It was the winter of 1996, and I already had a few years of clubbing under my belt. Being a Mississauga club kid, I had already experienced a handful of nightclubs in greater Toronto area. One night after working out at the gym with my best friend, he suggested that we go and check out the Lyric Nightclub in Kitchener. At first I was like “Are you crazy, that’s so far away!” but then I thought to myself, “That live to air broadcast I keep hearing on Energy 108 radio (now defunct) sounds pretty fierce! Maybe we should check it out, the party must be great” I said. So, in minus 20 Celsius, my friend and I hopped into the car and drove all the way to Kitchener to check the Lyric out. Looking back, it was really neat when we did crazy stuff on the spur of the moment like decide to drive 120 kilometers to check out a nightclub.

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Basically, It was a long 2-hour drive to the Lyric but we kept the Dance music pumping on the car stereo system to get us jacked up for the party. I was really excited to see what all the fuss was about the Lyric as it was on the radio every Friday. We finally got to Kitchener, and it was like stepping back in time. The downtown core where the Lyric was located looked like it was right out of the late 1800s or early 1900s. Many of the buildings were very old and historic. I was like “Okay, where’s the club???”  I didn’t see any large buildings that looked like a nightclub (most nightclubs in the 90s were in huge buildings).

King Street was the main street in Kitchener where we ended up parking our car. Because of the extreme cold, we quickly ran to where the Lyric was and all I saw was an entrance to what looked like a cinema or theater. “Is this where the club is?” I asked my friend. “Yup, this is it, 122 King Street West” he said. There was a huge old sign from the 30s or 40s that hung above the entrance with the words “Lyric” written vertically on it. This was it! We had finally made it to the Lyric and my curiosity was killing me. My friends and I opened the door and walked in to the club, what I saw just blew me away. The Lyric used to be an old theater with a large stage and who ever owned it now, converted it into a nightclub. I told my friends that this was incredible, a nightclub inside a huge old theater, so cool! As we made our way inside the club, we could see hundreds of people dancing and partying. The number of people inside the club was close to a thousand.

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Most of the clubbers inside were 20-somethings from the local colleges and university in Kitchener. It looked like it was the hottest party in the city, I was really glad that we made the journey that night. The music was really loud inside as Eurodance, techno and house music was being played that night. There was a long island bar right in the middle of the club and all the old seating for the theater had been ripped out to make room for the bar and large dance floor area. Sources on the internet say that the old theater had 1420 seats, so you get an idea of how big the interior of the Lyric was. Shooter girls were walking all over the club with their trays full of shot glasses. After ordering our drinks at the island bar in the center of the club, we made our way towards the dance floor by the stage in the front of the club. Along the way, I looked around and it seemed that the Lyric was one huge auditorium. Of all the clubs that I went to up until that point, nothing had looked like this one. For a brief second, I looked up at the ceiling and I couldn’t believe my eyes. The ceiling was nearly five stories high and still had its original decorative plaster design minus the chandeliers. I was amazed at what I saw; it was a blend of the old and the new. An old historic building with modern nightclub, what a combination!

After hanging out on the dance floor for a while, we finally made our way through the crowd of people to the large stage area in the front. The stage was open to people who wanted to dance there. There was a long metal railing that ran across the front of the stage so that no one would fall down. It was at least over a meter from the stage level to the dance floor below, so I could see why the club put a safety bar there as a precaution. Standing on the stage and looking back at where we had come from, gave me an idea of the size of the place. It took me a while to absorb it all. I was really at the Lyric nightclub! The club was rammed with partygoers that night so we got lucky and picked the right night to come.

The music was incredible that night and I wondered who was dropping all those fierce beats. I just happened to look over to the left hand side of the stage where the DJ booth was. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes, it’s was the legendary Chris Sheppard of Pirate radio fame! Shep was spinning the vinyl in the booth and of course was surrounded by an entourage beautiful ladies. I stood there watching him DJ for a few minutes and it was surreal. Chris Sheppard was larger than life in the 90s. He was a nightclub icon and a really famous DJ. I had heard him on the radio several times and had heard his Dance music CD compilations before, but to see him live was awesome.

Chris Sheppard did live to air broadcasts from RPM and the Warehouse nightclubs in Toronto during the early 90s. By 1996, he became the resident DJ at the Lyric. Chris Sheppard was influential in discovering dance music and sharing it with Canadians during the early 90s. Dance, Eurodance and techno were extremely popular music genres during that decade because of him. The night we went to the Lyric was also a live to air on Energy 108 radio, so most of Ontario was listening to Shep DJ inside the club.

After a couple of hours at the Lyric, we finally decided to head back home. I took one more look at Chris Sheppard before heading to the exit to leave for the night. We got back to the car and made the long drive back to Mississauga. It wasn’t the Roxbury, but a night at the Lyric was really neat and an experience that I’ll never forget. If I had the opportunity, I would have gone back to that legendary nightclub again. It was one of the most unique and interesting night club venues that I’ve ever been to.

The Eurodance Guy

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About The Author

The fascination with nightclubs and club life has led the Eurodance Guy to have experienced 40 nightclub venues since the early 90s in Toronto and southern Ontario. The love for Dance music, particularly Eurodance, is what drives his soul. His club tour continues as he visits current venues in search of great and exciting parties.

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