Saturday, April 22, 2006

Still chasin' the cat

George Clinton.
He doesn't sing much anymore when he perform. He mumbles into the mike, throws his hands up and walks around the stage, but that's all fans need. They come to catch a glimpse of George, but mostly to dance and sing to funk favorites.

On Saturday, hands waved in the air as everyone celebrated the funk. Parliament gave them the expected cast of characters -- the guy in the diaper, the freaky guy for "Atomic Dog" and Clinton. The crowd stretched for at least a block. The band didn't disappoint and people abandoned their bag chairs to stand and dance to the classics.

Next up -- Aretha Franklin.

I'm pumped. I've never seen her live.

A pleasant country surprise

After leaving The Red Tub, we headed back to the festival. We were actually going to leave for a little break, but were drawn to the Miller Lite Stage where country singer and Columbia native Lauren Lucas was performing. We hung around there for a minute digging her music. It was pop-country and fun.

Red Tub

After watching Fa Sho, we walked around the rest of the festival. It spans across the Congaree River and into West Columbia. There are two stages on the other side of the bridge and one in the middle of the bridge. The stage on the bridge is weird because people constantly walking front of the performers.

The merchandise vendors are also on the bridge, which makes sense. The festival doesn't have nearly as many merchandise or food vendors this year as it's had in years past, but we stumbled upon this great South African jewelry vendor. I charged up my credit card buying chokers and bracelets from them.

While we were taking a little hiatus, we stumbled upon State Street in West Columbia. We wandered into the New Brookland Tavern, but it was too dark and grungy for my mood. We continued up the block and found the Red Tub. You've got to walk up a set of steps like the ones at the Wine Up to get to the lounge. Once upstairs you're glad you made the trip. The place is cute and tiny. It's two small rooms, even smaller than Wine Up. Dali style abstract art by local artists adorn the walls. The bartender was nice. It's dark inside with hardwood floors and an extensive import bottle beer list. They specialize in live performances by singer-songwriter style artists. The air conditioner wasn't working, so it was stifling inside.

In the bathroom, I found guess what -- a red tub.

Next B2K?

Atlanta's Fa Sho' stepped onto the mainstage with B2K and New Edition style moves. Four distinct personalities for the ladies, limited singing ability and pearl-clutching dance moves. Cute guys. With a litte coaching they might blow up for the kiddies.

Dirty old men in the club

My favorite moment at Rio Nightlife was watching a wanna be sugar daddy get shot down by a young honey. I spotted him as soon as he walked onto the dancefloor.

Most of the people inside Rio were under age 30 and wore jeans for the fellas and black stretchy dresses for the women. The old man wore a pin-striped brown suit. He looked to be older than my own daddy. He walked onto around the dancefloor looking the women up and down. He spotted a young cutie with long black hair and black dress standing in the corner talking with friends.

Target locked.

He kept walking if he didn't see her, but I knew he'd back. He finally made his way back near her and her friends. He hovered. A few seconds later, the old man was in the young woman's ear. Her body language told him to bounce, but he kept yapping. After a few futile moments, he walked away and then left the club.

Young lady - 1, Dirty old man - 0.

Eats, drinks and chillin' in Columbia

Okay, I didn't make it in time to check out any bands on Friday night. By the time, I got to Columbia, S.C. and hooked up with my buddy it was felt too late to do the media check in thing at the festival.

Instead sampled, Columbia's nightlife. The last time I was here, I hung in the Vista area. Last night, some friends and I went to Hunter Gatherer on Main Street. From the name of it, I thought it was going ot be a true meat-market, but it was more a folksy more rustic version of the vibe at the Evening Muse. Apparently, Hunter Gathere is one of the first brewpubs in the state. It looks like an old hardware or farm supply store, but African masks adorn the walls and beams. The doors to the bathroom are antique wood doors with stained glass. They look like something you'd find after much searching in a junkyard.

An old-timey band played on stage. I figured Hunter Gather would be all charm with average food, but I was pleasantly surprised. The grouper on a bed of stoneground yellow grits was huge and delicious. The hot black bean dip and duck over warm salad greens were also good. For desert we had a moist rum cake. The menu was small, but varied with several dishes that I wanted to return and try.

After dinner, we stopped by Delaney's Speakeasy on Saluda Avenue in Little Five Points. The area is a strip of bars where college-age students and yuppies mill spill onto the sidewalks in front of bars. It's my kind of area, not as polished as uptown, but still lively. I dug Speakeasy. If I lived here, it would be teh first place I took visitors. When you first walk in, it's long and narrow bar kind of like Liquid Lounge. The back opens to a spacious area with sofas and a gas fireplace. We huddled on a couple of oversized sofas, and ordered drinks from a reluctant server. Note: if you go, order drinks at the bar and then find a seat. Speakeasy has a huge imported bottled beer selection that rivals Hotel Charlotte. Music sets the tone, but it's not so loud that you can't have a conversation.

We finished the night at Rio Nightlife on Main. That was a mistake. It's strictly for young hip-hop fan, but what made the place whack is that It felt like a high school dance. Boys danced together and the girls danced together. It's like each group was scared to talk to each other.