Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A rap attack in Charlote (New shows added)

We haven’t gotten any huge rap shows at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena or Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre this year, but it plenty of major rappers are hitting the smaller venues.
This summer is starting to get exceptionally busy. Here’s a look at some upcoming shows.
One of the hip-hop shows biggest of the summer -- the Outta School Crunk Jump Off -- hits Cricket Arena on Saturday. Artists like DJ Unk (“2 Step”; “Walk it Out”), Baby Boy da Prince (“The Way I Live”), Jibbs (“Chain Hang Low”), Fabo and more will perform. 5 p.m. $20. All ages.

*T-Pain, known for hits “I’m N Luv (Wit a Stripper) ” and “Buy U a Drank,” will perform at Crush on Sunday. 10 p.m. $20 and up.

*Lil Flip performs hits such as "Playa 4 Life" and more at this pre-Independence Day party on Tuesday. 9 p.m. NV lounge.

*Bone Thugs-N-Harmony -- whose new disc, “Strength & Loyalty,” features the tune “I Tried” -- will perform at NV lounge on July 13. $20.

*DMX performs at Amos’ Southend on July 18. The New York based rap-rock band Bazaar Royale, which is building underground buzz, will open. 8 p.m. $25.

Talib Kweli performs at the Neighbhorhood Theatre on Aug. 1.9 p.m. $25.

Power 98’s SummerFest which brings Lil Boosie, Lil Webbie, Crime Mob, Gorilla Zoe and Heizman Boyz to Cricket Arena on August 4. The first 1000 tickets are $10. The rest are $24.

Pete Rock, Little Brother, Supastition, and DJ DR will perform at the Neighborhood Theatre on Aug. 5. The event will also include an art exhibit, indie film screening, breakdancers and vendors. 8:30 p.m. $18, $25.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Snug Harbor mystery

After I wrote about the new bar Snug Harbor, a reader asked if I knew the origins of the name of the Plaza-Midwood bar. The reader wondered if it pays any homage or respect to the famous jazz club Snug Harbor in New Orleans.

The folks at Snug Harbor said in an e-mail the idea actually came from the 1987 Mickey Rourke/Faye Dunaway film "Barfly" -- it's the name of a pub shown during the opening credits.

There are actually several Snug Harbors across the states. In addition to the Snug Harbor in New Orleans, there is a large cultural center on Staten Island's north shore bearing the same name.

Our Snug Harbor pays homage to all those that have come before it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Chuck Brown at Amos' Southend

When Chuck Brown comes to town for the CIAA tournament, he always draws enough people to fill two hotel ballrooms.

But it wasn't clear whether the go-go legend could draw a large crowd without the CIAA -- until Saturday. That night, the crowd in Amos’ Southend danced and grooved to classics like “Bustin’ Loose,” “Moody’s Mood for Love” and “Run Joe,” and new cuts such as “Chuck Baby” and “Block Party.”

Go-go builds on a constant percussion groove while an artist sings. Artists make go-go versions of hit songs, as well as original tunes.

One of the best parts of Saturday’s show was when Brown stepped to the back and played guitar while Lil’ Benny took over. I was standing upstairs watching from the balcony as Benny led the crowd through the motorcycle dance. He’d point, and the sea of bodies would lean to the right, then to the left. I usually loathe group dances, but watching all the bodies moving together on this night was cool.

Anyway, I want to know: Do you think Charlotte can support go-go on a consistent basis? Do y’all want more go-go? Post your replies below.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fall Out Boy even better live

I didn’t realize I knew so many songs by Fall Out Boy until I was sitting in the concert nodding my head to many of them.

The show at Verizon on Wednesday drew a smaller crowd than I anticipated. I expected the parking lot to be packed when I drove up but it wasn’t. While out there, I ran into Brandon and several co-workers from JHE, who were out tailgating. They’re a rowdy bunch with the feisty Maria (Brandon’s boo), the girl hunting Rook (adorably cute) and more subtle girl-magnet Kenneth. I joined them in the VIP section. It was my first time - wahoo! Thanks guys.

The crowd was smaller than I anticipated, but men and women stood and hooted throughout most of the show. Is Fall Out Boy the band for bodybuilders?

