Oct 032013
Cagneys Saloon

Local bar owners and managers are always on the lookout for something new and different to offer patrons and over the past few months, a new trend has been taking seed and now starting to grow.  The biggest problem that bars complain about is how to fill the seats in the middle of the week.  That is why they offer everything from pool and dart tournaments to karaoke and free buffets.  During the month of October, a record number of venues will either continue or begin to offer Country Music nights.  Here’s a rundown of what you can expect to see and hear this month alone, according to the WeekendBroward calendar.

Mardi-Gras Casino in Hallandale – Every Sunday night at 7pm-11pm.  Bands this month include Shadow Creek and The Rodeo Clowns.

FishtalesFishtales on 33rd – Every Thursday night at 9pm-Midnight.  It’s also ladies night with 2 for 1 drinks! The month of October will get started with Pete Lundblad on October 3rd followed by the Nash Carey band on October 10th.   Come hungry because they have great dinner specials – especially seafood.

Also on Thursday nights, Lulu’s Bait Shack, located on Fort Lauderdale beach, features their Country & Western night starting with Rough Shot on October 3rd, Ciara Rae on October 10th, Shane Duncan on the 17th and Andrew Morris on the 24th and Blue Audio on the 31st.

Noticeably missing from the weekly list of places to see live Country bands are two venues in Davie that tout themselves as Country Music clubs – The Roundup and  Cowboy’s Saloon.  A quick search revealed that The Roundup will have Brett Eldridge on October 10th but it is sold out.  Cowboy’s Saloon is advertising $15 tickets to see Craig Campbell on October 3rd. Other than that, both venues consider themselves as nightclubs rather than live music venues and rarely have a free live band.

Cagneys SaloonBrand new to the Country Music Night weekly listings is Cagney’s Saloon in Davie.  Beginning Sunday, October 6th, they will be testing the waters with Sucker Punch followed by Shadow Creek on October 13th.  If all goes according to plan, you can expect to see free country music bands from 8pm-Midnight every Sunday night in Davie.

Chit Chats BarAnother local “biker bar” Chit Chats is also testing the waters this coming Saturday night (October 5th at 9:30pm) with local favorite, Shadow Creek – offering a blend of both Rock AND Country.  Another band that plays both sides is Rough Shot and they will be at Gamaroff’s Bar & Grill in Cooper City this Friday night from 8pm-Midnight.

A quick survey of local country music fans also turned up the following shows:

Maggie Baugh will be playing at the grand opening of Indian Motorcyle of Pompano Beach on October 26th at 11am.

Tom Jackson will be at Maguire’s Hill 16 (Irish Pub in Fort Lauderdale) on October 19th, starting at 9pm.

It’s amazing how many country bands there are out there, especially when you ask! I have noticed that many are based in Palm Beach County and I’ll try to cover some of those in a future blog.  In the meantime, if you are a fan of country music, make sure you support your favorite bands by showing up for their shows and letting the venues know that you appreciate their taking the time to find great local country bands – we know they’re out there!


 October 3, 2013  Posted by  Weekend Blog No Responses »
Sep 172013

Stephen Kamin Feedback Sound CompanyFor this week’s blog, I asked Stephen Kamin, my friend and owner of Feedback Sound Company to help me write about the importance of stage lighting for local bands and local venues that feature live music.  Trying to take band pics using flash photography has always washed out the colors of the stage and not using a flash in the dark pushes my camera’s ISO to the limit which results in dark grainy shots.  Ironically, it’s the number of dark pictures that I had to throw out when I had a pocket camera that made me go out and buy my first Cannon Rebel 3 years ago.  Throwing out too many dark pics is a frustrating experience and so is walking into a venue where the band is playing in the darkness of an unlit stage.  Here, then, is Stephen’s point of view on the subject:

I have been around a stage one way or another since I was 18. Albeit most of my hours were spent back stage dragging cord, pushing cases, climbing trusses, or manning a spot light in the balcony. I have never been “on tour” with anybody, but I have seen a lot different stage sets, sound checks, tear downs and last minute scrambles for supplies that would make MacGyver shiver in his sneakers. So when Rob (Weekend Concierge) asked me to write something about the importance of stage lighting for his blog I was happy to do so.  Stage lighting can make or break a performance just as easily as the failure of the lead singer’s wireless battery. Everyone has attended a pro-circuit concert and went home and awed about the lights or the production in some way. It’s the job of the venue owners and the performers to provide the best show possible to the families, the fans and the regulars that make up the listening audience at every show. It is also the responsibility of the band to do a little homework including the simple question of asking the  booking agent if lights are provided. If you don’t get a solid answer, make it your mission to visit the venue weeks before your gig and scope the space out. If there are lights DO NOT assume they are the venues or that they even work. I have been to a club that had six thousand dollars worth of gobo‘s hanging from fifteen hundred dollars worth of trusses that did nothing. You do not want to be the band that played that nobody can see.
There are 5 rules to lighting your stage.

Project-X with lights

Project-X with lights

1. Sit down and figure out your lighting budget. Then spend 90% of that on the initial purchase – there is ALWAYS something else you need to finish the job.  There are a lot good fixtures out there that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Lucky for us that two of the largest lighting suppliers are located right here in South Florida. Also, do not forget to budget for an electrician. Some fixtures take more power than a small welder while the new LED fixtures can run 35 on one circuit and draw less power than your home refrigerator.

Project-X without lights

Project-X without lights

2. (a) If you’re going to do the job yourself, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Do not be afraid to ask questions. I have consulted on a lot of  ‘do-it-yourself’ lighting jobs. (b) If you hire someone to do the job, make sure they did their homework.  Make sure they know what you need. If they are not taking measurement of your space, you are probably not getting the right lights.  There are algorithms out there that take distance and beam angle to predict the size of the beam circle and optimal wattage of a fixture based on ambient light.

