Have you ever wondered what’s going on at local bars when they are not featuring your favorite local cover band? Weekend Broward is introducing something new to the website that is known for promoting live music in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and surrounding cities. Everyday, bars offer food specials, drink specials, pool, dart and other competitions but it’s hard to track of which one is where on which night. Now, WeekendBroward is offering sponsoring venues a section where they can list all their weekday specials in one place. The new page lets you browse the specials at a glance and decide where you would like to spend your evening.
See also “Weekend Pass“. Give it a try and try something new tonight!
Every year, I am asked to celebrate my birthday with a band, but instead, I choose to celebrate the birthday of my website, WeekendBroward.com, with a band of my choosing. WeekendBroward.com started off as a simple project to document the whereabouts of local bands and musicians so that I could keep track of their ever-changing schedules. Wouldn’t it be simple if every venue had just one band and you could pick where you wanted to go for live music based on the where you last saw a band you liked? Unfortunately, the business of entertaining local audiences with live music is not that simple!
Thanks to online tools provided by Google, WordPress, Facebook and teams of programmers all over the world, I have enjoyed collecting events involving live music and displaying them in one form or another on a website that could be seen by anyone anywhere in the world with access to the World Wide Web.
This Friday night, WeekendBroward will be celebrating at one of South Broward’s finest bars for live music. Cagney’s Saloon is known for throwing great birthday parties for individuals on a weekly basis thanks to the support of proprietors Mark and Nancy. This Friday – it’s time to bend the rules a bit and celebrate an entity that has become the #1 resource in and around Fort Lauderdale for discovering who is playing where.
Entertainment will be provided by a band that literally played 80’s rock music in the 80’s! And 25 years later, the band plays on, with fun that is contagious to all who see them. Please join me this Friday night as I celebrate 3 years with my friends Tony, Michael, Tommy, Mat and Gary from Assassin Rocks, starting at 10:30pm at Cagney’s Saloon, located on the NW corner of Stirling and University in Davie.
P.S. If you are “in-the-biz” and can’t make it before closing time, I will continue the celebration at the best place for after-parties – Cheers Food & Spirits in Fort Lauderdale, featuring Lazy Bonez until 4am!
This year was not the first time I had attended the Blues, Brews and BBQ event at the Coconut Creek Casino but it really felt like the first because it was such a different experience for me. First off, the main event stage was moved inside to the Pavilion venue inside instead of being held under a tent outside of the casino. I remember seeing lots of smaller bands in the middle of the casino floor last year with more popular bands on the outdoor stage. Secondly, I was given a media pass so that I could sample all the beers and food that was available for sale by the various BBQ vendors.
Normally, I don’t write post-event reviews but I had so many thoughts running through my mind that I wanted to share it with everyone who attended and those who missed this event. First off, I loved the thought of having unlimited beer samples included with the tickets to this day-long event. I loved the fact that the beer was NOT Bud, Miller, Coors or lite versions of all of the above. Instead, I got to sample beers I have never heard of from all over the world. The tiny little beer mugs given out by beautiful models at the door was a nice touch!
Since I could not stay all day, I came during dinner time so I could catch two of the acts AND enjoy the barbecue samples at the same time. I am not an expert on the Blues scene but I enjoy the music without being really familiar with the artists. The first act I caught was Bonerama with special guest Dave Malone of The Radiators. There’s something special about a horn section that adds flavor to music of any style. Unlike your standard 4-piece rock band, these guys made the most of the large stage and presented themselves in style with every musician profiling his talent gracefully.
Although I loved the stage size, lighting and great sound, my greatest concern was over the standing room only space given to those who paid for general admission tickets. The VIP ticket-holders were given bleacher seats which took up about 50% of the hall. It must have been difficult to calculate in advance how many people would buy the $25 general admission versus the $50 ones but, in hindsight, they will either have to find more room next year, put more seats into the general admission side or people will have to fork over the extra bucks to get a seat, especially if they want to sit through 6 great bands from early afternoon and into the later hours of the evening.
In between bands was the best time to make my way to the BBQ Alley and see what samples awaited me. Every vendor offered me pretty much whatever I wanted on their menu which usually included BBQ ribs, pulled pork or beef brisket. Since the sample sizes varied from a small cup sample to a full plate with sides, I was too stuffed to taste test every one of the 6 vendors selling sandwiches and platters in the “alley”. My first stop was Lucille’s which I had tried in the past thanks to Lucille’s on Wheels at various food truck events. Their shredded brisket was sweet, juicy and extremely tasty as usual. I would have forgone all other samples to just have a sandwich from their table. It was pretty much downhill from there as I sampled Dickey’s BBQ brisket platter. The coleslaw was delicious but unfortunately, the brisket had so many huge pieces of burned gristle that I could have broken my jaw had I really finished what they served me. Lastly, the brisket sandwich from the casino’s kitchen was so fatty that it was hard to believe that they were putting it onto a bun before cutting off the excess fat. I would have gladly cut it off myself rather than waste a good sandwich but without any tables, everyone had to eat standing up and made eating a rack of ribs or cutting through slices of beef brisket next to impossible.
