Volume 19 Issue 49 | April 20 - 26, 2007

Downtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel

Clockwise from above left, Marc Ribot is removed from Tonic on Saturday afternoon after being arrested, and Rebecca Moore is arrested onstage, both for trespassing; the last afternoon at Tonic.

Finale is a bitter tonic as indie music club closes

By Jefferson Siegel

Tonic, the Lower East Side music venue, gave its last show Saturday but did not go gently into the night. After nine years, the avant jazz/indie/new music club became another victim of rising rents.

Following a final Friday show, musicians planned a last-ditch effort to resist closing with an all-day show on Saturday. Performers, including Marc Ribot, Rebecca Moore, Matthew Shipp, Nora Balaban and Patrick Brennan, played for a crowd that filled the room.

Just before 4 p.m., police arrived and asked everyone to leave. Moore and Ribot refused, taking to the stage in an attempt to keep the music alive.

“I have literally spent 60 percent of my life trying to keep these spaces open,” Moore said while waiting to be arrested. “I believe that by being an artist, it gives others a license to be creative.”

Ribot was just as defiant.

“It’s necessary to show some resistance to the destruction of a really important part of New York City culture,” Ribot said while strumming his acoustic guitar. “The community does not need another chain store or tower of condos.”

As Moore finished playing her composition, “Conscious Objection,” the two were arrested for trespassing. They were taken to the nearby Seventh Precinct on Pitt St., given desk-appearance tickets and released at 9 p.m.

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