Tag Archives: Nines Club

Friday Flashback #161

Much has been written about Staples High School’s rich rock concert history (you know — little acts like the Doors, Cream, Byrds …)

Mark Smollin wrote a book about it. Fred Cantor followed with a movie.

But for a few months in 1967, another Westport venue booked some of the biggest bands of the day too.

The Nines Club was the brainchild of Lester Lanin. Somehow, the nationally known orchestra leader heard about an abandoned skating rink on the Post Road, next to a mini-golf course and driving range (today, the site of Lansdowne condominiums).

He converted it into a “discotheque.” There were 3 stages; when one act finished, the next immediately began.

Among the groups that played at the Nines Club: ? and the Mysterians (“96 Tears”), the Left Banke (“Walk Away Renee”), Youngbloods (“Get Together”),  Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Vanilla Fudge, Blues Magoos, Blues Project and Vagrants (with guitarist Leslie West).

An early advertisement for the Nines Club. Despite the promises, it was not a “country club without membership dues.” There was no ice skating either.

I don’t know how Lester Lanin got the idea to open a dance club in Westport. I don’t know why it lasted less than a year (though targeting the less-than-lucrative teenage market may have played a part).

I remember it only vaguely. I was in Long Lots Junior High at the time. Some friends and I were hired to help “build” it, though our contribution consisted of a few days of moving sheetrock and cinder blocks.

We were excited though: We were promised that — in return for our “work” — we would get free admission to the Nines Club.

It never happened. It’s easy to stiff 8th graders.

But I did hear ads for all those great bands on WMCA.

Friday Flashback #134

As Westport debates what’s needed to make Main Street lively again, we hear one chorus a lot: live music!

It’s been only a few years since Bobby Q’s rooftop concerts ended. But before that, there was Mark’s Place.

Located on the left side of Main Street — on the 2nd floor of what was, most recently, Acqua and Boca restaurants — Mark’s Place was a late ’60s/early ’70s club/bar/disco.

It was not the only venue for live music in Westport — there was the Nines Club at the old skating rink on Post Road East (owned, improbably, by orchestra leader Lester Lanin; Mitch Ryder, the Youngbloods and ? and the Mysterians played there); the Players Tavern, and a spot underneath the Ice Cream Parlor where I saw the Shangri-Las.

I’ve tried to find photos, with no success. Recently though, these images of Mark’s Place surfaced on Facebook, thanks to Rufus Eakin.

(Photos courtesy of Rufus Eakin)

Close your eyes. Remember the scene. Then click “Comments,” to share any groovy memories of Mark’s — and all those other music — places.