I was more than happy to wash this all down with more beer samples and the exhilarating, foot stomping sounds of Tab Benoit. Since this was the first year with the configuration of food and entertainment the way I described, I am sure that there will be some tweaks for next year and I just hope that with all my gripes about the food and crowds, they still invite me back!
This blog was originally written on April 18th, 2011.
Do you remember where you were when you heard about the Space Shuttle blowing up? How about September 11th, 2001? April 17th will be one of those milestone days for me because I was sitting at Starbucks, uploading band photos from the previous night when I read about the demise of Jimmy Pagano. My first thoughts were – was it a car accident or a heart attack? I would never have imagined him getting involved with a bar fight (trying to help the bartender collect on a bar tab). He was definitely not a fighter. The most physical he would get would be to give you a hug!
On the other hand, Jimmy was a soldier. He was one of the few people I knew who fought for the right of local bands to have an audience. He was proud of his history of holding jam sessions at local bars so that musicians could network and get an extra day of playing in front of a live audience instead of their garages. If you were part of his Facebook friends network, you probably remember how frustrated he would get with people who promised to come out and see him or his bands play but didn’t show up. While he used Facebook extensively to keep in touch with his extensive network of friends, he really believed in the power of seeing people in person. I remember how happy he was to see me last time I saw him. It’s one thing to communicate online – it’s another to follow up with a personal visit.
On April 17th, I changed my profile photo to show a flag at half mast because Jimmy is a fallen hero and it’s the only way I know to honor him for all the hard work he has done for our local music scene. I am not sure who is going to trace that bad wire next time I attend a local band’s gig and their sound doesn’t seem right. I am not sure who I will approach next time with my ideas for a local music festival. All I know is that his hard work did not go un-noticed and he will be missed by everyone.
The newspaper and mass media called him a drummer. I am not sure how Jimmy would have felt about that description. Sure, he played the drums, but that is not how he wanted to be remembered. His Facebook page says exactly how he wanted to be known. Here’s what it says: “Promotions/ General Manager/ Event Producer/Coordinator at Self Employed who Studied at The School of Life. He Lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida From Bedford, New York Born on January 4, (1957).” May he continue to live in the hearts of us all for ever and ever.
Every Tuesday during the month of March, the Nectar Lounge at The Coconut Creek Casino will be abuzz with local rock bands and their fans cheering them on, hoping to gain the judges’ attention and sway them to vote them in as a contender for the final round to take place on Saturday, April 13th.
Who are these bands, what do they win and who will decide? Over the past few months, bands submitted entries to the casino which included a sample of their music, a link to their website or Facebook page, and a photo. The only rules were that they consisted of no more than 5 members, ages 21 and older, able to play both cover and original songs and could not be a tribute band.
Every week, 6 bands will be invited to compete and a winner will be chosen by a panel of 4 judges. Judges include legendary Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain, John Pastorius eldest son of the world’s greatest bass player Jako Pastorius, Member of the Sunfest Board of Directors JJ Wolfe, and local broadcaster Andy Preston of 98.7 FM, The Gater who also serves as MC. The judges’ jobs are to rate each band on skill, showmanship, originality of presentation and crowd enthusiasm.
While the weekly auditions are going on with the winner being chosen by a panel of judges, the Coconut Creek Casino’s Facebook page is also being used to give Facebook users an opportunity to sample each band’s music and vote for their favorites. The band with the most votes will compete with the four weekly winners in the final competition to take place on Saturday, April 13th.
The grand prize will be $2500 and a gig on Saturday, May 4, 2013 on the Tire Kingdom Stage at Sunfest performing prior to headliner Cheap Trick. The second place winning band will get $1500, $1000 for third place and $750 for fourth place. Judging by last year’s competition, the gigs earned by displaying their skills during this weekly battle can earn each band thousands more in opportunities to play at the Casino’s three free live music venues which includes The Nectar Lounge, The Sunset Grill and NYY Legend’s Lounge.
These weekly competitions give fans a live music to hear some bands that they might never have heard before, and see a good variety, spanning from Blues to Hard Rock. Since they start at 8pm and end around 11, it’s not a late night for anyone. Besides, why would anyone want to sit at home and watch television on a Tuesday night when they can participate in making a local band famous? Come see for yourself and one day, you too will be able to say “I knew them when….”
Best of luck to all the bands!
P.S. You’ll find details of who is playing each week in the notes section of the events calendar at weekendbroward.com.