Squat Theatre Nightclub - Concert Chronology 1979-1981
Year/ Event/ Date/ Notes

Compiled and annotated by Rafael Sa'adah (who was called Aaron at that time, and out of sheer enthusiasm worked as a DJ at the Squat club); he compiled the chronology based on his notes and library research (last updated 12/21/04)
with questions, comments, related memories send an e-mail to >>send [x]


1980 1981

New Year's Eve with the Lounge Lizards 31-Dec-79 Our first New Year's show. We distributed free champagne on the dance floor.

Defunkt; Ted Daniel and Energy 4-5 Jan-80 Ted was another jazz musician who often played with Joe and Luther on the front line of Defunkt. Energy was his attempt to start a similar group. It featured legendary funk/rock guitarist Billy "Spaceman" Patterson.

Defunkt 11-Jan-80

Sun Ra Arkestra 12-Jan-80

[Defunkt recording session: Big Apple Studios, Soho 12-14 Jan-80 This was the recording session for the first Defunkt album: Defunkt released on Hannibal Records in 1980. Day one and two were used to record the base tracks, while day three was used primarily for vocals and overdubs. The session was produced by Joe Bowie, Byron Bowie, and Squat manager Janos Gat, and featured the new material that Joe and Janos had written together.]

Peter Gordon Love of Life Orchestra; Rhys Chatham; Jill Kroesen 18-Jan-80

Lounge Lizards 19-Jan-80

August Darnell's Kid Creole & the Coconuts, featuring Christina Revue; Luther Thomas & Dazz 25-Jan-80 The first show ever by Kid Creole & the Coconuts (featuring Sugar-Coated Andy Hernandez, a.k.a. Coati Mundi). Luther was actually listed as the headliner this weekend. In New York Times' end of the year issue Robert Palmer called it the best show of the year along with Frank Sinatra's concert in Central Park.

August Darnell's Kid Creole & the Coconuts, featuring Christina Revue;
and Luther Thomas & Dazz 26-Jan-80 > see Michael Shore article about Luther Thomas Dazz [ x ]
Robert Palmer called this concert evening one of the best of the year in his end-of-the year summary in the New York Times

August Darnell's Kid Creole & the Coconuts; and Luther Thomas & Dazz 1-Feb-80

Sun Ra Arkestra 2-Feb-80 While we often struggled to attract a public, Squat was a great favorite with the music critics. This was important because a "Voice Choice" pick or other mention in the press could make the difference between breaking even or taking a loss for the night. Robert Palmer, Peter Ochiogrosso, and Jon Pareles from the NY Times wrote positive things about the club. Robert Christgau from the Voice was supportive of our jazz/blues fusion events. Perhaps our biggest supporter was Michael Shore from the Soho Weekly News. Michael was a huge Sun Ra fan and a great friend to the club. He would probably have given us a plug every week if his editors would have let him get away with it.

from Michael Shore via e-mail:

I thought we DID write you guys up every time Sun Ra played at Squat! :) To me, of course, there was no musical experience in the known universe to compare with Ra's, and as I did write time after time after time in my Soho Weekly News "Music Picks," there was no better place to experience him than Squat: a house band as big as the cosmos itself, in a house so cozy and unpretentious it felt like home? Or at least, like the house down the street where those cool new Balkan-rollin' neighbors always had a happenin' party with the MOST exquisite music...

So many fond, fun memories of those magical, wonderfully endless Nights Of Ra at Squat - the time there was a massive blizzard yet the house was at least half-filled for Ra, and half the band arrived an hour late for the first show and played as hypnotically as ever, while the rest of the band gradually straggled in through the snow...and not only did nobody in the audience leave, but I believe more people filtered in to experience the Intergalactic Cosmo Jet-Set traveling circus medicine show...Or the time it was SO packed one of Ra's dancers tripped over a slightly inebriated fan sitting on the floor in front of the stage, and Ra got furious and lectured the crowd about how he oughta pick up and leave right then and there - Giorgio Gomelsky yelled from the back "but Sun Ra, he loves you! we all love you!" Giorgio and others of us in the audience engaged Ra in an intense prolonged bout of debate and pleading - talk about "cosmo drama," it was pure white-knuckle theater (how appropriate!) and Ra did finally calm down and stay to finish the show...or the time late late late one night Ra was parading through the crowd as he always did, chanting "you gotta LEAVE this planet!" and he got to the bleachers in the back where I always sat and a guy was passed out on the 2nd bleacher level and Ra leaned right in his face and screamed "YOU GOTTA LEAVE THIS PLANET!" and the guy woke up and ran outta there time the stage was switched from the back wall to the front, with the window onto 23rd Street behind the band - so if you looked hard, you could see passersby peering in - a very "Squat Theater" thing to do!...

