ghosts of louisville punk rock past


Present day: 117 East Main Street, downtown

This building has sat vacant, covered in graffiti since around 2000. It was the Mecury Paw in its last incarnation, run by Mia Frederick and Steve Thornton.  Jon Cook from Crain was the bartender and Sean Garrison from Kinghorse was the door man/bouncer. Bands who played this spot include: Elliott,  Speed to Roam, Spider Crutches, Red Sun, Trim, Wino, My Morning Jacket (their 1st show), The Pennies, Shipping News, Parlour, Ida, Beekeeper, At the Drive In, Blue Tip, Melt Banana, The Frogs, The Make Up, Dirty Three, Man or Astroman?, Dianogah, Silkworm, King Kong.

Before this building was the Mercury Paw, it was The Zodiac, and before that it was called City Lights.   Bands who played there include Crain, Rodan, Sunspring, Endpoint, Undermine, Oblong Box, Kinghorse, Big Wheel, D.O.A, Laughing Hyenas, Pantera, Shelter, Agnostic Front, The Lemonheads, Urge Overkill, Superchunk, The Didjits, Circus Lupus, Crawdad, and Sister Shannon. (from Louisvillehardcore.com)

 In the early 1900s this block of Main Street was known as “Whiskey Row” as it was home to distillers and wholesalers.The area has been in limbo for quite awhile- though there has been much talk of developers renovating the area into a place called The Iron Quarter, which will have retail spaces with restaurants and entertainment venues that will compliment the new downtown arena, which will (maybe?) be built by the fall of 2010.




3 Responses to “ghosts of louisville punk rock past”

  1. 1 Artie Dugan
    January 3, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Mercury Paw and Zodiac were both brief-lived endeavors; for most Louisvillians of a certain age, this will have forever been the home of City Lights nightclub.

    In a time when Jefferson Street just down the block was a collection of 24-hour shot glass bars and strip clubs, Connections was only an idea, and the entire downtown area was nowhere-near as clean as safe as today, City Lights was a very avant-garde joint.

    All that aside, the architectural significance of this downtown row is significant, and you can count me as a supporter of any development firm or project that intends to maintain its facade, much as been done along West Main.

  2. 2 aprettypickle
    January 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Who are some of the bands you remember seeing when the place was called City Lights?

  3. 3 Nmissi
    March 14, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Whoa. I’m feeling my age right now. This was “Zodiac” to me, and “City Lights” to my mother. Which pretty much pegs me as a child of the 70s-80s. I got into the Zodiac without presenting an ID, underage- but as I didn’t drink it was never a problem. But it was never as nice as Connections, and never as scary as Sparks or Secrets. Still, good memories.

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