Local Musicians Share Memories of Respectable Street Cafe on the Club's 25th Anniversary

The Swans at Respectable Street Cafe
The Swans at Respectable Street Cafe
Ian Witlen

In the cutthroat nightlife world, it's a big huge deal when a venue survives two or three years, let alone 25. West Palm Beach's alternative rock club Respectable Street Café managed to endure just that many as of this Saturday. It's comparable only to the legendary heights of clubs like D.C's 9:30 Club and San Francisco's the Fillmore. To put things in perspective, Respectable Street is the longest running live music and dance club in the Southeastern United States.

Thus, it's fitting that Respectable Street is celebrated in style. The entire 500 block of Clematis Street will be blocked off to ring in their silver anniversary. This quarter century generated tons of memories for us locals. We caught up with members of bands performing bands at Respectable Street's block party this weekend to get them all nostalgic. Here are some top-shelf unforgettable moments spent at this venerable West Palm Beach institution.

Lead singer for booming West Palm Beach three-piece Lavola, Julia Cires:
"I had moved back from Tallahassee a few years back and went to the anniversary party to check out the music scene. In just one night, I witnessed skinheads moshing to an Animal Tropical set, the spectacle that is Viva La Vox ("whoa, zombie pirates!"), and State Of cover the Peanuts theme song. All I can really ask for in a night. "

Steve Abbott, lead singer of the swanking, ska-enamored Hard Richards:
"I saw some of the wildest shows of my life at Respectables. They include the Slackers, any of the Authority Zero shows, and Agent Orange. It is also the only club where I have lost my wedding ring on two different occasions in the pit (after playing, I always go out and dance for the other bands). Each time it was found!"


Jimmy Brogan, the hard rocking singer for The Wrong:
"Last year, we were asked to open for Faster Pussycat. I was particularly excited, being that I was a huge fan of theirs growing up. We weren't really sure how crowded it was going to be since they had been out of the spotlight for a while, but by the time we hit the stage, the club was packed and electric. It was one of those crowds you dream of. Everyone was ready to have a good time and were excited to hear some dirty rock 'n' roll. And we gave it to them. They clapped with us during parts, sang along to the couple of covers we do, danced, cheered and screamed."

The unclassifiable, ever-quirky Luna Rex frontman Jon Glassman:
"Hmmm. I'll have to think about that one. I've got a ton of memories, if I can see past the drunken fog. I do remember the first time I walked into Respectables, it was around 2003, before I had become a musician. I recall the amazing vibe of the place and how enthralled I was over the fact that the band was playing all original music and seemed to be loving what they were doing. I don't remember the band, but I recall feeling like I was in a movie, and feeling very inspired by the entire scene."

Illia Tulloch, who will be pounding the skins for three (yes three!,) bands at the anniversary party, Fevers, Ordinary Boys, and Leading the Heroes:
"That stage at Respectable Street is kind of like a home away from home for me. I've been lucky enough to play it many times and this year Ordinary Boys plans to really step up our game. We were also fortunate enough to play last year's anniversary party on the outside stage. I remember looking out from behind my drum kit to see people making out. If couples are making out during your set then you know you're doing your job as a musician and The Smiths do have a way of pulling that emotion out of lovers."


Guitarist and vocalist for indie rock purveyors Raggy Monster, Billy Schmidt:
"The first Flaunt night my band played. It was the first time we ever played to a decent sized crowd that was dancing and singing along to our songs. Anyone who has experienced this feeling knows it's the best feeling in the entire world."

Lindsey Sayre, lead gal for Dixie-loving Lake Worth Americana band The Darling
"I've been going [to Respectable Street Cafe] for so long that there is like a RSC mush of memories in one lil' pocket in my brain! Switchblade Symphony was the first show, and first time I was there. I was barely 17 and had somehow managed to weasel my way in, and I remember feeling like a total bad-ass, and totally freaked out being in a club... Especially RSC. But I guess I was hooked, because fast forward then 15 years, and I'm still going there (eek, I just really aged myself haha!)."

Scuzz-pedlars the Band in Heaven formidable frontman Ates Isildak chimed in:
"My favorite Respectable Street experience was two years ago at Moonfest, the one with A Place to Bury Strangers headlining, it was the first time we played on the main stage. As soon as we were done, we rushed over to Respects to watch Weird Wives play. Someone told me Nick Klein (Weird Wives front man and New Times contributor) was on acid, and he was antagonizing the crowd. The band was messing up the stage and Respecs' manager Allan Bowron looked as mad as I'd ever seen him. And then we watched Surfer Blood play and somehow ended up at this rich guy's house downtown where no one did drugs because this girl spilled champagne on "$400 worth of coke..." I did get to make out for a while with a girl I've liked since high school, which was a plus."

Respectable Street 25th Anniversary  Party with Misfits and 24 other bands, Saturday August 25. Free to the public. Festivities start at 8:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. For more information visit

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Respectable Street

518 Clematis St.
West Palm Beach, FL 33401


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