Reunions of all kinds are littered with expectations and memories. Punks and misfits of all kinds are littered with tattoos, leather and unintelligible band logos. These concepts come together in a series of filled-to-capacity punk reunion parties in Bethel — the New New Music Night.
New Music Night was a bi-monthly New Wave and Punk DJ party that happened at City Limits (now Elans) in Danbury between 1986 And 1992. The people who hung out there; musicians — artists and freaks of all kinds — formed a close-knit group of friends and enemies, collaborators and co-conspirators. Many of them formed relationships that have spanned two decades and thousands of miles.
Wendy Cahill, owner of Bethel's Molten Java, was a part of that scene. "I just remember standing up in the DJ booth and thinking, 'Wow, look at all the freaks, just like me."
Before the Ramones were icons and people gave their babies fauxhawks, New Music Night attendee Neal Buker recalled that, "wearing all black, having piercings, pink hair or a shaved head was considered really out there, and people gave you shit for it."
But a lot changes in 20 years. For some of these scenesters, Dockers replaced Doc Martens and motorcycle jackets were shed to reveal polo pullovers. For others, the years led to just-slightly-newer pairs of combat boots. At the most recent reunion on January 6, former enemies hugged hello and everyone, in every corner of the small Fairfield County bar, smiled through the heady buzz provided by the drinks, old friends and cavernous thump of "How Soon is Now?"
Wendy Mitchell met her husband at the club. The Bethel residents will celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary this year.
It was her idea to create the reunion. She got in touch with one of the club's former DJ's, Jeff McKay, now a physical therapist, and they formed a plan to create a party; a fundraiser for the proposed Bethel Youth Art Center. They booked the event at Bethel's Greenwoods Restaurant and hoped for the best. At the very least, they'd get to see a few old, familiar faces and reminisce to a soundtrack of the Psychedelic Furs, Erasure, the Cure, Siouxie & the Banshees and Fishbone.
It was packed.
People drove for hours to be there, one chick came up from North Carolina. This club had meant something to these former freaky kids — and it still did to most of them.
Though his records are long gone; McKay blasted "Swamp Thing" by the Chameleons UK, New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "Bring Me Edelweiss" by Edelweiss like it was 1989. "The music still has the magic to bring us back to that time," he said.
A certain faction crawled up into their attics to retrieve the grungy jean shorts, flannel button-downs and Bauhaus T-shirts that had been de riguer for NMN, others had no need since those pieces are still in regular rotation. Still others turned up in the overcoats and sensible slacks that their wardrobes have evolved into over the years.
It didn't really matter what you wore, once inside conversations picked up just where they'd left off 20 years ago. The bar was so crowded you couldn't walk and so loud you couldn't hear what was being said next to you.
Go to greenwoodsgrill.com for info.
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