Sad news in the Hudson Valley area today, I learned that Frank Pallett, the owner of The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie, NY has passed away. Frank has been the owner of the Chance since I started going to shows regularly back in 1996. Not sure when he started to own the venue. His passing, shocks and saddens me since I guess he fell ill a few weeks ago. My heart goes out to his family, friends and The Chance Theater family. WPDH also wrote about his passing as well.
If it wasn’t for Frank and The Chance for bringing in countless shows to the area, who knows what music I would have gotten into back in high school. My first ska show happened to be at The Chance in 1996 featuring Let’s Go Bowling, Chris Murray, Conehead Buddha, Sgt. Scagnetti and local band that would play just about every ska show, Lettuce Boy. It was an eye opening experience going to the Chance and can’t even count the amount of times I’ve been there for shows. After that, I probably went to the Chance regularly monthly.
Soon after, I’d see bands and artists like The Toasters, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Hatebreed, Gwar, All Out War, the Wailers, Buju Banton, Less Than Jake, Dropkick Murphys, Agnostic Front, English Beat, Flogging Molly, Stephen Lynch, Mephiskapheles, Scofflaws, Pilfers, Voodoo Glow Skulls, The Bouncing Souls, Carbon Leaf (at the smaller club near the Chance called the Loft), Ska is Dead tour, Against Me and countless other bands. Since moving away from the area, my last shows at The Chance was Foodstock featuring the Push Stars and a ska one featuring Pilfers and Hub City Stompers.
I remember in the late 90s, Frank was in contact with me and my twin brother Matt, who were running Ska, Punk And Other Junk at the time. Got us on the guest list, asked us about bands to bring in. After writing him back and forth, the next show he gave us a personal tour of the old legendary venue. Not sure which show that was but I’m sure it was a ska one. I’m sure it was Edna’s Goldfish or Pilfers, who we told him to get a bunch of times.
With Frank and The Chance, there are endless memories at the venue. I remember waiting out in the alley to talk to Dicky Barrett of the Bosstones, seeing Flogging Molly in a winter storm and watching from the balcony, as it felt like that balcony was going to fall down the place was shaking so much. Seeing Gwar the first time and seeing every monitor, speaker and staff wearing ponchos. Watching endless mosh pits from balcony, since I was too scared to be in them myself. Waiting in the cold in line was something you had to experience at The Chance, or just wait in your car until you saw people going in.
The Chance wasn’t designed the best in my opinion and felt like they could have opened up the general standing area better. I guess that would have taken a full renovation job in order to do that. Kind of hard to gut a legendary club though. Once you go there, you knew where to try and find a spot to watch the show and try to keep that spot the entire night. The sound and lighting were top notch in the area but whatever the pros and cons of the club were, Frank made them happen. Sometimes shows worked out great and the turn out was excellent. Other times not so much and people didn’t show up. At least Frank booked the bands and gave the city of Poughkeepsie and the Hudson Valley a chance to see some quality bands perform in the area.
I remember the routine of driving to the Chance from Goshen or Middletown where I was living, watching the show from a specific spot and getting early for it or just hanging out in the back by the merch area. Then driving home, stopping to get some late night snacks at the gas station and heading home tired, deaf but happy. That was routine for many years thanks to Frank and him booking many bands I loved!
Thanks for the memories Frank and rest in peace.