Adios to the Arbor

Two former music editors weigh in on the future of Trees

Here are a few of the things I (barely) remember: seeing Guided by Voices in 1999 and having a recent ex-girlfriend rightly (but for the wrong reason) call me a "fucking dick" before storming out two songs into the set. Putting Vanilla Ice into a headlock during the aftermath of an Elliott Smith show and parading him around the front of the club, introducing him to everyone as "my boy Robbie." Celebrating the birth of my son--and my first night away from 3 a.m. feedings--by plowing through a pocketful of drink tickets at a Killers concert. Davey von Bohlen of the Promise Ring, during a rather desultory show, summing up the mood of the crowd, which included a pint-size greaseball named Ryan Adams, by saying, "Promise Ring? More like Promise Bo-ring." Matt Hillyer's stage banter during my first show at Trees (a Reverend Horton Heat/Hagfish/Strap bill), which consisted almost entirely of the following question: "Who's ready to fuck shit up?"

But my lasting memory of the club came on September 17, 2001. It might have been the 16th or 18th, but that's not the point; it was still uncomfortably close to September 11. Everyone had been glued to the TV for a week. Nights were spent in bewildered sadness. No one knew what to do, how to feel, when it was OK to smile, laugh, sing, whatever.

At a time when I needed them most, just to feel normal again, almost every touring band had cancelled. But the White Stripes played and a tiny crowd (imagine that now) showed up at Trees to see them. It was the perfect antidote to all that had happened, and it wasn't just the band or the people that were there. It was also the club. It had to be the White Stripes, and it had to be Trees.

We were all family again that night. --Zac Crain

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