Friday, January 18, 2008

Tone Loc gets wild

With a voice even raspier than I remember, rapper Tone Loc had dozens of fans jumping and singing at Buckwild Saloon in the University area on Thursday. I hadn’t been to the place since its grand opening last year, and I was glad to see that they serve food until midnight. I tried the B.L.T and French fries. They use Texas toast for the bread, and it was deliciously unhealthy. And so were the well-seasoned fries.

Slightly before midnight, Tone Loc took the stage. Surprisingly, the famed ’80s rapper joined by his hypeman/DJ/roadie performed his big hit “Funky Cold Medina” as the second song. His set consisted of covers of hip-hop classics such as “Rapper’s Delight” as well as an audience call and response to an AC/DC beat that Tone Loc rapped over. Larken and I wanted to hear Tone Loc’s other hit “Wild Thing,” but we left during the rapper’s “American Idol” style contest.

Get this, on Friday morning, I learned that after we left, Tone Loc suffered a seizure while performing. Paramedics treated him, and he finished the show. Now, that’s wild.

Jill Scott is coming - supposedly

I know some of you all have been wondering about the Jill Scott concert that was scheduled for March 1 and then unofficially postponed. Here is an edited e-mail from the promoter Michael Alexander regarding my inability to reach him, and the latest on the show.

"I am responding to your article in concerning the Jill Scott concert.

First, let me inform you that we are in the process of moving to a new office that is on the Time Warner system instead of Bell South, and for some reason, a recording giving our new office number was not attached to the old one.

Now, as far as Jill Scott is concerned, the date is being rescheduled to Friday, April 4, 2008 at Cricket Arena because of the following:

1. Jill is sold out for 2 shows in both Norfolk, VA, and Greensboro, NC on February 29 and March 2. It was determined by her management that trying to do Charlotte on March 1st would be too many shows for Jill to do in a short period of time.
2. The only time period left on the tour that she could play Charlotte was the first week in April. Ovens is booked through April 7th, so we chose
Cricket Arena.
3. The demand for advance tickets to the concert has been so intense that we chose to play a larger hall, so that Jill would only have to play 1 show.

I will let you know all details as soon as they are complete. There you have it...

I truly apologize for the delay in updating you on this situation before now, However, my staff and I have been bogged down moving to our new office."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lil' E's Whisky River update

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Whisky River is one of several spots slated to open in uptown's EpiCentre in coming months.
The complex, which will house retail, restaurants and bars, may not have a splashy grand opening anytime soon because spots will be opening one at time, said Bar Management Group’s Bob Durkin. But the countdown to the EpiCentre’s opening has begun.
Whisky River, a bar and live-music venue, may open in March. Sometime later this month or in February, the club will have a contest for Whisky Chicks (cute girls who will work there) and deejays. Also in late March, Durkin plans to open the EpiCentre’s rooftop terrace. It’s going to have a crazy view of the city’s skyline, a bar and a stage.
Next up are Suite, a Top 40 club and lounge; Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar; and BlackFinn Restaurant and Saloon, BMG’s Irish pub concept, which might be ready in May. The bowling alley may be open by this summer.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Big events for '08

What’s up, party people! It’s time for the annual big events list.

Feb. 1: Bada Bing! The Sopranos Party hosted by cast members Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa. The Forum.
Feb. 9: Fifth annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Party. Cans.
Feb. 17: Seventh annual Charlotte Bartender’s Ball. The Blake Hotel. (Wahoo!)
Feb. 25-March 2: CIAA basketball tournament. Uptown and Center City. (Wahoo!)
March 15: Rich & Bennett’s Eighth annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl uptown. (Wahoo!)

April 25: A Royal Affair: Black and white masquerade ball to benefit M.A.P. Doubletree Hotel in SouthPark.
April 16: Taste of the Nation. Wachovia Atrium.
April 18: Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood concert. Charlotte Bobcats Arena.
April 27: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert. Bobcats Arena.
May 3: ELEVATE’s and KISS 95.1’s
Cinco de Mayo Festival. The EpiCentre.
June 6-June 8: Taste of Charlotte.

July 12: Socialympics IV is Revenge of the Nerds meets Greek Week. Presented by RockHouse Events and
Aug. 9: Second annual Irish Summer Festival. Parking lot next to Connolly’s Irish Pub.
Sept. 12-13: Blues, Brews and BBQ. Center City.

Sept. 26-27: Culinary Arts Festival. Center City. (Wahoo!)
Sept. 27: Charlotte Oktoberfest. Location TBA. (Wahoo!)
Nov. 1: Grave Diggers Ball Halloween Party. Dixie’s Tavern.
Dec. 6: Elevate’s and’s Ninth Annual Uptown Santa Bar Crawl. Uptown.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I'm leaving Paid to Party

It’s been real y'all, but as I've already told many of the folks on the nightlife beat, next week is my last week doing the Paid to Party gig. Since October, I’ve been splitting time between nightlife and shooting political videos. Beginning on Jan. 21, I’ll cover politics full-time.

I’ve dubbed myself the Observer’s political video columnist. I’ll shoot two videos a week focusing on the 2008 national and state elections. My goal is to reach people under age 35. Along with the experts, I want to feature fun, young folks talking about politics.

I’ve already shot videos with Kevin Mitchell of the Forum, Carleen Shankle of Lotus/Civilian, MC David Galloway and others talking about the presidential race. My videos will have serious news information as well as silly stuff. The videos are called That’s Wassup! Find them at

Sarah Aarthun, who does the A List, will be taking over the Paid to Party beat. Reach her at

I’ll still be hanging out, but mostly at Hom, Loft 1523, Soul (when it opens) and the real hip-hop joints. I’ll also be doing some politics-related interviews at events such as the Bartender’s Ball and Oktoberfest. If you see me with the camera, holla, and let me shoot you before you drink too much.

