On Monday night, local musicians gathered to perform in support of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the East Nashville club the Basement East. Shortly after 1 a.m., the venue was in ruins, destroyed by a deadly tornado that left a trail of devastation across Nashville and deep into Tennessee.
“The tornado hit at approximately 1:15 a.m., the Bernie benefit was over, and our conscientious staff of five ran down to the basement with seconds to spare before the roof blew off,” the Basement East’s co-owner Mike Grimes said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “All are safe. We are so fortunate. The venue is pretty much a total loss.”
No one was injured at the club, but according to Gov. Bill Lee, 19 people in Tennessee have died from the storm. Structural damage is still being assessed, with 48 buildings reported to have collapsed.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper encouraged citizens to band together. “Nashvillians are known for our resilience, and now it’s time to show the world once again that we can accomplish a whole lot when we come together as a community and lend each other a helping hand,” he said during a press conference Tuesday morning.
A cornerstone of the East Nashville music community, the Basement East was known for hosting national touring artists, local tribute nights, and spoken-word events. It was also the Sunday-afternoon home to Southern Underground Pro wrestling, which staged matches in a ring erected in the center of the dance floor. Archers of Loaf, the Black Lips, and Hailey Whitters all had upcoming concerts slated for the club (Whitters’ March 10th show has since been moved to Exit/In). Last week, the Black Crowes’ Robinson brothers performed a sold-out acoustic show at the Basement East.
In October, the club — known to locals as “the Beast” — entered into a multiyear booking deal with Live Nation Entertainment. It first opened in 2015 and is the East Nashville counterpart to the original Basement located on Eighth Avenue.
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We appreciate all the love and support from the Nashville community! Stay safe Nashville! Due to the tornado, tonight’s @elohim show has been canceled. All tickets will be refunded via ticketweb. We are diligently working on each show to either relocate or cancel. We will send updates out to ticket holders, on our website and social media as we determine the status of each show. Please bear with us as this process could take a few days to weeks.