A month after Woodstock, on Sept. 19, 1969, Jim Tarbell opened The Ludlow Garage in Clifton with a Grand Funk Railroad concert.
The Ludlow Avenue venue would attract some of the biggest and most influential Rock acts of the era to Cincinnati, including Santana, The Kinks, Humble Pie, James Gang, Alice Cooper, Iggy and the Stooges and MC5. The Allman Brothers also famously played the club a few times — the band’s Live at Ludlow Garage (recorded before their breakthrough Live at the Fillmore set) became a hugely popular bootleg recording before Polydor released it officially in the early ’90s.
The Garage burned bright and left a big impact on Cincinnati in its short lifespan — it closed in 1971.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of that first Ludlow Garage concert and there have been myriad celebrations, including an all-day concert in Eden Park and a forthcoming mural in Clifton featuring depictions of BB King, Judy Collins, Captain Beefheart and others who played the club that will be unveiled in October at Cliftonfest.
The venue’s current owners are celebrating with a special concert event this week, which also marks the return of the venue after an extensive summerlong renovation project. (The first show back is Tyler Hilton's show this Wednesday, Sept. 18.)
Using several “50th anniversary” angles, the club will host Rock legend Frank Zappa’s son Dweezil Zappa Thursday. On his tour that kicked off on Sept. 3, Dweezil is playing Frank’s seminal album Hot Rats in full (plus “other stuff,” the tour’s title promises). Hot Rats was released about a month after the original Ludlow Garage opened and, oh yeah, Dweezil was born just two weeks before that first Garage concert. That’s a lot of 50th birthdays parties in one night. (The show is sold out.)
8:30 p.m. Thursday. Sold out. Ludlow Garage, 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, ludlowgaragecincinnati.com.