Oldskool Reunion: Take III
Joffe Productions is back for Round III of the Oldskool Charlotte reunion. Grab ya babysitters now (for your kids or yourself) and plan to be out WAY past curfew.
I always love getting a phone call from Joffe. I don't hear from him often (he keeps busy running STAX, The Reddoor and The Men's Club) but when I do, I know the drill.
We are about to throw a helluva party.
The Oldskool party is back by popular demand. Joffe's last two parties have SOLD OUT! I'm talking line wrapped around the building and people waiting for one in, one out.
The Charlotte Nightlife History
In case you are new to the Charlotte area, or not old enough to remember, let me give you a little rundown on the history of Charlotte nightlife back in the day. Picture it, the late 90s. Downtown Charlotte, as it used to be called, was nothing. We had just gotten the Carolina Panthers and there was not a lot of action going on after the sun went down. I was in high school and I remember an article coming out in The Charlotte Observer about a bar named Cosmos and a dance club named Mythos opening up on the corner of 6th and College (thank you Andy Kastanas). My Mother said, “You should go!” Twist my arm Mom. So off I went.
Me and some friends with our glossy new fake IDs.
Cosmos was packed. It was THE spot. Fancy cocktails, great DJs and tasty food. I always felt very Carrie Bradshaw, dressed up and sippin on martinis. We met up with friends that night and the next thing I know, we are in the back room at Mythos! I had never been anywhere like this. I can remember my bold teenage self walking in the doors of Mythos. I remember looking at the door guy, who terrified me, but I couldn't let him know that. I was 21, or so my ID said and I was going in and that was all there was to it!
Mythos (located in the alleyway of 6th and College) always reminded me of the witches castle on The Wizard of Oz. Flying monkey's and everything. Seriously. I saw some wild things in there. I think we all did. You had to walk down this long dark black-light lit hallway and the base was so loud, my teeth chattered. I was a smidge scared, but mostly excited. Would the door guy believe that I was my sister (who has brown hair and blue eyes). Of course he did!
And that was the night I was introduced to house music and breakbeats.
Mythos was just the beginning. We'd meet at Cosmos and then venture to wherever the new spot was. There were clubs sprinkled here and there around the city. I can’t tell you how many times I skipped the line by telling the door guy “I’m the DJs sister". I gained about 10 brothers back then. To this day people still think Matt Bolick, Chris Havey and Nick Spain are my brothers. And I am A-OK with that.
So how did it all begin?
I can give you the exact date. It was October 10, 1997. The Rolling Stones were in town playing their Bridges To Babylon Tour at Ericsson Stadium (now Bank of America). I was heading to the concert with my family, but just a few blocks away at the Pterodactyl Club on Freedom Drive, there was another kind of history taking place. Todd Joffe had lost his close friend Sharif and was unable to attend the funeral out in LA. He wanted to do something to celebrate his friends life. He decided to throw a party. A celebration. That night in that tiny club, close to a thousand people showed up, and that was the night Joffe Productions was born.
Keep in mind, this was before Charlotte had breweries and the Whitewater Center; NoDa was barely existing, except for Fat City. You only went to Fat City when they had a gallery crawl. Back then it was not the safest part of town. Pterodactyl Club, Park Elevator, The BAHA, Club 911, 1313 and Rainbow Deli were all Charlotte staples, but none were IN Downtown. Mythos was the dance club to be at. It was always packed and stayed open later than I think they were supposed to. I'd hear about clubs opening up here and there, most in somewhat sketchy alleyways or old abandoned buildings. I can remember one night, walking down 5th street where Gateway Village is now and going into a club where the door was a piece of plywood and it had the numbers 519 spray painted on it. That was known as the 519 Club. There was Tonic on 4th Street (gone) which was my favorite with the fire pit seating out back. There was Midnight Till 6 on 4th Street (gone), Time Lounge on College Street (gone), Crush on Stonewall (now Whole Foods), Varga on 4th Street (beside Green's Famous hot dogs), Twist (now 5Church) and Liquid Lounge (now Tilt) to name a few.
Without fail, every night when I would leave the club there would be colorful fliers with neon bubble text saying "Joffe Productions Presents..." That's how you Facebooked back then. DJs had to promote themselves. They were THE walking/talking social media. If they wanted you to come here them play, they had to promote themselves (or hire me to round up my friends, which they did). I'd see guys running through the parking decks while everyone was inside dancing and drinking, flyering the cars in the parking lots. Word would spread through the city. How?? I don’t know – cell phones had just come on the scene - #PageMe Whenever I got a flier, I knew I had to go. The parties started late and ended early...in the wee hours of the morning. And the guy behind it all? Joffe.
And he's still go it.
You don't want to miss this event. We have the best of the best. Rick Solo, Tommy Tom is on the patio, Rob Reeves, Kenny Breaks and Hustle Hands. Come show some love for the pioneers that started it all. These guys have worked so hard to keep this reunion going and the history of that music alive. Trust me, the flashbacks will be strong.
Mark your calendar: Friday April 26th, SERJ on Central. Doors open at 10. Tickets are $10 at the door before midnight.
Want to really flashback? Here’s a playlist that will blow your mind.
See you kids soon.