Closing Set: DJ Chris Ewen and Tension to host River Gods tribute Thursday at ZuZu


By now, we here in the Boston area are unfortunately accustomed to venue, club, and bar closings. But unlike recent shutterings of T.T. The Bear’s Place last summer and Johnny D’s earlier this year, the news of River Gods’ closing hurt, in part, due to the fact that there was no real chance to say goodbye.

The beloved Cambridge bar and restaurant announced on Monday that it was closed due to failure to renew its lease — and that was it. The Pixies didn’t show up for one last show, and there was no New Orleans-style march down River Street just outside Central Square. There was no last meal, final cocktail, or closing blast of beautiful noise from Fuzzed Out Bliss.

Now, many of the venue’s DJs are paying tributes of their own (James Reed’s eulogy in the Globe yesterday is worth a read), and this Thursday at ZuZu in Cambridge, Chris Ewen of Heroes and ManRay fame is redefining his post-punk party Tension to reflect the various sets he spun at River Gods over the past 15 years.

The night has been billed “To The Gods,” and we’ll let Ewen explain it in his own words:

“Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to DJ many times at my beloved local River Gods. I’ve spun music with some luminous company, and during that time, I’ve assembled a thick CD book (& a laptop) brimming with songs collected and compiled specifically to play at River Gods.

So, with that in mind, this week’s Tension is going to be a little different. I’ve decided to bring out my River Gods CD book and laptop, and offer tribute To The Gods — a personal retrospective of some of my favorite music I played at my favorite place. It’s going to be an eclectic mix of Indie and Electro-pop, songs in French, songs in many different languages, actually, shoegazey, psychedelic and post-punky songs, songs spanning many decades and many genres.

Songs you may not have heard before, but will fall in love with when you do. This is something I feel compelled to do…to relive some beautiful memories, soothe my soul with some of my favorite music, and offer up my individual thank you and musical tribute To The Gods.

I hope you come along for the ride.”

The night arts at 10 p.m., runs until 2 a.m., and there is a $5 cover. ZuZu is located at 474 Massachusetts Ave., part of the Middle East’s complex.

Tension ZuZu