3730 N Clark St Chicago

Lakeview Chamber of Commerce
Written By Lakeview Chamber of Commerce

The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce is a community of entrepreneurs working together and supporting each other to create a stronger neighborhood and business environment, through advocacy, promotion, networking and education.

In the late 1970’s, Columbia College graduate Joe Shanahan began his journey toward artistic production. Having visited New York and London to experience performing arts around the globe, he returned home to Chicago with a mission to open a space to host creative acts in the city. It wasn’t long until Shanahan found a building in the North Side, just a few blocks away from Wrigley Field. Originally built in 1927 as a Swedish community center, the building was serving as a jazz/folk club named Stages. In July of 1982, Smartbar was opened on the fourth floor of the building (this floor now serves as office space for the club). Smartbar was a dance club that featured a variety of music styles such as Disco, R&B, and House music, an emerging genre that started in Chicago. One month later, Shanahan booked a performance with a little-known band from Athens, Georgia, named R.E.M., which later became a pioneer in the emerging alternative rock music genre. Because of the show’s success, Shanahan began to book more gigs, eventually moving his main stage to the first floor. Smartbar also eventually moved to the basement. Metro, then named Cabaret Metro, was reopened as a live music venue.

Within the first years of its operation, Metro featured mostly local bands like Naked Raygun and Big Black, but later brought bands from out of the state. Among these were Pearl Jam, The Ramones, Pylon, Sleater-Kinney, and The Replacements. Corin Tucker, singer and guitarist for Sleater-Kinney, recalls that at one of their performances at the Metro, a "rock & roll psychic" was hanging around backstage. "He told me I needed to be very careful as there could be an accident in my future," Tucker recalls. "Come on! I was spending 10 hours a day in a van and was completely freaked out for the rest of the tour."

Throughout various decades, Metro has adapted and supported changing music styles in the United States. With a reception of grunge and alternative music types in the 1990’s, the Metro responded by hosting bands that were generating nationwide momentum like Manic Street Preachers, Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis, and Nirvana. Other more recent artists and bands that performed at the venue include The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, Fall Out Boy, and Arcade Fire. Because of its proximity to Wrigley Field, the club has strong ties with the Cubs. In fact, for six years, Metro has hosted the Cubs’ “Hot Stove, Cool Music” charity event. Together with broadcaster Len Kasper, they take the stage for an evening of music and giving back to the Chicago community. In 2016, they raised more than to $400,000 benefit Chicago families!

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