For some odd reason, I saw a lot of beefy guys there. Although, the band did have this weird fascination with testosterone. For example, during “The Steroid,” a man onstage did pushups throughout the song. Later in the show, a young girl put baseballs in a pitching machine that shot the balls at a man wearing a catcher’s mask.

When the band wasn’t filling the show with those types of antics, they cranked out expected hits such as “This Ain’t A Scene” and “Sugar We’re Going Down,” the band played a rocking version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”

I loved Patrick Stump’s noodling version of Akon’s “Don’t Matter.”
Best part was Stump didn’t hump a girl on stage or lob a teen into the audience.

Did you go to the concert? What did you think? Post your replies below.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wentz didn't act sick on Wednesday

Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz was supposedly too sick to DJ at the Forum on Wednesday, but his “illness” didn’t stop him from jumping around the stage at Verizon.

Wentz was supposed to DJ an after-party at the Forum, but on Wednesday afternoon the club announced that Wentz’s management said he was ill. It sounded fishy from the git-go, but after seeing him perform, I believe the illness story even less.

What do you think happened? Post your replies below.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Folks at Steamers love this country

A city ordinance banning businesses from flying more than three flags might be the best thing that happened to Steamers, a cozy sportsbar off Albemarle Road.
I live near the bar, and have passed it numerous times, but I never bothered to stop until Saturday. The bar organized a Red, White & Blue party to show that the nine flags that flew atop the bar were to show patriotism, not draw business. Being forced to remove the flags gave owner Bill Nolan more publicity than the nine flags ever did. His dilemma became fodder for talk radio last week after an article ran in the Charlotte Observer.
On Saturday, I stopped by the bar. Every small pub calls itself a Cheers and this one is no different. Tracy Thomas is the den mother and seemed to know everybody there. Many regulars have gone there for more than a dozen years and friendly newcomers are immediately welcome.
Steamers doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside it's lined with plasma flat screen TVs that show sports. It’s a Panthers and Eagles bar, but I’ve been assured that even my Redskin-lovin’ booty would be welcome. They have karaoke on weekends. Pool tables, darts and foosball games are in the back. In anticipation of an eventual ban on smoking, there’s an enclosed outside patio with heat and fans.
Steamers serves the typical range of bar food, but get this: Burgers are served on wheat buns!
If you go, ask for Tracy and prepare to find a new place to hang.

Bread pudding war

For the last year, Kitch and I have debated about who has the best bread pudding in the city.
He liked the pudding at Copeland’s. I thought it was okay. He raved about Table’s, but it was petite and pretty. I loathe petite and pretty - give me food. I suggested Fenwick’s. He wasn’t impressed.
Last night, I finally got him to try the bread pudding at Hotel Charlotte at Sharon Amity and Providence. The restaurant gives you a heaping bowl and it’s sooo good.
When the bartender sat the bowl in front of us, Kitch raked his spoon across the top, ate a small piece and said it was good. When he ordered a shot of Grand Marnier, I knew I had won him over.
Our next mission is to find a place to go late night for dessert. I hate feeding a late-night sweet tooth with a McDonald’s sundae.
Who has good desserts and serves until at least 10 p.m.? And what’s your favorite spot for dessert? Post your replies below.

Monday, June 11, 2007

DJ Jazzy Jeff coming to Amos'

As long as I've known promoter Mike Kitchen, he's always raved about DJ Jazzy Jeff. I've always thought of Jazzy Jeff as the sidekick to rapper the Fresh Prince (a.k.a. Will Smith). I tried to see Jazzy Jeff spin at a boat party in Miami during the Winter Music Conference in March. But the organizers were full of crap, and me and hundreds of other partiers never made it onto the boat after standing in line for more than an hour. (Can you tell I'm still bitter?)

Anyway, I'll finally get to see Jazzy Jeff spin when he comes to Amos' Southend on July 21. Kitch has been trying to bring him here for two years, and he's giddy with excitement over the show. Like I said, I only know Jazzy Jeff through the Fresh Prince, but apparently he's one of the hottest DJs in the country. He's known for his mixing skills and deep stacks of classic and underground hip-hop. This is his first Carolina appearance. Raleigh's DJ BroRabb, who I love, will open.

