Best Underground Club - 2004
Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center
The Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center, known simply as "the Lemp" to its patrons, is a rock journalist's nightmare. There's no booze, it's usually hot and so packed with kids that you can't lift an arm without knocking off somebody's horn-rimmed glasses. For those same kids, however, and for fans of music that exists solely on the fringe, the Lemp is both a haven and a hangout, and a flat five bucks will open the door to a whole secret world. There is no stage at the Lemp, and no aggressive security staff making sure everyone stays in their place. Instead there's a free-form explosion of energy bordering on a religious service bound by a mutual respect between everyone in the room. Perhaps most amazingly, as the Lemp has become one of the most adventurously booked clubs in the area, it still feels remarkably free of pretension.