You know, maybe this is a two part post. I don’t know. Because on Saturday, a lot of things are going to happen. A lot of new memories are going to be made. It’s going to be a big time. But I wanted to share some of the photos that I have dug up before Saturday arrives.
Greg moved recently. Like, far. And we’re all in our thirties. BottleTree is closing, and everything feels like it’s getting away from us. Youth, anyway. The thing is this: BottleTree was open for nine years. In the grand scheme of things, it was a business that had a good run and it closed. In the story of Birmingham written in 3015, BottleTree may not get a paragraph. It was a cool thing and we had a bunch of fun there.
But to that group of us in our thirties, it was an institution. It was a fabric of our lives. It wove many of us together that otherwise would have never known one another. It allowed us to be weird, and it allowed us to see weird.
There are other venues. And importantly, there are other small venues with the ability to host most all of the shows that BottleTree hosted. Local bands are still going to have a home at The Nick. Big, national touring acts that came to town are going to be at Saturn. Spring Street Firehouse and Syndicate Lounge and Black Market Bar and Zydeco. They’re still here for you, gang. Don’t make this about the avenue or the outlet for shows. The shows will go on.
This is about the community. It’s about the friends that we made and the memories we created with them and the times that we saw people in funny costumes and the times that Monotonix took the entire crowd of people into the streets of Avondale.
But mostly, this is about a group of people, like me, that are in their 30s that spent an important decade of their lives in that club once a week. We’re getting older, and maybe being slapped in the face with this chapter of our lives coming to a formal close is tough to take. But you know what? It was a blast. And nothing will ever take those times away from us. And now the next thing will come – Saturn. And maybe Saturn is the venue that 30-something bros hang at. Maybe that’s why there’s a coffee bar. Maybe this is growing up.
I know that I shouldn’t be emotional about it. It’s a little silly, frankly. But it meant a lot to us. And when I’m old and gray, I’m not going to remember that I saw The xx or alt-J or Patton Oswalt or TV on the Radio or Beach House or Ingrid Michaelson or Jason Isbell or any other act on that stage before they got too big to play it. I’m going to remember the time Merrilee let me host my 30th birthday party there with a bunch of bands my friends are in. I’m going to remember the time I bought a $5 hoodie at a TJ Maxx and wore it as a Halloween costume insisting that I was The Unabomber. I’m going to remember the time that Hunter was way too loud and I could see how visibly pissed off that Reg was and it made me laugh. I’m going to remember the time I came in from a gala in a tuxedo and watched Sigur Ros do a DJ set, and not because of the Sigur Ros part. I’m going to remember the things that made BottleTree unique and the friends that helped make those memories, and while the structure no longer belongs to the same people, the folks that bought it can’t take that away from me. Or you. And while we’re all terrified to admit that we’re getting older and this is an even more terrifying reminder of it, the new folks can’t take us away from each other either.
To the memories we made at BottleTree, and to the new ones we’ll create down the street.