caterpillar2

Charlotte missing out

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This has probably been a topic before, but I am just curious why Raleigh gets the entertainment that skips us? I.E. many big musical groups and shows. Does anyone actually have an answer? And, I am curious why Charlotte isn't seen in advertisements like Greensboro, Greenville, Asheville, Raleigh, and other places that are smaller. I look at magazines like Southern Living and we are not advertised. We have tons to offer. Is our Chamber of Commerce doing a lousy job? It seems that they are. I believe Charlotte is a great city but we are being cheated of equal entertainment, venue status due to poor advertising.

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There was just an article about how entertainment groups decide their stop in the Carolinas. Charlotte is typically the #1 preference, but if TWC Arena or PNC is booked during the dates the group wants, they go to Greensboro or Raleigh. They won't change their schedule just to be in Charlotte. Take the Justin Bieber concert... the date they wanted in the Carolinas is during a Hornets game so he's going to Greensboro where they were wide open that day.

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I think a lot of indie acts skip over Charlotte just because they don't think the demographic is here. It's in the mountains (Asheville) where all the hipsters are, or in Raleigh/Durham where there is such a large college population. I've been to a couple shows here that I was just plain embarrassed by the turnout. I actually personally apologized to the band Dawes when they were here at the Visulite for the low turnout a few years back, but for what it's worth, the Flaming Lips were also playing that same night at the Fillmore, so that probably detracted from the crowd. But many other bands still pack the house - I have seen Ben Folds, M83, Passion Pit, Alt-J, and more absolutely pack the Fillmore to the brim. But I think there is just that perception that there isn't enough of a fanbase for indie bands in Charlotte due to the perception of a lack of college/hipster population (and to some degree, that's true).

Regarding Charleston, Raleigh/Durham, and Asheville's dining scene, they always seem to get spots in Food & Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, etc. But Charlotte never gets any love for our amazing restaurants. Granted, we are behind compared to Asheville and Charleston, but I think in years to come, the creative chefs now dominating the Charlotte dining scene will change that.

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I saw it first-hand following a band that was based in the New England area around NC. Anything in the Raleigh, Chapel-Hill, Durham, Carrboro area is the de facto choice for indie bands that survive off touring (with Asheville as a close second). The simple reason is because that whole Triangle has prestigious universities which draw young people from around the country (ie: in my case, lots of New Englanders), so the young college culture is really serious there. It also doesn't hurt that at least two of them have famous sports teams. I've heard several musicians say that they've heard since the 90s that the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, next to UNC, is the most important NC venue to play. 

Charlotte, by its very nature, is dryer, with less infusion of youthful frivolity/energy. The college culture is non-existent by comparison, with little campus self-identity (that's what happens when your university isn't part of any town center, and mostly draws in-state students). This affects things a TON. Whatever effect the BLE has on that will take a while.

27 minutes ago, ScottCLT said:

I actually personally apologized to the band Dawes when they were here at the Visulite for the low turnout a few years back,

I've done that, after haranguing a band to make a special stop here so I wouldn't have to drive  They never came back.

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11 minutes ago, SgtCampsalot said:

I've heard several musicians say that they've heard since the 90s that the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, next to UNC, is the most important NC venue to play. 

I know it's somewhat of a legendary place in the NC music scene, but wow, the Cat's Cradle is such a dump. I mean, I know they get a ton of great bands, but really...it's an old pharmacy converted into a music venue. I don't mind divey venues at all, but the CC just is worthless. I saw Peter, Björn, and John there and the acoustics were horrible. Charlotte has (and had) better actual venues. And Raleigh/Chapel Hill/Durham probably do too. But it's always the Cat's Cradle that brings the bands in. I guess I just don't get what makes that place so great. It's all in the name.

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Posted (edited)

12 minutes ago, ScottCLT said:

I know it's somewhat of a legendary place in the NC music scene, but wow, the Cat's Cradle is such a dump. I mean, I know they get a ton of great bands, but really...it's an old pharmacy converted into a music venue. I don't mind divey venues at all, but the CC just is worthless. I saw Peter, Björn, and John there and the acoustics were horrible. Charlotte has (and had) better actual venues. And Raleigh/Chapel Hill/Durham probably do too. But it's always the Cat's Cradle that brings the bands in. I guess I just don't get what makes that place so great. It's all in the name.

