The third in a series of short videos exploring some of Fredericton’s former all-ages venues. This episode looks at the legendary Pyramid Warehouse on the Wilsey Road.
I could write a novel about all the good times we had putting on shows at the Pyramid Warehouse. Back before it became home to the city’s largest scrap deal and recycling facility – Best Metals, the Pyramid was a multi-unit warehouse building, full of dirty, dingy rooms of various sizes. I remember seeing Saint John’s NFA playing there the first time I ever went to see a show the Pyramid and I was equally repulsed and attracted to the space. Who would ever think to rent such a hole and who would ever want to come see live music in such a spot? Punks and weirdos. That’s who.
Not long after I started booking shows with my friends Al and John, we worked out a monthly rental agreement for the largest available section in the building and went about making it our home. We built a stage out of scrap wood and carpeted it with bits and pieces found in the dumpster behind Richie’s Carpet Warehouse. Local bands played and practiced there and many a touring band visited. SNFU, DOA, The Real MacKenzies, The Doughboys, Die Cheerleader, Gob, Lizard, Good Riddance and dozens more played the Pyramid back then.
The first impressions were always the best. In a pre-internet world, bands had to drive around with a map and a few scribbled notes (or both), and because there was no signage, no lights in the parking lot or anything else to indicate a “venue” existed within this warehouse complex, bands were usually late arriving. And when they did, it was always the same reaction. “We’re playing here?” But the shows were almost always well-attended, and fun was guaranteed.
I think anyone who saw or played a show at the Pyramid has some unique memory associated with the place. A few years ago, I was at the Fredericton Public Library for a Shivering Songs show when I got a tap on the shoulder from Jim Bryson. Jim was a performer a Shivering Songs that year and remembered playing the Pyramid with his band Punchbuggy. He had the pleasure of playing the only show we put that involved an act of violence. “I remember playing with Punchbuggy at the Warehouse where you guys used to book, and a kid got stabbed in the parking lot. I’ll never forget it.”
As with just about every venue mentioned in this series, putting on shows back then was like some adventure on the high seas. No matter how many times we did shows, each one felt new and different. Each night was its own thing and any attempt we made at establishing a routine way of doing things proved futile. But looking back at it now, that was part of the fun.
As I mentioned in the video, we ended up losing the space because we invited an health inspector in to see if we could get a license to sell beer and they were horrified that people would gather there for any reason, let alone “a good time”.