Nightlight sold; shows safe
Nightlight, the nocturnal rock club that opened in 2003 in the by-day Skylight Exchange, has been sold by co-owners Lauren Ford and Ryan Martin. Alexis Mastromichalis, a bartender at the club since 2003, will now manage the space and split booking work with another person.
"I've always described Nightlight as an experimental music and performance space," says Mastromichalis, who booked bands for three years in Washington, D.C., while studying dance at George Washington University. "I want to make it clear that it's still that, that this is still Nightlight."
The only key difference, Mastromichalis says, will be the number of nights that the club is open each week. When first opened by Ford and co-founder Isaac Trogdon, Nightlight operated on a regular schedule, hosting shows only on specific nights. Mastromichalis hopes to begin that policy again, opening on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while allowing exceptions for touring bands.
Mastromichalis also hopes to put the space to more multimedia use, especially with film. Signal Movement Festival--the experimental dance and music festival Mastromichalis started across Chapel Hill and Carrboro this year--could serve as a template for such cross-format collaboration. Mastromichalis also says that No Future Fest, the two-night noise festival started two years ago by Jason Crumer, will remain at the club. For Nightlight's schedule, see freewebs.com/nofuturefest/nightlight.htm. --Grayson Currin
Raleigh Schoolkids opens stage
Middle-aged men in business suits on their lunch break. A dad with his kids in tow. College-aged kids in trucker hats and jeans. On Wednesday afternoon, a mix-and-match group of 70 fans gave Athens, Ga.'s Drive-By Truckers a huge welcome at Schoolkids Records in Raleigh. Handclaps, whistles and a few rebel yells greeted the Southern rock favorites, just four hours before they took to the big stage at Alltel Pavilion opening for The Black Crowes.
Seated on battered stools and surrounded by six microphones and two tall Yamaha speakers, the Truckers delivered seven songs, pulling heavily from this year's A Blessing and a Curse. Store managers Brad Cook and Travis Hunter stood to the band's right, watching as the crowd sang along with the first group to play its new in-store stage.
While the Raleigh Schoolkids has hosted several small in-store performances in the past, they were never a regular thing. The store struggled finding space for the band, equipment and any sort of crowd. But Raleigh's longtime in-store hotspot The Record Exchange closed last month, and Schoolkids' sister store in Chapel Hill has enjoyed successful performances from acts including The Del McCoury Band and Roman Candle over the last year.
Cook, Hunter and store supervisor Ric Culross saw the need to make regular in-store performances a permanent fixture in the Raleigh location. Culross and Cook built an 81-square-foot removable stage in three sections, raising the band about a foot off the floor.
"The stage allows the performers to be slightly elevated above the crowd, which puts the focus right on them," says Culross. "This is a personal message to the loyal fans who come out to see the band, one of the only times a band can meet, greet and talk to their fans on a personal level. This is not just a show--it's them."
The Drive-By Truckers obliged the Schoolkids' in-store ritual, too, smiling as they decorated a white ceiling tile with several markers. Schoolkids plans to add more signed ceiling tiles very soon: Pete Yorn played Saturday to a crowd of 200, and Ohio's Patrick Sweany Band plays Schoolkids on Thursday, July 20 at 5 p.m. before joining The Countdown Quartet and Josh Preslar at The Berkeley Café that night. The store plans to have at least one show each month. Local bands are encouraged to submit demos for possible bookings. --Kathy Justice
"This is worse than building a brand new building," says Sadlack's owner Rose Schwetz of the remodeling process that's taken down all but two walls of her inveterate Hillsborough Street haunt. "But the building just was not withstanding all of the wear and tear anymore."
Sadlack's closed on April 29 for renovations. When Schwetz realized the scope of the structural problems in the building, which she says was built in the early 1950s, she decided to rebuild most of it, fortifying the foundation and pouring the first footings ever used on the property.
She says the new building will feature an expanded grill, allowing the bar to add to its formerly sandwich-only menu. Schwetz is also applying for a wine license, but neither a prospective second floor nor liquor license will happen with this round of renovations. The patio long used for music will now feature sliding glass windows, making the space more conducive for shows year-round. Look for a reopening party in September. --Grayson Currin