I don't remember when I first met Charlotte musician Andy the Doorbum. It could have been at a concert. It might have been while I was doing a photoshoot with Jucifer at the Milestone. The band, Andy and I were sharing stories for hours as the metal duo broke down their massive stage setup the day after their show. It was definitely before I did a Creative Loafing cover story about Andy — sharing the story of how he's changed as a musician from his early days growing up in the area. It was also before his mind-blowing April residency at Snug Harbor that had people all over the city talking about his brilliant works of performance art earlier this year.
You know, this shouldn't sound like an obituary, but damn if a part of Charlotte's soul isn't dying off this weekend. Andy the Doorbum is saying farewell to Charlotte with a concert at the Milestone on June 28. After that, he's moving to California, for personal and professional reasons. It's not that he doesn't love the Queen City, he just knows this is what's best for him at this point in his career — for his art, and for love.
"It's a self-fulfilling prophecy," Andy says with a laugh. "During my residency, I kept saying, 'Change is coming.' I didn't know it meant I would be leaving. But that became clearer toward the end of the month when I realized that my energy is at an optimal level when I'm doing things like that."
The "Art War" Andy declared in April was relentless. He performed a concert every Wednesday at Snug Harbor and did street-art performances every day around the city.
The residency concerts were as much visual as they were aural. They conjured emotions through Andy's artisic vision, always leaving his audience in awe.
And he was always amazed by the reactions he got — from inspiring others to do what's in their hearts to having people call the cops when they saw a man with a painted face walking down the street beating on drums.
"It was everything I wanted it to be," Andy says. "We had people from 20 different states come to be a part of it. It was amazing to see people put in their time, energy and money to be a part of it.
"I didn't care if people weren't into it. I got tired of not seeing what I wanted to see happen. I just wanted to have an effect on the world around me. I wanted to encourage people to put their ideas into the world."
As it all occurred, some people on social media claimed Charlotte isn't ready for performance art like that. Andy disagrees.
"The city being ready isn't relevant," he says. "There just aren't enough people here who want to see it enough that they are willing to do it themselves."
His concert on Sunday night is going to be a retrospective of his years in Charlotte. Andy is going to start out the night working the door at the club as he's done for the last 10 years. His performance will likely start there as well — it's where he recorded his first album. He'll then make his way to the stage to play with some friends and former collaborators before ending the night with a performance-art piece of some kind. He wants to give all of his supporters a bit of everything.
"I couldn't even begin to thank everyone," Andy says. "Charlotte will always be my home. I'll be back — it's just gonna be a while. The support of people here means the world to me and I wouldn't have been able to do any of this without so many people in this community."
That's another reason Andy is working the door one more time. With all indications pointing toward a sold-out show, Andy wants to be the one turning people away once the venue reaches capacity. "At least I can look into their eyes and thank them myself," he says.
And thank you, Andy. Come back to visit soon. We can't wait to see what you do next.