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Arts & Entertainment

After 30 years of rock & roll, this local venue calls it quits

Suicide Commando performs during Resistanz Festival at the Corporation on April 2, 2011, in Sheffield, United Kingdom. | Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns

The Elbo Room Jack London, which has been showcasing local and touring bands—particularly of a thunderous punk and metal persuasion—in Oakland since 2018, is about to enter its final week. The latest in a spate of local venue casualties, the Elbo Room will permanently close after its last show on Friday, March 31.  

Located at Broadway between Third and Fourth streets, this bi-level club was the East Bay outpost of the original Elbo Room in the Mission. Even after being granted legacy status in 2017, the Elbo Room SF shuttered at the end of 2018—bringing an almost 30-year run on Valencia Street to a close. It was eventually replaced by a dance club called the Valencia Room in the spring of 2019. 

As the San Francisco Chronicle first reported, co-owners Matt Shapiro and Erik Cantu decided to lower the curtains on their Oakland venue last year but resolved to keep the soundboard hot until they could sell the club. During its five year tenure in Oakland, the Elbo Room hosted metal and punk bands like Blackwülf, Bush Tetras and Boneless Ones. 

Shapiro, who wears multiple hats as the club’s booker and bartender, told The Standard that the decision was somewhat gradual, prompted in part when he became a part-time resident of Germany three years ago. 

“We’ve been doing this for a long time, and it was time to make changes in our lives,” he said. “I’m ready to live [in Germany] permanently.”

Shapiro did not comment on the future of the space.

During the Elbo Room’s final week, the club will host almost-nightly shows featuring Belgian electro-industrial pioneers Suicide Commando, German synthpop group Solar Fake, Coctail Twins—a play on the post-punk band, naturally—as well as Oakland’s death metal band IMPALED, 1980s new wave of British heavy metal devotees Union Jack & The Rippers and more.