Anything Goes and We're Staying Until Five in the Morning: The Legendary Final Night at the Delmar Lounge
Delmar Lounge once seemed like an invincible safe haven for progressive minded music lovers in the city of St. Louis. The establishment has an almost legendary reputation for showcasing the spontaneity St. Louis loves. During the evening hours of business you could aimlessly find yourself eating dinner and enjoying the smooth sounds of a live jazz band or maybe there would be a house music DJ spinning something light-hearted and groovy.
The range of variety in between the genres is one of the many things that made this place special. Last Sunday I attended what was possibly this establishment's final night in the business. Before I even stepped out of the car I noticed maybe 30 to 40 people piled outside on the corner drinking publicly, guzzling liquor from glasses and pitchers.
Everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time as I quickly glanced at the faces and noticed the crowd was filled with local rappers, guitarists, soul singers, concert goers and comedians. In recent years, the night life scene at Delmar Lounge on the weekend has transformed in a true school hipsterish hip-hop vibe. I walked inside with my friend Jay Stretch and witnessed one of the most chaotic bar scenes in my life. Corey Black approached me, chuckling and saying, "Everything is $4.00 tonight." People were standing at the bar, holding money in the air as if the stock market were crashing.
The bartenders were all completely wasted and showing no mercy in terms of how strong they made the drinks. There was no doorman or entry fee; the entire environment was a mixture of drunken stupor, flashbacks and celebration. Everyone was running around as if this was a scene from Mad Max combined with a scene from Paid In Full sliced in between the movie Beat Street and the final episode of Cheers.
DJ Black Guy went on a run and slammed nothing but classics, jamming new school joints all night long. The television closest to the turntables was linked to the Serato and it was actually very enjoyable watching him mix music videos. He stayed on the turntables spinning non-stop until 4:47 a.m. I was impressed by his ability to play a hit whenever the momentum seemed to shift.
I engaged in a few nostalgic music conversations about the Hi Pointe open mic nights, Red Sea closing and the Duck Room. I remember when Delmar Lounge had a bit of a cold shoulder toward hip-hop. Over the years, times have changed, and during my generation the venue has been overwhelmingly receptive to almost any musical genre with life in its veins.
I knew the party had grown out of control when I noticed the nefarious Crazy Mike himself inside the venue dancing with a random drunken girl. I stopped and laughed with admiration for a brief second, because we all know there's no way in hell Crazy Mike would typically be allowed to come in and cut loose. He was up front dancing with both arms in the air as if he knew this was the chance of a lifetime for him. At this moment I can safely say the party was completely out of control.
Delmar Lounge has been home of St. Louis most notorious weirdos for a few years now. On any given night you can go enjoy some awesome random music, maybe a little bit of jazz or maybe you'll catch a DJ spinning all soul based records. You'll also run into a group of people that appear to be socially awkward and overly thirsty.
I wouldn't have it any other way because this one of those spots where you can people watch or dance if it's your preference to do so. So I found myself sitting at a table with a few of my close friends, all of whom were Delmar Lounge veterans. The night seemed to expand and grow crazier as it went on. Even though the crowd reduced in size, the heart of the party seemed to enlarge.