Nietzsche's is the longest-serving original music-friendly venue in Buffalo, and the only club that has offered live music seven nights a week from its opening in 1984 to today. The club has been a major hub for the local music scene for decades, but here are a few things you might not know about the venerable Allentown institution.
It wasn't love at first sight
When owner Joe Rubino first visited the club at 248 Allen St. with an eye toward buying the venue, it was called the Jamestown Grill. Rubino has said that he wasn't sure what to think of the place when he first saw it, but by the second time, he had fallen in love. Rubino opened Nietzsche's in 1984.
Maniacs arrived early
One of the first bands to play Nietzsche's was a relatively unknown Jamestown combo known as 10,000 Maniacs. The band had not yet released the album many consider to be its finest, "The Wishing Chair," when it rolled into Nietzsche's on March 17, 1984.
A Hip venue
The Tragically Hip made its U.S. debut on June 7, 1989 in Nietzsche's. Not everyone was blown away. "Tragically Hip sadly needs stage seasoning," read the headline of Jim Santella's review in the June 8, 1989 edition of The Buffalo News. (They turned out fine in the end, though, didn’t they?)
An early Phish gem
Phish played Nietzsche's back when only the hardcore jam band cognoscenti knew the band. Phish played a lengthy and now legendary show at the Allentown venue on April 19, 1991. Second set looked like this: "Harry Hood," "Fee," "The Curtain" > "Golgi Apparatus," The Landlady" > "Destiny Unbound," "My Sweet One," "The Squirming Coil" > "Take the 'A' Train" > "Run Like an Antelope."
Meldrum paid it forward
Ani DiFranco got her start at Nietzsche's as a teenager, playing the late Michael Meldrum's weekly songwriter showcase. Meldrum's weekly series remains the longest-running open mic night in Buffalo music history.