He's Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Clay Cook, who studied with Mayer at Berklee before becoming a Georgia club favorite with him as one-half of The Lo-Fi Masters. Mayer fans in the Triangle will get a chance to hear him a few hours before his collaborator and former bandmate takes the stage at ALLTEL Pavilion on Aug. 24. Cook will play The Independent Weekly Presents the Deep South Plaza Stage at ALLTEL Pavilion (what a mouthful), a new addition to the West Plaza of the Triangle's biggest amphitheatre.
Expect a horde of local acts to make it to the small, covered stage before the summer is up. Already, Kenny Roby has opened for Fleetwood Mac, and Winston-Salem's
Jerry Chapman (of Muddflapp, who almost landed a role as a Styx cover band in the upcoming Hillary Duff film, The Perfect Man) will open for Styx and Peter Frampton on Friday, June 18. The horn-happy Hobex will appropriately open for Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire in early July, followed by the three sirens of Tres Chicas just before Kenny Chesney plays the first set of his two-night Raleigh stand on July 17. Other locals scheduled to appear include Pico vs. Island Trees and Robert Sledge's International Orange.
Kyler England, a local gal who has been receiving some noteworthy additions to East Coast radio stations over the past several weeks, will have her homecoming when she opens for Sting and Annie Lennox on Saturday, Sept. 14.
"I've played those side-stages before in bands, and no one pays you any attention. But this one is different," says Deep South co-owner and manager Dave Rose, "This one is really artist-friendly ... We publicize it, and they're finally allowed to sell their own stuff."
Deep South is currently in talks with ALLTEL to construct a stage on the amphitheatre's other plaza, an addition that could happen as early as Friday's Styx show, according to Deep South staffer Pat Price. That Plaza, Price says, will be geared almost exclusively to acoustic one-man and two-man acts. For more information and to submit demos for the stage, visit www.deepsouthentertainment.com/plaza stage/ . Perhaps a few programming managers at more than a few local radio stations will finally notice the talent that teems at their backdoors.
Bickett Gallery is working on a reputation as one of the best places for last-minute bookings in town. Rats for Roaches --a troupe of puppet-acting, fake-blood-spraying musicians from New York, whose stage show is a readymade mind trip on wheels--played Bickett June 7 on their first national tour. Although the show had been scheduled for only 72 hours, organizers still managed to get 30 people into the Gallery for the groups Triangle debut.
The Bleeding Hearts kept the crowds rocking late at their CD Release Party for Stayin After Class Saturday night, downtown at Kings. Clad in a black Judas Priest T-shirt, frontman Sam Madison seemed to be having the time of his life. The Hearts wont play another gig locally for quite some time, but be sure to be on hand when they do. The album is in stores now on New Yorks AbRay Records.