...and of course hanging out with the men of the Arkestra between shows at the bar- or getting a drink during the show, usually from the indefatigable Klara, or sometimes even future-star Esther Balint, and exchanging knowing wide-eyed glances with them at the sheer wonder of Ra's unfolding Saturnian spectacles. Speaking of that bar...Ronnie Burrage, I still feel badly about that time I tripped down the bleachers and spilled my drink and yours on you...and that's the ONLY bad Squat memory I have! I know I've gone on and on here, but Squat - thank you for enriching my life more than I can say!

Sun Ra Arkestra 5-Feb-80 We billed this as: "Pre-European Tour Bon Voyage Party Time."

James White and the Flaming Demonics 8-9 Feb-80 Interestingly, although James sometimes billed this band as "James White and the Blacks" at other clubs, he never used that name at Squat.

The Dance; Ted Daniel's Energy 15-Feb-80

The Nuggets 16-Feb-80 This was Lenny Kaye's band, with Richard Sohl, Jay Dee Daugherty & Patrick O'Connor

John Cale 21-Feb-80

Lounge Lizards 22-Feb-80

DNA; Luther Thomas Dazz 23-Feb-80

Left Hand Frank & the Rock All Stars 29-Feb-80 An attempt to try Left Hand Frank with a downtown rock rhythm section: Lenny Kaye, Walter Lure, Billy Rath & Lee Krystal

Left Hand Frank & the Rock All Stars 1-Mar-80

Lounge Lizards 7-8 Mar-80

DNA 14-Mar-80

Defunkt 15-Mar-80

Alan Vega Suicide; Manhattan Project 21-Mar-80 Alan was performing as a solo artist around this time and I can't remember if this was actually the full Suicide with Marty Rev, or just Alan with backing tracks.

Wazmo Nariz 22-Mar-80 Our ad says: "Wazmo Nariz." This would appear to be a pseudonym for somebody, but I'll be damned if I can remember who was actually playing that night. As they say: if you can remember it all then you probably weren't really there.
correction via website e-mail by LS: Wazmo Nariz was a real person, who put out records and everything (google his name), not a fill-in pseudonym in the log. (I never saw him at Squat or anywhere else, but I remembered the name.)

Defunkt; Nona Hendryx 28-29 Mar-80

James White & the Flaming Demonics 3-4 Apr-80 James' promo ads from this time feature: "Discolitas, Brassy Sass, Wigglettes, V.I.P. guests and the Flaming Demonics."

Philip Wilson & Magic; Martin Fischer (solo) 5-Apr-80 This was yet another funk band led by a legendary jazz musician: the late, lamented Philip Wilson.

Ted Daniel & Brute Force; Walter Steding & the Dragon People; Ramses 11-Apr-80

Defunkt 12-Apr-80

DNA; John Duart & Michael Riesman 18-Apr-80

Defunkt 19-Apr-80

Sun Ra Arkestra 25-Apr-80

Lounge Lizards 26-Apr-80

Daevid Allen 27-Apr-80 A solo show by a former member of Gong, playing with borrowed equipment. This set has also been bootlegged.

Contortions 2-3 May-80 Not sure why we reverted to the old band name for this show. At any rate, this was James' last NY performance before taking the Flaming Demonics overseas for a European tour.

Nervus Rex 9-May-80

Sun Ra Arkestra 10-May-80

Left Hand Frank with the Jazz All Stars featuring Joe Bowie and Jaki Byard 16-May-80 A weekend with Left Hand Frank, featuring the jazz lineup on Friday and the rock lineup on Saturday. Jaki Byard was a veteran jazz pianist who was also struggling to keep big band music alive in NY with his group the Apollo Stompers.

Left Hand Frank and the Nuggets, featuring Lenny Kaye 17-May-80 Unrelated historical side note: 5/20/80: Johny Lydon, Jah Wobble and Keith Levene appear as Public Image Ltd. at the Palladium on 14th st. with James Blood Ulmer as opening act.