Lighting at Cheers Sunrise

Each band members is highlighted

3. Make sure you get the right light for YOUR space. There’s this club on the beach that I worked at that spent way too much money on the totally wrong kind of light. Your light should light the space and the performers without the need for the band to wear tanning goggles. (Ray-bans are acceptable only if it’s the drummer)

Mainstreet Band Fishtales

Mainstreet band brings their own lighting

4. Buy a controller. If your budget does not include a DMX controller….well you’re just buying a glorified, overpriced Christmas tree decoration. Yes, it’s cool to set the lights on auto, or sound activated and let them change unattended while the DJ’s playing, but every good controller has a button that will do exactly that! So let’s talk about what the lack of a controller will NOT let you do:

(a) It will not light up the stage solid white for the New Year’s Eve toast or the announcement that it’s the owner’s birthday. (b) It will not let you do a cool slow fade from blue to purple to red during a Pink Floyd or a Dave Matthews song. (c) It will not allow you to do a full blackout at the end of Highway to Hell, or flash solid white to Van Halen’s Jump! (d) It will not light up the guitarist for his 4 1/2 minute tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn. (e) they will not light the stage solid for Jam night. (strobe lights and acoustic guitars do not mix)

But hey… they flash really cool…all by them-selves….

5. Safety. Safety. Safety. Hanging 45 pounds of fixtures from the drop ceiling is NOT acceptable! EVERYTHING should hang from a proper point and EVERYTHING should have TWO points of attachment, specifically a safety wire on every fixture. Let’s face it – you’re not going to climb up there every week and check on these things so they need to be mounted in such a way that they are considered to be as permanent as the light above the pool table.

So to address Rob’s original request… “How important are lights to the live band experience?” – It’s easy; if your patrons know that the venue has gone the extra step and forked out a couple of hundred dollars so they can see EVERY band in your place, they will be back for more. However, if the band foots the bill for the visuals, well “your” patrons may just follow the band to their next venue.

Thank you Stephen for enlightening all of us on your insight on the subject!  If anyone would like to get in touch with you, I have included a link to your web-site, Feedback Sound Company.

 September 17, 2013  Posted by  Weekend Blog No Responses »
Sep 132013
soulicide st paddy halfwayAs if you needed a reason to drink and party, this weekend marks the beginning of many “Half-Way to St-Patty’s Day” parties on the calendar during the month of September.  Bars and restaurants have so much fun on March 17th that they cannot wait until March of 2014 to do it again.  So, here’s the plan: Sometime during the middle of the month of September, have a party EXACTLY like the one they had in March, complete with shamrock decorations, employees and customers wearing green, drink specials such as Irish car bombs and green beer, some Irish specialities such as Sheppard’s pie or Corn Beef & Cabbage and “voila!” you now have a Half-Way to St-Patty’s Day party!
If you like being Irish at least twice a year, hear are some upcoming events this month where you can take your green shirt or dress back out of the closet.
Catch The Living Daylights Saturday night at The Black Rose Irish Pub in Boca Raton.  Besides a great band, winner of this year’s Sunfest Battle of the Bands, Bag Pipers will be in the house playing between band sets, Free Irish temporary tattoos will be given away, drink specials include $5 Irish Car Bombs, and low and behold, you can order award winning shepard’s pie!  To top it off, The Guinness and Jameson girls will be giving away free samples and giveaways.
Down in Davie the same night, Rough Shot will be blending their style of Country and Rock music at Luke’s Place while celebrating the half-way to Patty’s day with weekend long drink specials: $5 Irish Car Bombs,$1 Green Jello Shots and $2 Green Rolling Rock beer.
If you feel that you should wait until the 17th of the month, check out Packy’s Sports Pub in Lighthouse Point.  Packy’s will be serving traditional Irish Dinners from 11am-midnight for $9.99 including Corned Beef & Cabbage, Bangers & Mash, Fish-n-Chips & Shepherd’s Pie.  Live music with bOunce from 8:30pm-1am and more live music outside on the patio.  Not bad for a Tuesday night!
Meanwhile, also on Tuesday the 17th, the Dubliner Fort Lauderdale will be hosting the Young Professionals for Covenant House with a happy hour from 6pm-8pm to raise money for a good cause.  Admission to this event includes appetizers and two complimentary drinks while supporting Covenant House Florida, a residential crisis shelter for homeless youth under the age of 21, including moms and their babies.
Last, but not least, my favorite Irish Bar down in Davie, Cagney’s Saloon, has hired one of the best rockin’ bands in Broward to celebrate the occasion on September 27th.  Although details are not available  at the time of this writing, I’m sure it will be a packed house for Soulicide, green beer will be flowing along with lots of Jagermeister!
No matter what day you decide to celebrate Half-Way to St. Patty’s Day, have fun with it and remember that Halloween is just around the corner this time!
 September 13, 2013  Posted by  Weekend Blog No Responses »
Sep 022013
Bar Fun

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!


 September 2, 2013  Posted by  Weekend Blog No Responses »
Jul 232013
Assassin Rocks Cagney's Saloon

Weekend Broward 3rd Year LogoEvery 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.

Birthday at CagneysThis 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.

Assassin Rocks Chit ChatsEntertainment 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!

Anniversary Party at CheersBirthday Cake


Apr 212013
Tab Benoit

beer girlsThis 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.

beer samplesNormally, 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!

Dave MaloneSince 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. Bonerama horn sectionThere’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.

Pavilion General and VIP seatingAlthough 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.

BBQ Barbecue samplesIn 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. Dickey's Brisket PlatterIt 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.

Tab BenoitI 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!

 April 21, 2013  Posted by  Weekend Blog 1 Response »