You're totally right. Have you been there lately? There are a few improvements: The lot next to it was developed, making a pretty decent streetscape/patio that wraps around into the parking lot alongside the Cradle. Also, they converted the back space, and some of an adjacent space, into a larger back room space. The stage is a foot or two taller, and there's a balcony in the back with a staircase that goes up it. Probably ~15 ft - 20 ft ceilings. It's a hell of a space, makes the original space look even worse than it already did. However, the new space is confusing to get to, because of how utterly crappy the entire strip mall lot is (the rear is still fenced off by a barbed wire fence).

But yeah, I think as far as venues go it's two things: Consistency/Energy of the turnout, and the personalities of the owners themselves, since bands and crew need to deal with the people all the time. The crowds are passionate there, thanks to the nationally-enrolled student base knowing a variety of regional acts, and I think the owner(s) are great people that work well with those in the industry. Plus, being a complete and utter trashy dive often makes for the very BEST shows. Sometimes you just don't feel right when you're rocking out in a huge, clean music hall or amphitheater.

Edited by SgtCampsalot

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Posted (edited)

The cultural scene has always been much richer in the triangle. Duke + UNC + NC State really builds a strong base of young people and Merge Records is a rad record label that's based in Durham. 

It kills me that we couldn't pull off a music festival like Moogfest or Hopscotch. 

Edited by sclark

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I'm not saying that Southern Living and other media should advertise music venues, but the area has other venues that beat Greensboro, Winston Salem, Asheville, etc.  There is Discovery Place, museums, Blumenthal Performing Arts Centers and others, ethnic festivals, the waterpark, great restaurants, great sports scene, aquarium, great shopping, and the list goes on. It isn't restricted to Lindy festivals or rock groups, but the overall picture. I believe the Chamber of Commerce focuses on the business/banking aspect and needs to look more into tourism and not just conferences, We are much larger than Raleigh, we should have just as much advertisement. The only place I have really seen good advertising is on American or U.S. Airways.

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Yeah, Cats Cradle sucks. I saw Dinosaur Jr. there and they sounded terrible! I have seen them numerous times and they sounded great (at other venues). I used to go to Cats Cradle a lot in the 90's but I was probably drunk it did not pay attention to the sound as much.

But to me it seems every band skips Raleigh and goes to Greensboro or Charlotte. lol

The Orange Peel in Asheville is pretty good though.

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16 minutes ago, RaleighHeelsfan said:

The Orange Peel in Asheville is pretty good though.

The Orange Peel is phenomenal, Amos' sized venue. The Grey Eagle in the West district is a great venue in between Neighborhood Theater and Evening Muse in size.

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Amos's is a really great venue too. I mean, I really like the place. I just HATE the shows that happen there. I mean, it's alway a Guns 'n Roses cover band, Micheal Jackson cover band, name-any-band cover band, midget wrestling, or washed up acts from the '80s and early '90s trying to reunite on tour to get themselves out of the bankruptcy they've dug themselves into. The lineup at Amos's consistently sucks. But I do like the actual space itself. I just wish they had a marquee instead of those hideous plastic banners to announce shows, even if the shows still suck.

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Posted (edited)

3 minutes ago, ScottCLT said:

 I just wish they had a marquee instead of those hideous plastic banners to announce shows, even if the shows still suck.

You're totally right, they don't have the majesty of street presence that many great venues do (even Neighborhood and Visulite have that down). But yeah, Amos' has the best space, really great height, balconies, etc.

Edited by SgtCampsalot

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10 hours ago, ScottCLT said:

Amos's is a really great venue too. I mean, I really like the place. I just HATE the shows that happen there. I mean, it's alway a Guns 'n Roses cover band, Micheal Jackson cover band, name-any-band cover band, midget wrestling, or washed up acts from the '80s and early '90s trying to reunite on tour to get themselves out of the bankruptcy they've dug themselves into. The lineup at Amos's consistently sucks. But I do like the actual space itself. I just wish they had a marquee instead of those hideous plastic banners to announce shows, even if the shows still suck.

I'm pretty sure BADFISH is playing there everyday.

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