Sun Ra Arkestra 22-Apr-80 Unrelated historical side note: this is the day that Joy Division had been scheduled to make their US debut (at Hurrah on W. 62nd St.). They had to cancel their trip because of Ian Curtis' suicide.

John Cale presents in concert The Lives of Gordon Liddy & Song Cycle 23-24 May-80

Fred Frith, Henry Kaiser, Toshinoki Kondo, Bill Laswell, Fred Maher: "Mad World Music" 28-May-80 Although not billed as such, this is basically Material with special guests. Material consisted of Bill Laswell on 6-string Fender bass, Michael Beinhorn on keyboards, and Fred Maher on drums. They had previously been the house band at our sister space, Giorgio Gomelski's Zu Club, and most of us still thought of them as "the Zu Band." Laswell would soon blow up when he produced Herbie Hancock's "Rockit"

Charles Bobo Shaw & Stereo Review 29-May-80 Like Joe Bowie and Luther Thomas, drummer Bobo Shaw was from St. Louis and a former member of the Black Artist's Group (BAG). Bobo was around a lot and was a big part of our lives. With financial support from Jim Jarmush we managed to bail him out once from Rikers Island when he got in trouble, and he played in one of our films that became part of the play Dreamland Burns, singing a duett of a Marvin Gaye song with Eszter Balint, who played the lead of the play.

Defunkt with featured guest Nona Hendryx 30-31 May-80

DNA with Arto Lindsay, Ikue Mori, Tim Wright; Gray with Jean Michel Basquiat, Vincent Gallo, Bob Holman, Nick Taylor 6-Jun-80

Lenny Kaye and the Lone Wolves 7-Jun-80 This lineup of Lenny's band featured Richard Sohl, Patrick O'Connor, and David Donen

Lounge Lizards 13-14 Jun-80

Nico (and "movies with Nico") 27-28 Jun-80

Hammiett Bluiett 30-Jun-80 This show is amusingly billed as "Hammiett Bluiett presents Hammiett Bluiett."

Sun Ra Arkestra 4-5 Jul-80 Our ad tag line this week read: "The very best of Newport."

Jossi Gutman plays J.S. Bach 11-Jul-80 Our early show, classical violin from Jossi Gutmann. Jossi would compose music for Squat's next theater piece: "Mr. Dead & Mrs. Free." transcibing James Brown's Sex Machine for viola and voice.

DNA 11-Jul-80

Nico 12-Jul-80

Soviet Film/Disco w) Johny Dynell 13-Jul-80 Our ad tagline this week read: "Squat: the most controversial place in N.Y." That may have been overstating it, but there certainly wasn't anyone else putting on bills like this. This evening marked the 1-year anniversary of the Squat as a nightclub. This was our 177th event.

film: Leni Riefenstahl: Olympia, part I: dance, lifeshow, , exhibition 18-Jul-80 This event presages the next (non-theater) phase of Squat's performance space, which would primarily involve shows of rare repertory cinema.

film: Leni Riefenstahl: Olympia, part II: dance, a 3-rounds boxing match between Klara Palotai and her husband Peter Berg, exhibition 19-Jul-80

film: Leni Riefenstahl: Olympia, parts I & II 20-Jul-80

Sun Ra Arkestra 25- 26 Jul-80

"Jam 1980" featuring John Lurie, Bobo Shaw, Nana Vasconcelos, Arto Lindsay & Movie 30-Jul-80

Abdullah 1-Aug-80 early show

Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society; Noise 'R' Us 1-Aug-80 The Decoding Society contained many of our friends, but they usually performed up the road at Verna Gillis' loft Soundscape. This was the first time they actually played at Squat. Noise 'R' Us was an amazing band that I spent a lot of time with. They sounded like a cross between Blood Sweat & Tears and "Red" era King Crimson. They were led by guitarist Jim Matus. The front man was my good friend Mik Ortiz. Dave Hofstra and Lloyd Foneroff made up the rhythm section. They had the absolute monster horn section in town: George Bishop, Philip Johnston, Pablo Gebhardt, and David Sewelson. Due to threatened litigation by Toys 'R' Us, they later had to change their name to Paranoise.

