Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Raleigh's colorful past: Cameron Village's Underground

I can't say I ever personally made it to a rock show in Cameron Village's Underground. (Probably too busy playing with Star Wars or M.A.S.K. figurines.) But man, oh man, would it have been sweet to have seen R.E.M. or The Connells (or Cutting Crew, for that matter!) back in the day.

Goodnight, Raleigh! (one of my favorite blogs) has a wonderful post on The Underground.

There once, John at Goodnight, Raleigh! writes, "was a time when some of the biggest names in jazz and rock played here, in the most unlikely of locations: Cameron Village.

"In the same way Cameron Village itself was modeled after a shopping plaza in Kansas City, The Village Subway was modeled after the Atlanta Underground. It was a series of restaurants, clubs, boutiques, fashion stores, and a few other shops. Some of the night clubs were The Frog & Nightgown, Cafe Deja Vu, Elliot’s Nest, The Pier, Skyline, The Bear’s Den, Midnight Express, and Soundhaus.

"The entrance to Raleigh’s 'Underground' was a long stairwell that was made to look like the entrance to a subway station in NYC. At the bottom of the stairs were paintings of trains to reinforce the idea. Rather than traditional wall advertisements, there were rectangular paintings of the shops that occupied the underground space. ... It represented a moment in time in which Raleigh was known far and wide for its nightlife and music scene. The number of talented artists that graced the halls of the underground is quite impressive. ..."

No doubt. The aforementioned R.E.M. and The Connells, the Ramones, the Velvet Underground (allegedly). Throw in some giants of the day (Flock of Seagulls, Huey Lews and the News, Eddie Money) and you've got quite a hotspot for live music.

Sadly, "there isn’t much left other than peeling paint and a few spots of the terra cotta tiling. Nothing remains that lends itself to an almost mythical and fabled past. The stairwell (now under the library) has been covered up and paved over."

But please go over to Goodnight, Raleigh! to check out the photos of the fabled Underground.


viridari said...

So I don't mean this in a prickish way...

...but are all of the Raleigh area blogs just getting all of their stories from PR firms or something?

It would be nice to see more original reporting instead of one original report followed by a bunch of duplicate stories from all the other blogs catching up with the first one.

M. Lail said...

I try not to "piggyback" too much from other blogs -- unless I see something that I think folks who come here would be interested in (like the Underground) or would want to discuss. Sometimes that can bite you (like the Yancy's stuff). But I know what you mean. Have you heard about Jibarra moving downtown?

TSnow said...

I've never heard of "Goodnight Raleigh" so I would have missed this story all together. Now I guess that's my fault but I'm glad I got the chance to learn about it.

DPK said...

I don't usually check Goodnight Raleigh on a daily basis like I do this blog and a few others, so I enjoyed this post because it reminded me about their site. :)

130 said...

viridari, I don't think you understand how local communal news sources and discussions work.

are you a user of facebook or myspace? have you ever forwarded a story that you liked to others? the whole idea of local communications revolves around sharing ideas with those who may not otherwise have been exposed to it. the fact that 2 local blogs covered what another wrote says nothing about the originality or usefulness of the ones who reposted it. there was obviously something interesting that the other 2 blogs wanted to share with readers who may not have otherwise been exposed to it.

you obviously have an agenda of your own, as you comment on every raleigh blog in an attempt to draw attention to your photography. you appear to have no grasp of how community conversations evolve and progress.

sorry raleigh philosophical society for flame baiting the troll.