Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cans block party

Mini-Kiss has to be the most hysterical live show I’ve seen since I saw Renelvis perform live several years ago.

They are a band of little people who play Kiss songs. They sound great until the singing starts. Once they start singing, they sound so awful it’s funny. The band’s make-up is impeccable, and they are crazy-energetic. If you ever get a chance to see them, you have to go.

The band opened for Rob Base and E.Z. Rock at the Cans one-year anniversary block party last Saturday. The hip-hop act only has two songs, “Joy and Pain” and “It Takes Two,” so they spent their set performing contemporary hits and old-school rap hits. The crowd loved it all and sang along. The highlight was Base’s singer and hype man Kyle Riffken. He looks thugged out, but he can sing.

Cans, at Graham and Fifth streets, held the party in the parking lot across the street. Along with live music, they had a Red Bull lounge area with giant bean bags, one of those bop ’em air things (where friends beat each other up with giant air-filled batons) and Cornhole games. Partiers either played games, chilled at patio tables or mingled around the stage area.

If a block party seems extravagant for only one year, the folks at Cans have reason to celebrate: Apparently, the Charlotte location did better than expected and the owners may have other concepts in mind for this area. Right now, that’s all on the hush, hush.

Snug Harbor coming to Plaza-Midwood

Snug Harbor will be the newest addition to the Plaza-Midwood nightlife scene.

It’s a live-music bar at the corner of Central and Pecan avenues. It used to be Fire and Ice martini lounge. The spot is owned by Scott McCannell, a bartender at Dish, and Daylon Brumfield, who worked for concert powerhouse Live Nation.

Snug Harbor is scheduled to open the first weekend in May, and will feature national, regional and local rock, bluegrass and jazz bands. It’s not a big space, but McCannell is used to booking acts for small venues. He booked acts at Fat City in NoDa for a while in the mid-’90s. The bands at Snug Harbor will be acts that draw small but enthusiastic crowds.

McCannell said they rebuilt the bar, removed the couches and added some booths. The stage is larger, the sound system is new, and they have beefed up the DJ booth, he said. He hopes to eventually open the patio out back.

His goal is to have people hanging out there even if a band isn’t performing. Along with live music, Scott Weaver will DJ and have go-go dancers on Thursdays. On Sundays, Brad Presley (a.k.a. the Rev. of Soul) will spin old-school music.

McCannell said he’s been looking for a place in the area for the last couple of years. He wanted to be in Plaza-Midwood because, “Everybody in this neighborhood, I consider them family.”

Alley Cat opens uptown Friday

The wait is over.

Alley Cat, the newest venture by the crew who owns the Forum and Cosmos, opens Friday.

Alley Cat occupies the former home of the Hut and Have A Nice Day Cafe on College Street, between Sixth and Seventh streets.
The newest features are an outdoor patio on College Street that will feature small bands, and there’s a kitchen that will be operated by The Penguin restaurant.

Although live music will be a big attraction for the bar, co-owner Andy Kastanas wants the club to be a destination, which is why the kitchen is an important feature. People can go there and hang out even if there isn’t a band performing.

Kastanas said Alley Cat isn’t trying to compete with other uptown music venues, and won’t be going after big-time acts. Instead, it will feature a lot of local bands and cover bands.

Alley Cat will be open Wednesday through Saturday. The nightly themes are: country night on Wednesdays, college night on Thursdays, original music on Fridays and a house band on Saturdays.
At tonight's grand opening, there will be acoustic acts on the patio and a band on the main stage.