Abdullah 2-Aug-80 early show

The Dynels 2-Aug-80

Sun Ra Arkestra 8-9 Aug-80

AXIS party with Konkrete, featuring Chosei Funahara (also two films) 12-Aug-80 Unrelated historical side note: George Scott from the Raybeats died of an overdose on August 5. A memorial concert was held on Friday, August 15 at Hurrah.

Nona Hendryx & Zero Cool 15-Aug-80 Nona is such an underrated figure in rock. She always had impeccable taste in musicians. Her band at this time included our friend from the Soho Music Gallery (and sometime Voidoid) Naux Martian, who was a killer guitarist. Although I don't believe they made this gig, she also used Bernie Worrell & Steve Scales (from P-Funk & Talking Heads).

Superheroes (formerly the Heartbreakers) 16-Aug-80

Sun Ra Arkestra 22-23 Aug-80

Ex Dragon Debs with Judy Nylon, Mary Lemley, Lisa Rosen, Sophie, VDT, Wesley Strick, Esther Balint 28-Aug-80

Nico + Roland Young 29-Aug-80

Sun Ra Arkestra 30-Aug-80

Sun Ra Arkestra, plus special previews of Sun Ra movies 5-6 Sep-80

Frank Lowe Quintet with Lester Bowie 10-Sep-80 Sadly, both of these amazing musicians are no longer with us.

Nico with Cheetah Chrome 12-Sep-80 Nico traveled light, and normally performed with just her harmonium. We began experimenting with different formats in which to present her music. This one was Giorgio Gomelski's idea (only Giorgio could come up with stuff like this): team Nico with Dead Boy's guitarist Cheetah Chrome. The results were amusingly disastrous. Cheetah was crashing out power chords that drowned out Nico's vocals. Nico spent the whole set yelling at Cheetah to turn his guitar down, and then as soon as she would turn back to her harmonium, he would turn his amp back up to 11. Hey, at least we tried. This concert was bootlegged.

Defunkt 13-Sep-80 "First New York appearance after European tour."

Daevid Allen with Divided Alien Clockwork Band 14-Sep-80 Return visit from the former Gong member, this time with a band. I believe that the band was members of Material, billed as "N.Y. Gong."

Butch Morris' Gangster Choir; Noise 'R' Us 18-Sep-80 Butch was a great composer and a regular at Stanley Crouch's Tin Palace. This was his first headlining show for us.

Sun Ra Arkestra 19-20 Sep-80 "Last N.Y. performance before interplanetary tour."

Joe Bidewell, Richard Lloyd, and Nico 25-Sep-80

Cheetah Chrome and the Casualties + Nico 26-Sep-80

Heroes (formerly the Heartbreakers) + Nico 27-Sep-80 This was the last show for about six weeks. Our October ad in the Voice read: "Squat closed for new opening."

Sun Ra Arkestra 8-9 Nov-80 Squat reopens. "Sun Ra Arkestra: A rare appearance on planet Earth."

James Chance and the Contortions 14-15 Nov-80

Nico 21-Nov-80

Defunkt 22-Nov-80 "With special demonic guest star." I think you can guess who that was.

Sun Ra Arkestra 5-6 Dec-80

Defunkt with special guest James Chance 12-12 Dec-80

Squat Theatre Benefit Night (at the Mudd Club, 77 White St.) 18-Dec-80 The NY nightclub scene was not totally cutthroat. We did have friends at other clubs (such as TR3, Plugg, Irving Plaza, Danceteria and others) who respected our vision and took pity on our monastic poverty. Here, the Mudd Club attempted to throw a benefit for us. I have no idea what the ad text was supposed to mean, so I'll just quote it verbatim: "Mechanical Servants, formerly the Ferron Cubes of Hospital Corners, N.Y. Armed with brains and beauty, here to serve up zesty hits in discriminating palates. The evening will include other guests and a special performance of Tableaux Vivant (Living Pictures)."

New Year's Eve with the Bush Tetras & Defunkt 31-Dec-80 "At midnight: free champagne + EVA singing "Sex machine" accompanied by a virtouse viola player - probably Jossi Gutman. Second floor opens to the public." I don’t believe that the Bush Tetras actually made this gig, I think it was just Defunkt performing.

addition via website e-mail by LS: "on New Year's Eve '80-'81, the Bush Tetras did indeed not play, but opening for Defunkt was Noise R Us. It was a great night--we stayed until we were shooed out at whatever hour of the morning."


1980 1981


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