Thursday, January 15, 2009

Charlottesville, music venues over the years



Before the Downtown Mall became the magnetic center of Charlottesville, there were spots in and around the “corner” that drew people. Many of the music venues of years ago were either on West Main close to the Corner, or on the Corner itself. Above are some photos from what was called the West Virginian, which was located in the basement below the Virginian.
I have no record of the name of this band, although they were excellent. The fellow playing the short-necked electric resonator guitar might have put the instrument together himself. I tried discerning the logo on the head. It looks a bit like a “Harmony” logo. As you can see, he ended up improvising from the floor.
There was the “Mine Shaft,” another basement, in this case, under where Studio Art is located, and “Trax,” a bit like a barn just over the railroad tracks. It’s said that Dave Mathews did his first playing there. Tracks booked all sorts of acts, including a few international groups. Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens played there, which was probably one of the best African music groups I’ve seen.
Miller’s has always been here, and will always be here, hopefully. When I first moved here, Dave Mathews was behind the bar at Millers, serving drinks and sandwiches. In this years film festival he played a “heavy” in “Lake City,” which has Sissy Spacek in the lead. Dave is convincingly menacing in the role.
Gravity Lounge is my current favorite place for music. The favorite act: The Asylum Street Spankers can't be beat, bringing together, humor, scathing commentary, and a bit of historically naughty swing. They've played there at least four times.

7 comments:

Jim said...

Trax was awesome. I frequently lament that there is nowhere left that has the same appeal and atmosphere.

Great music, beer, dancing, the occasional fight ... you couldn't go wrong.

Ed Deasy said...

Jim

Max/Trax had the advantage of really being big. So, you could dance, hang out by the dance floor, or sit at a table, or wander around. People would form into bunches on the fringes of the dancing.
With rows of chairs everything gets locked down, and so you're bouncing past a row full of knees should you decide to get vertical.
At the last show for the Nice Jenkins, Gravity decided to pull out the chairs. The result was sort of a mosh pit. For the next show up, they let people drag chairs over, if they wanted. it worked . . .

Ed

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I wonder if anyone else remembers Poe's....

Anonymous said...

You have to express more your opinion to attract more readers, because just a video or plain text without any personal approach is not that valuable. But it is just form my point of view

Ghost said...

The guitarist pictured above is Danny Beirne and the band appears to be Skip Castro.

Ed Deasy said...

Ghost
Thanks for the info on Danny Bierne.
He wasn't playing with the regular crew that night, and I found that negative around 12 years after it was taken. It was truly a wild night in a small place, Danny spent a lot of the time spinning around on the floor on his back, playing a solo the whole time. Thoroughly enjoyable.