Pop Rocks

  • Follow Steven Uhles

Palatial Playground

Our little Playground is all grown up. The once-funky bar that operated quietly (not really) and alone down from Broad Street's The Soul Bar-Metro-1102 epicenter has made a move, relocating in the 900 block near The Soul Bar.

Grown up and grander, the bar eschews much of the board-game aesthetic of its original location.

No longer will Playground acts be banished to the back patio, left to contend with a leaking roof, sketchy sound and an occasional mosquito. Instead, they will be offered swank digs with real lights, real sound and, always a band favorite, real close to the bar. My compliments to Dee and Scott Levine.

AUGUSTA'S SECRET AGENT MAN

I'd like to shine the Pop Rocks spotlight on Steven Hall, a guy who over the past three years has done much to ensure that Augusta continues to rock.

If you've seen a show at the Country Club or Sky City that featured a radio-rotated rock act, chances are Mr. Hall had a hand in getting the band the gig. The recent Theory of a Deadman and Rehab gigs and tonight's Black Stone Cherry show are all Steve Hall productions. The upcoming Dinosaur Jr. show is another. He's found success with Augusta audiences and plans to continue.

It should be noted that what Mr. Hall does is not easy, particularly in Augusta. I spoke to him last week and he noted that many believe they would like his gig, until they discover that every band booked represents a gamble, the opportunity for either success or the loss of thousands of dollars. Here's hoping for the former, as the Alabama Kid's absence from Augusta would be hard to handle.

SPRING IS FOR HOPE

Athens, Ga.-based chamber-pop ensemble Hope for agoldensummer returns to Augusta for a show Saturday at Sky City. One of the more interesting acts around, Hope is not, by any means, a rock band, and yet still it rocks, but with very different sounds and textures. Favorite Cousin and Emma Jean open. Check them out.

The doors will open at 8 p.m., and music will start at 9 p.m. The cover is $5.

STICKIN' IT TO THE RECESSION

Rather than bemoan the economic crisis, the Downtown Augusta Alliance has declared the recession defunct. To celebrate, it's holding A Brand New Deal, a small-scale economic stimulus celebration Saturday centered on downtown shops and merchants.

For $5, participants can pick up a book of coupons. Each coupon is good for a gift or special offer at one of 44 participating bars, restaurants and other retail establishments. The proceeds benefit downtown authority projects. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and coupon books are available at downtown merchants. See www.dasquared.com.

GLOBAL DOES GOOD

Much respect to Global Spectrum, the management company that took over James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium in 2008. Last weekend, the two facilities set a weekend attendance record for the complex. More than 20,000 patrons attended the WWE, Harlem Globetrotters and Augusta Blues Festival events.

I was skeptical that the sinking ship that was the Augusta Entertainment Complex could ever be righted, but General Manager Monty Jones and his enthusiastic team seem determined to prove me wrong.

Here's hoping.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

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