Upstairs Lounge was a mainstay of St. Louis nightlife from its humble opening in 1992, upstairs from Mekong Restaurant on South Grand Boulevard, to its breathless closing this month with a string of eight straight nights of dance parties.
It was home to generations of revelers who favored the no-frills space’s intimate quarters and underground musical leanings.
In this Cut & Paste episode, we speak with two people closely associated with the Upstairs Lounge about the club’s early days, its heyday in the first years of this century and the heartbreaking realization that it was time to shut it down.
The style of music presented at the Upstairs evolved over the years. In the late 1990s, a weekly hip-hop showcase held sway. Later, a durable drum 'n’ bass night attracted fans of that style for about 20 years. By the early aughts, DJs spun different flavors of electronic dance music nightly at the club.
The club’s future was thrown into doubt after the death in January of its gregarious founder, Tu Tien Tran, at age 47. Longtime Upstairs fixture Dino Taca took the reigns for a while, with promoter Adrian Gough stepping up to book talent.
“The Upstairs Lounge just seemed to be the heartbeat and the soul of underground electronic dance music in St. Louis,” Gough said.
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The podcast is sponsored by JEMA Architects, Planners and Designers.
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