I arrive at Parallel 17 (1600 East 17th Avenue) late, just missing the happy hour that runs from 10 p.m. until midnight. By day a Vietnamese restaurant, on Wednesday nights this place transforms into a pretty frickin' hip "club." Even this late, there are maybe fifty or sixty people — which seems like a lot because the spot's on the smallish side — either hanging out on the patio or inside, where the music is.
Matthew Bandy's been heading up his Know nights of live house music for a while, creating what's essentially a house jam session: He fires up the beats, Casey Sidwell lays down a bass line, Greg Raymond comes in on keys, and then Venus Cruz tears it up on some improv vocals. Cruz keeps repeating, "I'll let you go out with your motherfucking friends," changing the way she sings the line each time. I'm really not sure what she's singing about, but it doesn't matter: The girl's got serious pipes.
As I listen to the music unfold, it reminds me of a bunch of jazz jams I've been to. This is basically the same concept, except there's not really a main verse to start and finish with. But they're all creating music on the fly, even if it doesn't necessarily sound improvised. In fact, it sounds pretty professional.
In March, Bandy moved these sessions to Parallel 17 from Swimclub 32 (3628 West 32nd Avenue), where he had a lot of regulars. But as they learn about the night and realize they don't have to drive to Highland (or, worse, park there), more and more people seem willing to get to know Know.
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Club scout: Speaking of Swimclub, Sidwell and Raymond — who are also members of Future Jazz Project — are still jazzing it up there on Tuesday nights as part of the Darren Hahn Memorial Lounge.
A few rumors have been flying around that Shelter (1037 Broadway) closed on July 20. But that's only partly true. Turns out the venue isn't booking anything for the next month, possibly two, because of some changes being made to the building. The second floor of Shelter, which had previously been used for the club, now houses offices — and as a result, alterations had to be made to the setup and the schedule. The bottom level of Shelter, Milk, will still be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the regular goth and industrial nights. But Tabloid, Shelter's Friday-night all-house music event, has been temporarily moved to the rooftop of Vinyl (1082 Broadway). Oh, and also at Vinyl, look for Tommy Lee — yes, that Tommy Lee, of Mötley Crüe fame — and DJ Aero on Friday, August 3, when they stop by on their Electro Mayhem Tour to spin some dirty electro house.
Props to the Loft (821 22nd Street), which celebrates its first anniversary on Saturday, August 4. West Coast hip-hop group Digital Underground will be in the house for a live set — and maybe even bust out some uncut funk and "The Humpty Dance" — while DJ Bedz keeps the tables turning with East Coast hip-hop.
For the past few months, JC's Ground Coffee and Tea House (1531 Champa Street) has been putting on shows with righteous fervor -- as well as good, clean comedy and weekly church services. But now Brian and Dama Robertson are looking to move on. When they started advertising in June, they were hoping that they might be able to sell the musical ministry to another church. But as of their most recent notice, they've now expanded the offer to anyone interested in the venue, at a price of $295,000.