Archive for the ‘Danceland/Bonkers/Illusions’ Category

Old Danceland/Bonkers Flyers Unearthed

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Back in an old post about Danceland I mentioned several memories I had from various shows that were going on at Danceland in the summer and fall of 1988 (Cynics, Heretics, etc.). I also mentioned that I thought that 1988 was the year that Dave Roman and Harry started to do a lot of huge multi-band bills and “Battle of the Band” gigs. I final got my hands on some old fliers that document a few of these 1988-89 shows (Thanks so much to Lisa K and Mike M for sending me all their cool stuff!). I think I remember several of these shows, but there are a couple I do not remember or forgot about.

This Heretics / Deep Six show was great!

I can not remember December Campaign or Next President. I assume they were local bands? Anyone have any memories of them? Please leave a comment in this post if you do.

It seems that there were two versions of the Murr/Deep Six flyer above. One has December Campaign and the other does not. At first I thought  December Campaign cancel or got added to the bill but it appears this was a different show and someone got lazy and decided to just reuse an old flyer instead of making a new flyer.

I think the “New Music Night” flyer above marks the start of Dave Roman’s many DJ gigs at Danceland, Bonkers, and later “Illusions.” Dave was a good DJ and would play some really fun 80’s dance and New Wave music for all the punker/waver girls and guys to do their “mold the clay” dance moves to. I think Harry set these New Music Nights up after a dance place in Greensburg called Johnny B’s closed down, or ended their all ages Sunday night dance nights. The Sunday Johnny B’s dance nights were a lot of fun and it provided a place for many local like-minded kids, who had similar tastes in music, to hang out. Eventually, I think Harry moved the New Music Nights to Fridays where Dave R would DJ and play his techno/house music for many years throughout the 90s (I personally liked the New Wave stuff Dave played over his techno/house phase but it was still fun to go to Bonkers/Illusions on Friday nights and bug him to at least play “Genius of Love” or maybe even “Somebody” during the slow dance portion of his set).

I don’t think I remember the September 18th 1988 Danceland Barbed Wire Dolls gig at all. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, the Barbed Wire Dolls were an all female punk rock band from Pittsburgh and I remember seeing them several times around 1988-89. I think they were the opening band at the very excellent Warzone gig that was at the Electric Banana (Summer 1988?). I know that Warzone was booked at Danceland/Bonkers a little later that year because the flyer above mentions the show and I think I have¬† a couple different flyers documenting the show (plus DA was on the bill) but the show end up getting canceled for some reason that I can’t recall.

The flyer above mentions The Affordable Floors, but I don’t think they ever played Danceland/Bonkers. Does anyone remember if they did or not?

You will probably notice that many of these fliers document several shows by local bands The Murr and Deep Six. I have mentioned both these bands in the past but I am planning to do some more extensive post about each band very soon!

I also received several versions of different NOFX flyers from both their Danceland/Bonkers gigs that I wrote about in a past post. I guess these flyers were made by different people for the same shows.

Again, this flyer above looks like it was recycled from the 6 band show flyer at the beginning of this post. Why is it that I think this is a “Dave Roman” thing! :).

Danceland/Bonkers/Illusions Photos, The Cynics Show, and The Battle of the Bands

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009


The pit at a Danceland gig

Below are some Danceland/Bonkers/Illusions photos I thought I would post (and one great photo above). I want to give a huge thanks to Lisa Evancho and John P for sending me these photos. I think these particular photos showcase more of the physical space and the people that use to hang out there.

1988 was a great year for shows at Danceland with the summer months being especially good. But in addition to the 1988 summer Danceland shows I have already posted about on this blog, I think the Cynics also played sometime that summer. The Cynics have been a great Pittsburgh’s garage punk band for many years. They have put out a ton of music over the last twenty years or so and had several different line-ups. We got to play with them when they had a keyboard player and the bassist who played with his back to the crowd the entire set. Here is a video of the Cynics from 1986. I think this was the same line-up that played at Danceland in 1988.

I don’t have any photos or a flyer from this show but I think we (Direct Action) played with them and maybe one other band. I remember Rob jumping off the stage into a parting crowd and almost ripped the mic chord out of the PA (he didn’t let go of the mic when he jumped!). I think the sound guy was pretty mad at him and I believe Rob got hurt because he landed directly on the floor. Good times!

After all the summer shows at Danceland in 88 I remember several all local band shows at Danceland later in the Fall and Winter of 1988 and early 1989. Can anyone remember some of these local shows? The one I remember vividly was “The Battle of The Bands” show around Christmas of 1988. There were a lot of different types of bands that played. I seem to remember a heavy metal band playing along with bands like Deep Six, Decadence (or maybe it was the Murr), Direct Action, and several others I can’t remember. I think there was about seven to eight bands that “battled” it out that night. There were three judges and I can not for the life of me remember who they were or why they were worthy to be judges. The winning band would get free recording time at Gamut Studios in Latrobe. This was a pretty sweet prize considering that no one had enough money to record on anything but a 4 track at the time. Winning this prize would enable your band to record in a “real” 16 track recording studio. Many local bands went on to record at Gamut in the following years (I will probably talk more about Gamut in later posts).

For some reason, there was no stage for this particular show and I thought it was kind of cool playing at the same level as the crowd. I remember that there was a ton of people at this gig since a lot of bands were playing that night (they brought all their ‘fans’) and this was over Christmas break so everyone was on break from school and was looking for something fun to do.

Direct Action did a hardcore version of Silent Night since it was around Christmas. I think there is a recording of this somewhere but I know I don’t have it (Rob? Derek? Tom?).

Deep Six ended up winning the prize that night. I have been trying to get some recordings, and photos from the Deep Six guys to do a post but I have not received anything yet. But I plan to keep up the pressure. :) That Deep Six stuff needs to see the light of day!

So there are some random photos of Danceland/Bonkers/Illusions. I think most of these photos are from a show in early 1990.


Gino of Rugburn surfing the crowd



I think this is the only photo I have of Harry Latanzio (and it is of his back!). I think he is the one to the right under the “check” sign.


Crowd in front of the stage.


The Illusions ‘bar’ area (serving Pepsi to the kids). Willis of Rugburn to the left.


Jeremy and Chunk from Rugburn sitting at one of the booths at Illusions. This was when there were strange “fantasy” paintings hanging on the walls at each booth.


Here are some random Direct Action photos from Danceland in the summer of 1988. I don’t remember what shows these are from.