Today is JT’s birthday! To celebrate, we decided to fly to Charlotte to see Above & Beyond play!
Katie picked up sushi for both of us at hdyr before catching the airport flier from downtown. It took 20 minutes for the two salmon bowls to come out, so Katie had to run to catch the bus (which ended up being very late anyway). We got to the airport and thru security with less than 20 minutes before departure time for our 1:20pm flight! We had a short flight to Dallas, spent our 3 hour layover exploring DFW and finding cool planes (747s, 777-300ERs, other 777s, and some Airbuses too) going to places all across the world (we were jealous), and then arrived in Charlotte around 8pm (taking a wimpy MD-82 to get there). We picked up our Avis VW Jeta rental car, grabbed dinner at Zaxby’s, and checked into the Super 8 Speedway / University. Katie was pleasantly surprised when we got a newly renovated room (although the mattress and towels still need to be improved).
We left for Label at 10:45pm, stopped for a couple energy drinks (it was impossible to find flavored Rockstars in Charlotte – so we settled for an original flavored one) and got in to the club around 11:20pm. Strangely, there was absolutely no security pat down or bag check. They also did not even attempt to enforce their posted dress code. So, we got in wearing our supposedly-banned sneakers.
The general admission floor was pretty crowded. We hung against the back wall for a while. Above & Beyond took the stage a bit after midnight, and we tried to move up some. In general, the dance floor was a bit too crowded with annoying people (unpredictable dancers and overly aggressive people pushing through the crowd) for our taste. We both decided that VIP would have been worth the extra cost this time. It’s always hard to tell when purchasing tickets, especially when you don’t know the venue and/or the crowd.
The Above & Beyond set was great! As expected, they masterfully mixed a wide selection of songs and kept the crowd dancing. They played lots of songs and mixes we recognized and a few we didn’t. After the show, we exchanged our first PLUR handshakes and each got our first pieces of kandi from Josaline from Raleigh. They both have references to Above & Beyond’s Ocean Lab song Sirens of the Sea. JT’s reads “to the sand” and Katie’s reads “Sirens”. She had a pretty neat outfit for the show, including a foam finger painted for Push The Button. She is planning to go to ABGT 100 in New York (like us!).
Label was somewhat disappointing as a venue. The back right speaker (which we ended up being closest to) had some serious issues which caused some songs to sound distorted. Someone kept throwing white party napkins on small portions of the crowd (and a large empty cardboard box was thrown at one point and hit Katie in the head). The area behind the DJ stage only had three small flat-screen monitors. After shows at Stereo Live in Houston and Emo’s East in Austin, we were pretty disappointed with the visual effects. However, the bartenders seemed very cool – we got cups of water from them a few times. One bartender was dancing to the music in his own way: throwing and spinning liquor bottles and mixers. The dancers behind one of the bars on the left wall were also interestingly placed in windows visible from the entry lobby.
The area around Label on NC Music Factory drive was neat in that it had lots of bars and venues with various types of music. There was also lots of free parking – although it was a bit of a walk from Label, we didn’t mind. Seems like a cool area to hang out.
Apparently Charlotte does not have a hard cut off for bars, since our show didn’t end until around 2:15am. We were both pretty hyped up after the show, and didn’t settle into sleeping until around 4am. There was a very loud family (we guess – 2 women and 4-5 kids) across the hall that ran up and down the hall and talked very loudly most of the morning. So, between that and the uncomfortable mattress, we did not sleep great – although we didn’t try to wake until 10am.