If you’re young and interested in the presidential race holla.

Jill Scott update

Here’s the deal with Jill Scott:

I don’t know the deal. The show was originally booked with Ovens on March 1, but now it’s no longer confirmed. Michael Alexander, the promoter who called me to announce that she was coming, has a disconnected phone number.

My contact at Ovens (who is reliable) says she will let me know as soon as she knows. I’m still trying to track down a contact with Scott’s people.

With that said, if you were planning to go the Greensboro show on March 2, go.

Friday, January 04, 2008

New uptown restaurant

The restaurant portion of Hom opened this week with a menu boasting fancy salads, sandwiches and crepes. Equally fancy is the decor. Gone are the dark hues of Menage/Belle’s BBQ, replaced by wood-paneled columns, black and white tapestry walls, red booths and white chairs.

The restaurant feels chic. On Thursday, we ate the seafood crepe, which was full of plump shrimp and scallops. We also tried the organic chicken sandwich, which brimmed with meat. Each came with a healthy portion of mixed greens bathed in a light dressing.
My only complaint was that the brie wasn’t warm. Owner James Funderburk lectured me that brie should be room temperature. We told him Table had better brie, and he told us to go to Table. (Then he hugged me.)

Feast is definitely the most exciting restaurant to open uptown because its supposed to stay open until 4 a.m. on the weekends and offer a full menu. I’m curious, however, to see how the frou-frou menu will go over at 2 a.m., when partiers are drunk and want some simple eggs, bacon and grits. Or better yet, liver mush!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Crazy NYE partiers

Last year, I rang in the New Year in Baltimore because I was home for a Redskins game. (Did I mention that the 'Skins beat Dallas on Sunday, and we’re in the playoffs this year?)

So this year, I wanted to experience three of Charlotte’s most popular NYE events: the John Lineberger and friends’ party at Woods on South, Rich & Bennett’s bash at Hawthorne’s, and the party at Loft 1523.

I started at about 10:30 p.m. at Lineberger’s party, which was crowded, but not oppressive. Couples and friends danced to a mix of new and old rap, ranging from “Cyclone” to “In Da Club.”
Out of the three parties, this was the most sane. At Hawthorne’s and Loft, it was totally different.

The walk to the VIP area was like sitting in traffic on Independence Boulevard. Bodies pressed against each other, drinks held high in the air to avoid spillage; a woman with walk rage pushed her way through the gridlock.

After meeting up with Larken and his crew in the VIP area, I headed to the dance floor. Party organizers covered the restaurant’s parking lot with a giant tent that served as the dancefloor. Hundreds of people danced to hits such as “Ayo Technology” and “Crank Dat.”

Few had enough space to actually do the dance that goes with Soulja Boy's hit. I watched the countdown in the VIP area, which had a television. As the countdown began, the music stopped and revelers ticked off the seconds until 2007 faded into 2008.

After kisses were exchanged, the music blasted again, beer bottles started breaking, and it was time for me to go.

My final stop of the night was at Loft 1523. I had the highest expectations for this party because the Loft folks took over Volare restaurant.

I figured Loft would be chill, and Volare would be rowdy, but the entire place was crazy. People spilled out of both spots and stumbled up and down the stairs between the two. Walking around was like being inside a pinball machine: People either bumped you or spilled drinks on you. Neither felt good. DJ Buddy was spinning in Volare, but only a few people were dancing when I stopped by at about 12:15 a.m.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Warming up for New Year's Eve

We started partying last week on Wednesday and we partied like it was 1999.
The partying began Wednesday with the end of Pop Life. Oh, the horror! On Thursday, Kitch, Larken and I went to the Hensley’s holiday party at Oceanaire. The lump crab cakes and as usual, the oysters, were off the hook. Food writers from various publications were there, as well as former City Councilwoman Lynn Wheeler, whom I hadn’t seen in forever.
After Oceanaire, we ran by Tilt for the final Creative Lounging party, and then to the Blitzen’s Holiday Bash at Morehead Street Tavern. Downstairs they had a dessert spread from Costco that included sheet cake, cookies and mini chocolate bars. I wasn’t really feeling that. Upstairs, they had chicken wings, potato skins and dip. I’m still not sure the hot spread was part of the party, but we ate it anyway.
We ended the night at Tempo for the holiday staff party. Oh my goodness. The owners treated everyone to cocktails. Broderick laid out the buffet with macaroni and cheese, chicken wings, green beans and more. It was like hanging out with your family.
Some people played cards, Tempo co-owner Jumaane Torrence let us play with his remote control Corvette that Santa gave him. Jumaane was going to put together the basketball goal that Santa also brought early, but he realized it was way too hard. Periodically, people bumrushed the dance floor and then they’d rush the bar for drinks.
On Friday, Kitch, Road Dawg and I went to Hom’s Liv lounge. DJ Johnnie Davis got a gig there at the last minute and it was on. We took over the lounge’s small dance floor, dancing and chanting. I was exhausted by the time we went home early Saturday morning. What a way to welcome Christmas.
I’m in Alabama with my friends until Sunday, but if you’re looking for something to do this weekend before New Year’s Eve, I’ve got you. Neo-soul singer Bilal performs at Tempo on Friday, and Davis spins at Hom’s Play (Yep! The big room) on Friday as well.