was the first time in NYC during this era that the bands actually made up the bills. The shows ran on a semi regular basis from 1987-1989.

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Alex Brown, Sammy Siegler, Chris Burr, and Dylan Schreifels in front of the Pyramid Club

You can check out a video about what the place was like between 1983 and 1988 on youtube: “Drag Queens, Skinheads, Artists and Some Girls: the Pyramid Club of the 1980s.” In this video Raybeez and Jimmy Gestapo attempted to describe what made the Pyramid special (5:51)!

– Pyramid matinees were some of the best hardcore shows, Absolution, Warzone, Side By Side, Youth of Today, Underdog, Collapse, Sick Of It All, Token Entry, Hogan’s Heroes, Judge, Gorilla Biscuits, Krakdown, Life’s Blood, Killing Time, American Standard, Project X, Under Pressure, Uppercut, Our Gang had a couple of very memorable gigs there.
– Security included Jimmy Gestapo, Raybeez and Richie Birkenhead, while doorman Bernard Crawford kept out the yuppies and junkies.

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Raybeez and Jimmy Gestapo

– The Pyramid Club is the place where Ray Cappo and Raybeez were booking shows together, most of these shows were Saturday matinees. The first matinee gig was a benefit show for Some Records. “Starting April 11th at the Pyramid Club, 101 Avenue A we’re gonna have hardcore matinees between 2:00 and 5:30 every other Saturday, starting April 11 so you gotta check it out! The first show is with Sick Of It All and Token Entry and you know, we’re headlining, word up! Check out the Village Voice!” – Warzone interview on WNYU’s Crucial Chaos radio show.

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– The Pyramid Club is the place where Sean Penn and Madonna got into a heated public argument in 1986. A fight erupted into violence as an obviously inebriated Penn shoved his wife up against a wall, then carried their shouting match out into the street.
– The Pyramid Club is the place where Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers played their first New York City concerts.
– The Pyramid Club is the place where Into Another performed their first show.

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– The Pyramid Club is the place where Warzone cameout with a fog machine, and they used so much dry ice that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face in the pit. Warzone was playing and the smoke machine went off while Ray Cappo was on stage about to do a stage dive, it burned his leg.
– The Pyramid Club is the place where Warzone played a show with a go-go dancer on stage, which was very likely an influence from the “Licensed To Ill” era Beastie Boys.
– The Pyramid Club is the place where Djinji Brown (Absolution) broke Jules Masse’s (Side By Side, Alone In A Crowd) nose during a show.
– The Pyramid Club is the place where the really underrated Altercation played a gig with Death Before Dishonor on May 23, 1987. Shortly after that Jay and Paul left Altercation to join Warzone so the band broke up.

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