The Fort Point venue, which operated from 1980 to 1991 and hosted countless legendary bands and artists far beyond the realm of heavy metal — from Pixies to Misfits to New Order to Iggy Pop to Dead Kennedys to Bauhaus and on and on and on — and was also a haven for our city’s punk and hardcore scenes. It had a legal capacity of 1,700 people, placing it, size-wise, somewhere between current local venues the Paradise and the House of Blues.
Some notable heavy metal acts to play the Channel include Metallica, King Diamond, GWAR, Danzig, Pantera, Overkill, and Motörhead.
VH1’s list was compiled by Chicago-based writer Mike McPadden, the author of Heavy Metal Movies (Bazillion Points, 2014). Here’s what he had to say:
Why It Ruled: A confluence of Boston’s college-connected bohemia and Southie-adjacent roughneck rock-and-roll, the Channel dominated the city’s hard-and-heavy scenes throughout the 1980s.
Utilizing a monster sound system designed by industry legend Dinky Dawson, radio DJs from WBCN spun platters and broke fresh sounds in between cutting-edge acts. Early on, new wave defined the Channel, but as the decade wore on, metal, punk, and hardcore sounds took over with mosh pits uniting revelers in slam-bang abandon.
Other venues making the cut include Brooklyn’s L’Amour (in the top spot), the Bay Area’s Ruthie’s Inn, and The Gasworks in Toronto, which got a cameo in Wayne’s World. Los Angeles rock triumvirate The Rainbow, The Roxy, and Whisky-a-Go-Go come in as a package deal at Number 6.
Below are are a few Channel performances that have lived on in the digital age. Hat tip to Jackie Indrisano for the link.