The saddest of all last calls
by Sean-Paul Boynton
“Different enough to entertain.” Those words, displayed on the front wall, personified what made The Warehouse and Underground – a multi-level, multi-genre music club, the former catering to larger bands and electro raves, the latter to local punks and metal heads – so special in the Calgary music scene.
The good times are over, however, thanks to the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, who ruled that The Warehouse’s Class C liquor license – a license only deemed worthy for private clubs that enforce a membership policy – was being used unlawfully by the establishment. Rather than face a loss of revenue that would most likely occur during a battle against the decision, the owners had no choice but to shut down after 25 years.
Reactions have been swift and varied, yet the majority have shown both shock and dismay over the closing of a Calgary nightlife mainstay. Upon tracking down some of these stranded partiers, The Reflector found many of them to be students here at Mount Royal, and we recorded their reactions.
“I know The Warehouse was open way later than all the other clubs in town, which was great for people who wanted to party after the other places closed up. I don’t know, man; I think the nightlife in Calgary sucks, so to lose another club just makes it that much worse.”
“I think it’s a dumb idea to close it down. I’ve been there a couple times and I’ve always had fun. I just don’t agree with the idea that it should be shut down at all, because it’s always been a pretty good part of the nightlife here.”
“I was there three years ago and there was a girl who was totally coked out outside and these guys were trying to pick her up. My friends and I came up and told them to back off, because I’m pretty sure they would have raped her or something. I haven’t been back since, because I think that just shows how much of a drug culture was going on over there, so maybe it should have been shut down eventually. Maybe not for this, but it would have been shut down for other things soon.”
“I think it’s a shame. I play bass and I’ve been in bands and I’ve played [The Underground] a few times. That’s where we got started. That’s where a lot of bands got started. To have one less place like that is such a huge blow to the community.”
“My brother plays in a band, and The Underground was huge for him. For me, The Warehouse was a great place to go and I’ll miss it. My friend is like the biggest clubber and her Facebook status has been, ‘R.I.P. Warehouse’ for weeks now!
“To me, there was two sides to The Warehouse: the good side and the bad, druggy side, so I won’t miss that. But for aspiring artists, those places were breeding grounds and it’s like they’re (the AGLC) taking the creativity away from the city. It’s pretty sad, like a slap in the face.”