atomic show

nancyMy dear friend, amazing singer, and forever cool kid “Atomic” Nancy has a DJ set she did last month at Dublab up on their archives.  As usual, she spun all 45s, many that were originally in the Atomic Cafe jukebox.  Here’s a little background on why this is so awesome:

The Atomic Cafe opened in 1946 in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles by Minoru and Ito Matoba. During the late 70′s to mid 80′s their daughter, Nancy, quickly transformed the quiet neighborhood bar/ cafe in to one of L.A.’s most popular hang outs for the local punk rock scene, politicians, and the Japanese mafia. On any given night you could see the likes of Blondie, The Go-Go’s, Devo, X, Warhol, David Byrne, Bowie sitting down having a bowl of noodles in the company of old Japanese men with full body tattoos. The legendary jukebox played everything from The Germs to Mori Shinichi until 4 in the morning as crazy waitresses would be jumping on top of tables trying to serve food. The Atomic Cafe closed its doors on November 23, 1989.

Nancy was not only the boss “crazy waitress” and default bouncer (apparently there were always fights to break up) but also music supervisor–she was in charge of the jukebox, and she befriended all the local (and some soon to be famous) bands who brought in their 45s and covered the walls and ceilings with flyers.  So yeah, she knows her shit.  I had a lot of fun listening to her DJ set–lots of seminal punk and new wave, with a touch of film score kitch and rockabilly.  And it’s nice to hear the warm crackle of an old 45 spinning around!

Download here.  Playlist and more info here.

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Published in: on March 13, 2009 at 1:16 am  Comments (20)  

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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi – wow this was great to find. I am an old friend of Nancy’s dating back to high school. If you could pass my e-mail address off to her it would be great to reconnect.

  2. […] Atomic Cafe (E. 1st Street and S. Alameda Street 90012) — Noodle shop in Little Tokyo that was open until 4am. Nancy, the daughter of the owners, loved punk rock and was super successful in bringing in that crowd, including luminaries like Blondie and the Ramones. Paul Greenstein helped program the legendary jukebox. Closed in 1989. […]

  3. […] Atomic Cafe (E. 1st Street and S. Alameda Street 90012) — Noodle shop in Little Tokyo that was open until 4am. Nancy, the daughter of the owners, loved punk rock and was super successful in bringing in that crowd, including luminaries like Blondie and the Ramones. Paul Greenstein helped program the legendary jukebox. Closed in 1989. […]

  4. Man, excellent idea to post the playlist. It made my morning! Anyway to allow us to post the article and playlist on Faceboook. Still listening to the playlist.

  5. Wow!!!!
    Thank you so much for the memories that Nancy added to Los Angeles along with Gorky’s and Cocola.I’m feeling warm-n-fuzzy.

  6. Does anyone have the playlist?? I can’t open it !!! =(

  7. Used to love The Atomic Cafe and we’d go there aftyer work and have noodles and something on the menu called “Hamburger Gotcha” – what ever that was. The food was good, but that jukebox was brillant! Everything from Gene Vincent and The Who to Sid Vicious singing “My Way.” Good times. Don’t forget Mr Kiyoshi who ran the place near the end; he had no teeth and once showed me his methodone.

  8. The correct URL on dublab.com is http://dublab.com/listen/archive/atomic-nancy-atomic-show-fuck-that-011709/

  9. wow- so few brain cells left, and yet you brought back sooooo many memories!!!

  10. Hamburger Gacha was the best late-night drunk food possible, and I have no idea what was in it. I bought a fake-leather patchwork jacket from a street poet named Dr. Mongo there for $2 once after a Clash show in Long Beach (’83? ’84?). I still have the jacket.

    • “and the devil can flick my bic” last line of a Dr. Mongo spoken word piece. I loved the 1/2 spring chicken.

  11. My friend Chemma and I knew and loved Kyoshi and Nancy and family…. and was a fan of the nikunabe…. sadly we all had the same bad “hobby” in common from 80-83 and I believe that Nancy and I are the only survivors…. Lee

  12. I miss the spring chicken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyone have the recipe? I screamed when I saw the old Atomic sign across the street at the Japanese American Heritage Museum today! 🙂 I used to hand out there when I was a little kid with my mom and her friend Cecilia.

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  15. […] LINKS “Atomic Show” by Depth of Sense: More Than Meets the Ear “Atomic Nancy: Atomic Show ‘Fuck That’ music session” by dublab, January […]

  16. Spent many a late night at The Atomic Cafe and my favorite tune on your jukebox was called Downtown Boogie Woogie. I can’t remember the name of the band but I believe they were from japan?

  17. […] down having a bowl of noodles in the company of old Japanese men with full body tattoos,” as Sekizawa remembers it. It was shuttered in 1989, but the Japanese American National Museum held on to the original neon […]

  18. Too bad you could not leave obscenities out of your story, otherwise I would have shared it.

  19. Great site you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get responses from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot!|


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