For our current venue spotlight, we’re checking out a new venue in Lexington, KY called Cosmic Charlie’s. We had a great conversation with Mark Evans, who is booking the room. In some ways, this room is taking some of the vibe from the Fishtank, an institution in Lexington the last few years in terms of live music, and bringing it across the street to Cosmic Charlie’s.
So below is some great information from Mark about their booking philosophy, what the club is going to be like, and just some general musical chit chat!
LMN&R: What is your mission when it comes to programming the calendar?
Mark Evans: My mission, aside from getting people into the club, is to provide the region with a variety of live entertainment that is consistent in good quality. I want people to come here expecting a good show, despite whether they know anything about who’s playing.
LMN&R: How is Charlie’s going to be different then the Fishtank?
We are about four times the size as the tank, which was more of a pub with a stage than an actual venue. The atmosphere is more music focused, with a larger stage, lights, and PA. On the musical side, the Tank and Charlie’s have similar acts, but Cosmic Charlie’s has more of a variety of genres.
LMN&R: What was your history with the Fishtank and how has that prepared you for Cosmic Charlie’s?
I bartended at the tank for several years and helped out a little with booking. Seeing the mistakes and personal victories of previous booking has helped me know what the patrons and bands that walk into the bar expect. I’ve also developed personal relationships with several of the bands that come through over the years, which helps substantially when dealing with them on a business level.
LMN&R: What is like living in Lexington and how will the town affect the mood and how you program there?
Lexington is a small city that has a standard of quality when it comes to entertainment. While we have the giant college population from the University of Kentucky, we also have to maintain face with the outside community, which is driven by our ties into the prestigious world of the horse industry. I try to program to both tastes, which are incredibly different. This creates a calendar with a lot of dynamics.
LMN&R: Do you have specific tie-in promotions that will be targeting the university students?
We occasionally offer drink specials (i.e. dollar drafts) that pull in that crowd and have promotions from liquor, beer, and cigarette manufacturers.
LMN&R: What about your life and upbringing brought you to this project?
Having two sets of parents from the time I was two, I got four different musical influences growing up. This has impacted my taste in music and has helped me understand the variety of musical tastes.
LMN&R: What can we expect out of a night at Cosmic Charlies?
Simply put, quality. Different nights should have different expectations. For example, next week is a burlesque/peep show on Monday, Indie rock on Tuesday, New Orleans Jazz on Wednesday,
Americana on Thursday, and Honky Tonk on Friday. All nights will have a complete different vibe and crowd.
LMN&R: Is the club’s name a reference to the Grateful Dead song of the same name? How is your history with the Dead, and the culture of that particular band and crowd, playing into the vibe at Charlies?
The name is indeed a reference to the Dead song. The owner of the bar is a lifelong deadhead and it does show. We have a giant mural of Garcia”s face on one of the walls. We didn’t really incorporate much more of that sorta thing into the theme of the room though, as to not pigeon hole ourselves. The bar has a “cosmic” theme, with planets, stars, and aliens all over the place. We do have a resident dead cover band though (Born Cross Eyed), and they kick ass.
LMN&R: Anything else we should know?
We have homemade beer cheese that kicks a lot of ass.
Upcoming shows at Cosmic Charlie’s:
12 Asylum Street Spankers
19 Ana Sia
2 the Hot Seats
11 Woody Pines – Green Genes
16 Garaj Mahal
29 Jones for Revival
30 the Werks
11 Stephanie’s ID
388 Woodland Avenue