Tickets will be available at or (Don't forget: Go-go's godfather Chuck Brown performs at Amos' on Saturday. Wind me up, Chuck!)

I'm curious to see if Jazzy Jeff lives up to Kitch's hype. I'm even more curious to see if Charlotte hip-hop heads will support the show and have fun. We don't get a lot of DJ shows at Amos'. Big-name DJs tend to go to dance clubs like the Forum, Eden or Velocity. I want to know: Will hip-hop fans head to Amos' for a night of dancing to some of the hottest beats? Will they go and simply nod their head, looking cool? Or will they go elsewhere? Am I the only person who didn't realize that Jazzy Jeff was such a popular DJ?

Post your thoughts below.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Taverna's happy hour needs work

I tried the Thursday happy hour at Taverna 100 on Tryon Street uptown, and I can tell you this: I won’t be a regular.
The portions were small, the dishes were just okay, and the service was slow.
Taverna calls its Thursday specials Banker’s Hours. On paper, it sounds great: half off appetizers, and half-price beer and fruity martinis.

The problem is that when we went, the only server was both tending bar and waiting on the tables in the bar area. She had to wait on the handful of people at the bar, a couple sitting in a booth, our party of six, and another party of six. As nice as she was, it took a while for her to make the rounds.

The bigger problem, however, was the portions. With the exception of the mussels, everything was itty-bitty. For example, the kabobs were tasty, but we only got two small sticks. That’s not going to cut it.

Half-price beer is awesome, but if Taverna wants to draw more patrons, they’re going to have to dish out more grub.

Real dancing at Grand Central

Couples twirled, dipped and danced to jazz and swing classics at Grand Central on Monday.
Monday nights at the Central Avenue club feature some of the best dance music in the city. Each week, Bill Hanna’s Vintage Dance Band -- which includes some of his CPCC students -- plays for a crowd of people mostly over age 50.

The vibe is relaxed, and the music is slamming -- if you dig Big Band-era music. Men lead the women onto the floor and show off their waltz, swing, foxtrot and jitterbug skills. There’s a cash bar, and a light appetizer and sandwich menu. (The potstickers were good, and the chicken wings are crispy.) Grand Central has a smoking lounge, so you're less likely to smell like smoke when you leave. In coming weeks, dance lessons will be offered.

The band plays from 8-11 p.m (although people were leaving by 10 the night we went). Details: 704-373-1699. If you can’t make the Monday night gatherings, try Swing Tuesday at Lynn’s on South Tryon Street near Tyvola Road, hosted by the Charlotte Jitterbugs. Details:

Sorry nerds, I mean geeks

In my video report this week about ConCarolinas, I referred to attendees of the sci-fi and gaming convention as nerds. I was wrong.

They are geeks.

My mistake has sparked a discussion in the ConCarolinas online forum about the difference between nerds and geeks. Apparently, the guys in the Alltel commercial are nerds, but the folks who attend ConCarolinas are geeks.

Silly me.

My punishment is that I will not get to be a dungeon master (darn), and I will have to eat Klingon food (yuck).

$1,000 martini

Capital Grille bartender Paul shows me how to make a $1,000 martini.

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On Wednesday, I tried a $1,000 martini!

It’s called The Capital Grille’s Carolina Blue Charity Martini. The national chain has sold at least three here and more than 100

It’s has Ciroc Vodka, Crème de Mure and fresh berries, and is adorned with a Blue Topaz and Diamond Caviar Rope Bracelet designed by Steven Lagos. If you like fruity drinks, then this martini is for you. Without the bracelet, it’ll cost you $10, but then you can’t tell all of your friends you drank a $1,000 martini.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

You don't have to drink and drive

Hey partiers, now you have no excuse for drinking and driving.

Starting June 15, Red Fish Entertainment and Kount Down Entertainment will host the Charlotte Party Bus. Buses will club-hop to the hottest parties, then return you to your pickup point at the end of the night. The crawl costs $35 in advance, and $40 at the bus. Drinks on the bus are free. For an additional fee, you can use Two Guys and Ride, which is a company that drives you and your car home.

