CBGB Film Fest: ‘Louder than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story’
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The “greatest untold story in Rock & Roll history,” the Grande Ballroom was the epicenter of the Detroit rock music scene in the late 1960s. Louder than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story directed by Detroit native Tony D’Annunzio, chronicles the history of the venue, along with the gritty and raw bands who played there.
Designed in 1928, the Grande started out by hosting retail businesses on the ground floor, with a large dance hall upstairs. In 1966, a high school teacher and local DJ named Russ Gibb acquired the Grande. Inspired by a visit to the famous Fillmore Theater in San Francisco, Gibb decided to bring this new, live sound to Detroit.
Local group the MC5 became the house band, constantly kicking out the jams. Other bands were brought in from San Francisco, Europe and all over the US. On any given night, you could see at least three or four extremely diverse bands, such as Janis Joplin, Howlin’ Wolf, The Who and Iggy Pop. Others who played at the Grande include Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, John Lee Hooker, BB King, Jeff Beck, Procol Harum, Cream, John Coltrane and Sun Ra.
The Grande became known as the “hippie center of Detroit,” due to the wild music, groovy advertising and trippy liquid light projections on the walls.
The Grande closed in 1972. As of this year, it has remained inactive and open to redevelopment.
Check out the facebook page for the film, which has some amazing archival photos and posters.