This was written about a week after 1470 closed appearing ‘edited’ in the Dayton City paper. This is the full version. If you were there the final night, went once, twice or were a regular I hope it brings back happy memories.
Saturday May 29, 2004 will be a night engrained in my mind forever. A night bitter sweet with memories and music where the sweat-soaked crowd danced and sang with one rhythm, one voice, fists raised high celebrating four numbers that have carried a 25 year underground legacy giving haven to Dayton’s most unique and culturally diverse crowds. A club held sacred by the hippest Goths, most flamboyant dancers and outrageous performers. A place where gothic, hip-hop, industrial, metal, new wave, punk, 80’s, EBM and techno were played under the same roof, a place of universal acceptance, a place called…. 1470 West.
I quickly walked up the stairs to the second floor room that had been my musical serenity for the past decade. It was already largely filled with regulars, first-timers or the curious who came to see the final night of the so-called ‘freaks’. Music poured out of the speakers, the TV’s flashed the rich visual history that’d been built since day one. I stepped onto the same hardwood floor I had at 18 after hearing so many ‘weird and cool things’ about THAT club downtown. The vibe was nothing less than incredible. Though the sorrowful sweet smiles were there, the spirit that exemplified what 1470 was and will always be flu through the air like a comforting angel ready to console.
A piece of my heart, soul and youth will always be in that room. It was a club that gave it’s devoted so many good memories, a club that its clientele truly loved, more than a club, a religion. A place of the highest physical worship and a historical collection of perpetual musical energy that danced into your soul every time you heard it. It was a haven of intense musical enlightenment, relaxation and escapism where the music and atmosphere took you to a different place. A place where you yearned to see the same familiar faces doing their thing whether you knew them or not.
1470 was the ever present friend when you needed to feel good and the therapy needed for stress relief of any kind. It was a spotlighted, screaming, sweat-soaked utopia till dawn every night you went.
The anticipation slowly built, then came the final moment… as DJ Cap immortalized with “Unfortunately… you know what this means.” As the long time traditional closer began the floor quickly filled with the last of the tired 1470 faithful dancing their final tribute knowing it was the last song they’d ever hear in this hallowed place, as Duran Duran sang ‘who do you need, who do you love, when you come undone’. 1470, those four magical numbers that were more than just a neon sign hanging over Jefferson Street. It was a long respected landmark of nocturnal entertainment. The last note ended and the applause began. Everyone crowded together for one last pic, one final glorious war cry. Regardless of what others thought, regardless of where the club had been or was now, this was our house.
As I walked around afterwards I saw people I’d seen many times before, people I associated the club with. People I’d never talked to wishing I had, there’d be another time and place. I saw tears in their eyes, trying hard not to get misty myself. Every tear was genuine, every heavily tattooed, pierced, chained, leathered body or hair-spiked head wore the same look of shared love and respect forever written into the mirrored walls.
A security guard nodded patting me on the back as I took one last look at the room I proudly considered my night time weekend home. Lygia Travesty from Temple of Misery was going down the stairs as I was, I told her I’d seen their first show way back when. Of the countless times I’d seen her, that was our first conversation, a fitting final memory. As I drove home my eyes played back a decade of memories as sad nostalgic inspiration flooded my mind. My musical church was forever dismissed. The floor where buckets of energy and sweat landed, my feet would never pound again. The stage where Dayton’s best and loudest played would remain dark.
There would be other places to go with the same DJ’s playing the same great music with the same friendly, mysterious faces but it would never be the same. Saturday May 29, 2004, the end of an era, the conclusion of a legacy, the night the music died. 1470 West, a cornerstone in the Dayton night life.
Images by Mike Ritchie