Pickup locations are the Wal-Marts on Mount Holly-Huntersville Road and in University, as well as Southend Brewery and Eastland Mall’s parking lots. The June 15 crawl itinerary hasn’t been finalized, but when it has, I will post it on the Paid to Party blog.

Seriously folks: Drinking and driving is no joke, and this is a great concept. I definitely plan to try it out. I hope you do as well.

Coliseum implosion was cool

A toast to the good old days and new beginnings.

When I moved here, the Hornets were a fixture. As a Maryland native, my favorite NBA team was the Washington Bullets, or Wizards, or whatever they were called back then. Part of what turned me off about the Hornets was Alonzo Mourning, who I watched when he played for Georgetown -- I always thought he whined too much. (But I did like the gutsy Muggsy Bogues.)
My fondest memories of the Hive were concerts.

Last Sunday, I joined about 100 other people who watched the Coliseum crumble into rubble at Pope & Land’s implosion party. For me, watching the implosion wasn’t about nostalgia, but a chance to watch a building go down. I’ve always wanted to see one.

After interviewing Bogues and Calvin Easter, who pushed the button that set off the detonation, I began thinking about my favorite moments at the Coliseum.

*Janet Jackson perform in 2001: The crowd was so hype, it was incredible.
*The Tina Turner concert in 2000: I felt so fortunate to see someone of her stature.
*Cyndi Lauper’s opening performance for Cher in 1999: I didn’t realize how much I liked her.
*U2 in 2001: It’s U2. What more do I need to say? Plus, they had a heart-shaped stage, and fans stood both inside and outside of it. I still remember my editors going nuts trying to warn me about the deadly Who stampede.
*Neil Diamond in 2002: I can still smell the Ben-Gay.

Still, the best memory I will ever have about the Charlotte Coliseum was watching that baby implode. Awesome.
What was the best concert you ever saw at the Charlotte Coliseum? And did you watch the implosion? What did you think? Post your replies below.

McCoy's loves Harleys

Hanging at Mac's Speed Shop for their two-year anniversary on Thursday.

McCoy's on a Friday night.

I’ve been riding motorcycles for 10 years, but biker-bar-hopping the last couple of weeks made me feel like a real biker.

I was at Cans' Tuesday night Bike Night a few ago, but last week I hit two straight-up biker bars: Mac’s and McCoy’s.
Thursday, I joined dozens of other bikers celebrating Mac’s Speed Shop’s two-year anniversary. Simplified, a local band that is steadily improving, performed. Bikers and FOBs (Friends of Bikers) streamed outside the popular restaurant and bar.

If you’ve been to Mac’s, you know their food is ridiculous. They cook their chicken wings and other meats in a smoker. They also have a huge selection of craft brews, which is what first drew me to the place. And don't forget the deviled eggs.
Mac’s is my favorite yuppie biker bar, but McCoy’s -- which is around the corner from Mac's, at Woodlawn and Old Pineville Road -- is the place to go when I’m feeling like a roughneck.

Ryan Register, who managed the Men’s Club, followed his dream and opened the bar with his father Namon and brother Jimmy about six months ago. Register named it after his grandfather. Relatives say Register reminds them of his grandfather.

McCoy’s has a rougher vibe, a smaller selection of beer, and slammin’ food. They also smoke all of their meats. Their chicken wings were delicious, pulled pork melted on my fork, and they even had good macaroni and cheese (I rarely like mac 'n' cheese unless it comes from a soul-food restaurant.)

Most of his patrons last Friday were Harley-Davidson riders. When I pulled into the lot, the doorman directed me to put my Honda Shadow in the far parking lot. I wasn’t allowed to park my bike next to all the Harleys out front.
I screamed segregation. Register assured me that it wasn’t the bike, but the lack of available parking. (I still don’t believe you!)

When I walked in, several patrons looked me up and down, but the staff was friendly. By the end of the night, I exchanged goodbyes with a few patrons.

If you go, Register typically hires a Dyno machine or a burnout bike to set up in the parking lot on Fridays. The noise makes it difficult to hold a conversation on the patio, but both are fun to watch.