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  • Writer's pictureJohn Carlow

Goodnight to The Tavern of the Damned

Here's a solid piece of advice. If you're at a punk or metal show and someone wanders up beside you with a full glass of the beer special that night...move. Without doubt that beer is gonna be hit and worn by many. If your glass was on the stage, it will not only be spilled , but the glass will be broken , soaking nearby cables and set lists. None of this an uncommon scenario at the Tavern. I've had my sanity questioned many a time for hauling expensive camera gear into such settings but I always managed to make it out alive. And then I'd come back, cause I'm drawn to shoot stages that bleed originality, passion, talent, fun and the unexpected. Logans was always all of that.

I've shot all kinds of venues from crammed basements to massive festival fields but always felt home most in the Tavern of the Damned. From the beginnings of when I started shooting there I was always welcomed and felt like part of the atmosphere. I was inexperienced back then but the door was always open to come practice. Since then I've shot many bands over the years, staff photos, food for the menus, special events , a pie eating contest, a play, even the symphony when they did a show. ( what a night that was ) . A constant for me at Logan's was the fight for the very needed life blood of music photography....light. Rarely was there enough light to shoot a band well or inclusively. Not an uncommon thing in underground venues. Of the 4-5 lights on stage, some were up..some down..some not working or at times not even pointing at the stage. Some bands wanted to play in the dark..This presented endless challenges, but on the upside... I was made to learn how to shoot in impossible lighting. Valuable stuff for a photographer. Even pulled off a gig lit by candlelight once.

Mine is far from a complete history in my time at Logans. I had a job that for many years started the day at 5 am , so shows starting at ten..ten thirty were out for me. I missed a lot of amazing sounding events . I've come to know some bands very well through Logans. I'd return to shoot them many times , even though they were very familiar. Some became friends and spawned off shoot relationships. For that opportunity alone I am forever grateful. I was always welcomed to any event at the tavern and was always sent right through the door without delay.

Places like Logans are very rare. Other venues can seem similar but this one was truly special. From the staff to the wide reaching all inclusive nature of the venue it was always somewhere you wanted to come back to. I always thought it would be around forever.

I have a ton of photos I've taken at the TOTD. A lot made it to the Logans socials and I always tried to make sure the bands could use the shots I had of them for whatever they needed. I've been credited for and had my pictures shared so many times I lost count a long time ago. I've had my shots in promos, on albums in multiple formats, and band pages,used many times over and over. Of those photos...I quickly went through a bunch and randomly picked some to share here. Scroll down through them...see who you know. Lots of names for people and bands I have lost. Few years went by before I properly learned to archive and catalog everything . Regrettable.

Too many people to thank for the experience that was Logans. I'm going to miss the time I spent at my second home. I had planned much more for the future at Logans I'm very sad it will no longer exist. I take heart in that the scene won't die here. It will surface again because these relationships..the families..friends,,,the music...everything that made it special at Logans was the real deal.

You don't come across the real deal often........and when you find it, it comes with no ending.