A Night At The Catacombs
By Galen Rossop
You’re walking towards the Catacombs. You climb some steps up into 1120 Boylston Street and enter the doorway of the narrow building. You walk towards the stairs on the far side of the small room. You pass an open door with a buzzing office full of people in the daytime or a closed office door at night. You go down the winding stairwell and glance into a dark seedy smoke filled pool hall on the floor below the office people. You continue on as you go down another flight of stairs to the basement below or what some people call the sub-basement.
You enter the coffee house and view a gothic wood paneled cave. A beautiful college aged mid-eastern woman greets you. You hand her a dollar. There’s a band playing tonight.
Peggy Haddad and her BU crew are everywhere. They are helping and serving a full house of customers. This is a place to see and be seen. It’s another friendly fun filled night at the Catacombs. The aromatic aroma of exotic coffee, tea, and spice makes you hungry for more. Plates of international cheeses with crackers and flatbread pass by. Some raspberry tarts with hot caramel chocolate and whipped cream crosses in front of you along with a tray of spiced cider and the House drink, “Catacombs Blood”.
You find your table. You’re thirsty and starving. You can’t wait to order. You look towards the small stage on a low riser. The group’s equipment fills most of the space so that the lead singer has to push out onto the tiny dance floor for room enough to move.
A huge medieval tapestry is hung like a giant curtain behind the stage. It’s ancient and it’s hard to make out the faded images on the tapestry. The tapestry covers an opening that leads out into what had been a torch lit tunnel. It was built during the colonial period. A tangled web of passageways passes under the city of Boston. They connect a number of buildings in the surrounding area, including the Music Hall to the Catacombs.
There are a couple of tiny club spotlights and whatever the band brings for amps and lights. The Universal Underpass’s Kustom 200 watt PA is up and running again tonight. Most bands suffer when it’s removed from the coffee house to be used elsewhere.
Everybody is trying to get settled before the first set. Eat, drink, and get comfortable. Music is the reason for coming. Tonight, like most nights, it’s one featured group. The lights dim and the band begins to play.
Orphan, which became the Universal Underpass was the first House Band. J. Geils and Van Morrison were some of the first regulars to play in rotation at the Catacombs.
WHO PLAYED THE CATACOMBS?
By Galen Rossop
They then closed the club for a private in-crowd event sponsored by Andy Warhol. Andy was having a coming out party for Nico of the Velvet Underground. He had brought the Incredible Eatable Blonde Squad from New York City. Along with Nico, the Blonde Squad were 7 of most beautiful blonde supermodels in the world. The beautiful people had crammed the Catacombs to support Andy Warhol’s newest venture, Nico with the Velvet Underground. Andy Warhol previewed his single yellow banana cover art to the crowd with glowing praise and reviews. At 5 AM Jim Morrison left with Nico.
The Doors played the Catacombs. This was one of the most important and memorable events to ever Happen at the Catacombs.
(Not A Complete List)