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a speech in Congress by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), on

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Full Text Below, adapted from the Congressional Record.

Mr. Speaker, thirty years ago, in August of 1982, a little-known band from Georgia took the stage at a new music venue at 3730 North Clark Street in Chicago.

Five hundred tickets were sold for 5 dollars each, and Chicagoans gathered in ``the big room'' to watch R.E.M.

The show was a huge success, and the Metro Chicago has been an influential music venue ever since.

Celebrating their 30th anniversary this month, the Metro continues to hold an important place in the Chicago music and performing arts scene.

There is a long list of memorable moments, including performances by music legends like James Brown, Bob Dylan, the Ramones, Smashing Pumpkins, and my personal favorite, Poi Dog Pondering.

The Metro has always been a venue that has provided a platform for new music talent to start their careers the old fashioned way, by sending in a demo and booking a slot.

Their dedication to independent music comes from the enthusiasm of owner Joe Shanahan, a south side Chicago native.

In the late 1970s, looking to better connect the music community of his home town, Joe started hosting parties for performing artists out of his loft apartment in the city.

It was not long until his musical gatherings outgrew his small space.

He eventually converted an old community center into a venue, and he has been bringing Chicago the best local and national talent ever since.

Shanahan, an icon in independent music promotion, stays involved in the community as well by serving on the boards of the Chicago Children's Choir and Rock for Kids, a charity that provides music education to underserved children in Chicago.

Without a doubt, the Metro and Shanahan's influence on the Chicago music scene is beyond measure.

Music before money always has been the message, and because of this commitment, the Metro has helped shape Chicago's cultural landscape.

For 30 years the Metro has contributed to the music scene in Chicago, and for 30 years fans have flocked to it.

Congratulations on three decades of rock.

We'll be lining up for thirty more years of great music to come.