Gallery at a crawl: Man, I used to think the Gallery Crawls up on North Davidson Street, back before it became known as NoDa, were the neatest thing going, even though the whole thing basically consisted of a drum circle and a couple of bars. Well, they're still neat, and a lot of the reason lies in the fact that the various stores and eateries and drinkeries work together. Go to Cabo Fish Taco, and you can also get a menu for Boudreaux's, a Cajun restaurant right up the street. Eat at Boudreaux's (get the muffaletta), and the check arrives with concert and show schedules for The Evening Muse and the Neighborhood Theatre. Friday night, the full NoDa experience was there to be had for anyone brave enough to hang out in the nippy weather. There was the drum circle, who bravely battled the cold to provide the streets with a little rhythm. There was music at The Evening Muse and Fat City, cool stuff to be had at Sunshine Daydreams and New Waves of Joy, DJs at the Wrightnow Gallery, art at the Muse and Blue Pony and 23 Studio, and the obligatory nightly visit by the cops, when some fellow at The Evening Muse was bothering patrons by making those weird hand movements in front of their faces like Mike Myers and Dana Carvey would do when going into a dream sequence on Wayne's World. Walking by when officers shined a light into his eyes, his pupils were so dilated I swear I saw his larynx. I mean, really, what would North Davidson be without a hint of danger? Why, it'd be just like much of the rest of Charlotte. And who really wants that?
Strangeland It's a commonly known fact that pretty much anything goes at Fat City. With its art-cluttered walls and ceiling and rustic outdoor plastic-dome, it's by far the most eclectic music room in the Queen City, and the folks there exercise their right to be different. This past Saturday the club stayed consistent but in a strange twist, they actually exercised their right to be normal. . .so normal, it was weird. A CD Release Party for the band 4th Ward drew a crowd that was equal parts young and old (I'd be willing to bet some second generations were present). Not only were the casually dressed folk overly polite, the real kicker was that the women's bathroom stayed clean for as long as I was there. . .and that's definitely an odd occurrence -- at any club. The host band opted for the middle set (which began early enough for sports fans to think the Oakland Raiders had beaten the New England Patriots) and played their mix of pop-influenced progressive rock for nearly an hour. Keyboardist Julianne Allen was obviously excited about the band's latest release, Wonderland -- so much so that she mentioned the title after every song, which wasn't in vain; I remembered the title days later. And lead singer Mike Shannon's resemblance to Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead caught the attention of two fellas in the modest crowd: "Hey man, that dude looks just like Bob Weir." His friend's insightful reply seemed to sum up the night: "Yeah man. . .weird."