Music venues come and music venues go. They, for the most part, have something of a shelf life. A decade is a great run. Twenty years is almost unheard of. And no matter how long the run is, a closed venue is quite often forgotten, replaced in fans’ affections by the next new thing.
Even if they are remembered – with fondness or otherwise – there are more often than not mentioned in passing and their role and relevance in a community’s history never truly examined. They come and they go. That’s the mathematics of the matter.
Except when it isn’t.
Ask any tenured member of Augusta’s extensive music community – the fans and promoters, the musicians and, yes, the odd writer – to name the epicenter of Augusta music, and they will inevitably point to the same place.
Spectacularly small and delightfully disheveled, Squeaky’s Tip-Top, during the many, many years it was open and seemingly perpetually occupied on the corner of Central and Highland Avenues, served not only as the accepted place to grab a quick beer – or a slow two or three – but also, particularly during the 1990s, as an ad hoc clubhouse for those pining for original music.
If its battered booths and heavily graffitied walls could talk … well, let’s just say there are a lot of people who are awfully glad they can’t.
But of course, Squeaky’s was much more than beer and bands. It was open for decades. I’ve found accurate records difficult to locate and, quite frankly, I’d rather not know. I’d like to believe that it has always been there, that James Oglethorpe wandered in from the wilderness and declare Ye Olde Squeaky’s “sort of a dump.”
Squeaky’s called its last Last Call several years ago, and though the occasional rumor of parties interested in a resurrection sometimes surface, getting the Tip-Top up to code is probably close to impossible.
That said, those pining for some of the Squeaky spirit are in luck. On Sunday, Jan. 19, from 5 to 10 p.m., there will be a Squeaky’s Reunion at Sheehan’s Irish Pub right across Central from the Tip-Top. Though there has been talk of some special attractions – the art and music that were part of the fabric of the Tip-Top – the real draw will, inevitably, be the stories. Stories of bands seen and disco nights, of weddings and wakes and the people that made it so special.
Space is limited and tickets are $10 a piece. Go to mojogoat.com/sttreunion.html.