And not Jerry Douglas, either. Bluegrass fans will get the reference, and if you’re not, you should be. One piece of awful news this week – the Neighborhood Theatre in the NoDa area in Charlotte might be shutting down. I find this particularly distressing because it’s one of my favorite concert venues, and is perfectly sized for a lot of the shows that I want to go see. Some of the best concerts I’ve ever attended were at the Neighborhood Theatre, and it would be a shame if no one could step forward and buy the place. I wish I had the resources, but I don’t, but if there’s a consortium of folks that are looking for someone to help with tech and promotions, lemme know.
But back to great concerts I’ve seen there. The first time I ever saw Robert Earl Keen do a whole set was at the Neighborhood. I’d seen REK at the McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square, but didn’t watch the whole set. This time I watched the whole thing, and rocked out with all the other hillbillies all the way up til the main breaker blew out in the middle of Road Goes on Forever, and the last piece of the show was done in the dark with only monitors for sound. It didn’t matter to the crowd, we were all drunk and knew all the words, anyway.
The first time I saw Great Big Sea was at the Neighborhood. I’m pretty sure I went alone, and sat in the middle of the room and just jammed while the boys from up north put on a helluva show. The John Hiatt show was another one i saw alone, because Suzy bailed at the last minute. John played alone and (mostly) acoustic, with his guitar, a stomp board for percussion and an electric piano. It was pretty amazing. That was his Tiki Bar tour, and I don’t know how they got him there for a solo show, but it was pretty awesome. So was the first time I saw Reckless Kelly, the first time I saw Hayseed Dixie, the last time I saw Sam Bush, when he played a bunch of cuts off his Circles Around Me album, which I think is his best solo album so far, and when Bonnie and I went to see Peter Rowan. We sat in the seats toward the side of the stage, and I’m pretty sure Bonnie scared Peter a bit when she yelled out for “Rain and Snoooooowwwww!” Peter jumped a little, but he played the song for her.
So it’s been a great venue for music in Charlotte for the last ten years or so, and has had a lot to do with the revitalization of the NoDa neighborhood, so I really hope somebody can come along and pick up the lease and keep the place rolling along. Otherwise it’ll be just another victim of the tightening economy.