York is rich in rock n’ roll history. On this day in 1988, we celebrated the arrival of summer with a night of dance oriented performances with three live bands at Big City Nite Club on 13 S. Beaver in York, PA.

Big City Nite Club ticket

Get yourself a ticket to see the next show!

Whatever came of these three bands?

Are any of them still live bands?

Well, sorta.


The three bands for the night were The Housedicks, The Groovy Purple Shirts, Only You.



I recall The Housedicks were from out of town and they wound up headlining the show. Being from out of town, typically gave a band added credibility. I mean, a club would invite you to travel their town and grace their stage with your rock! It was hard to score stage time when you lived there. They were high energy, three chord rock n’ roll and brought the house down.

The Groovy Purple Shirts 1988

The Groovy Purple Shirts ready to rock (circa 1988)

The Groovy Purple Shirts opened the show. This Red Lion cover band was cutting their teeth on 80s alternative tunage. Truk on drums and Tom on bass would welcome any guitarist or keyboardist willing to take on The Cult, The Cure, DOA,INXS, Love & Rockets, Public Image Limited (PiL), The Police and The Yardbirds.


The lineup this evening included Spike and Mark on guitar with Tom and Kurt on rhythm and vocals. Times were good and so were our guitarists. Their chops were spectacular and made up for our lackluster vocals. Playing with these quality musicians forced us to get good fast just to keep up. They played a big role in making us the live performers we are today.

Only You band shot

Only You can recognize (circa 1988)

Only You was a four piece from York ready to take on the world. Phil, Al, Kevin and AJ were high school chums with Catholic School chops.  Tired of the norm, they formed this raw new wave garage band fueled by songs from The Cult, The Cure, Gene Loves Jezebel, Icicle Works, Lords of the New Church, REM, The Smiths & U2.

Big City was the best underage club in York, hands down. This place gave teens a venue to express themselves on stage or in the crowd. The club sported black walls with plenty of caverns and corners upstairs and down for patrons to hang.  Like an Amazon rain forest exhibit at the Aquarium, you could be in the room for an hour and still not notice all the colorful occupants in the building.  The place was vast and dark.  The bands were tucked away in an enclosed jam space at the back of the club and DJ Peter Carly kept things thumping on the 2nd floor above. These were truly great times.

Big City flyer

Big City Nite Club flyer 1988

As for the last band standing? Tom and Truk met AJ at this show and we become life long friends. AJ eventually picked up drumming responsibilities for Dumbug and has hung on through our MeanMan incarnation today.  We are alive, well and writing kick ass tunes. Together we are the last band standing! Check us out.

Share your stories.

The Groovy Purple Shirts Big City June 4th 1988 Setlist

Nirvana - The Cult
Life of Laralay - Love & Rockets
Seattle - PiL
Plastic Passion - The Cure
Love Removal Machine - The Cult
Somebody To Love - Jefferson Airplane
Play For The Day - The Cure
Phoenix - The Cult
For Your Love - The Yardbirds
Hard Times - PiL
Grinding Halt - The Cure
Kundalini Express - Love & Rockets
King Contrary Man - The Cult
Bingo! - GPS

One thought on “Last Band Standing from the Big City Alternative Showcase

  1. Ahhh Big City! The one place my high school band played, Passing Thyme! I recall it was very rough crowd. In fact, I recall the skinheads front and center stage. (Steve -guitar) We had a very upbeat song our bass player (Ben Blazer) wanted to play named “Tinted Notions”. I was afraid the skinheads would storm the stage and I’d be forced to defend myself with just my axe! ;P I was politely surprised! They loved it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.