Monday, October 20, 2014

I-Drive Update: Game Changers

Yesterday's article updated you on many of the nightlife options that are available along International Drive but there's more on the way.  This is Mango's Tropical Cafe, a branch of the highly successful club located in South Beach.  The sign here originally said Mango's was opening in 2014 but that's not going to happen.  As you can see from my visit Saturday night, the front wall has been removed and interior gutting is just now taking place.  The 3-level structure includes a roof top dance club overlooking International Drive.  This is the kind of place the new Disney Springs is going to have to compete with.  If there's no nightlife at Disney, the people will come to nearby International Drive.
The other huge game-changer along International Drive is The Orlando Eye, a huge wheel that will take patrons 425' into the sky.  It's scheduled to open in Spring.  But it's just one part of a massive entertainment complex on the ground called I-Drive 360 that includes already-open restaurants Yardhouse, Outback Steak House and Carrabba's with a coming Shake Shack.  Anchors will include a Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and Sea Life Orlando Aquarium.  The only club announced for the complex is Cowgirls, a country & western bar.  Again, if Disney Springs turns out to be an entertainment bust, International Drive (and a resurgent Universal CityWalk) have and will be there to provide it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Club Reports: LAX, Backstage Nightclub, BB Kings Blues Club, Adobe Gilas', Funky Monkey, Señor Frog's, Fire Lounge

It's been more than two years since the Blog explored the tourist district of International Drive so that was last night's project.  Began the night at the enormous club LAX on Universal Blvd.  It remains non-operational. Once known as Destiny Night Club, I was there on opening night for DJ's Sandra Collins (USA) and Paul Oakenfold (GB).  It's too bad they can't get this one going again now that EDM is so huge!
Two busts in a row! Went next to Backstage Nightclub inside the Rosen Plaza Hotel on I-Drive.  It has closed and is under heavy renovations.  But it's not permanently out of business; a valet driver told me that it's going to reopen in Spring.
Next stop, the increasingly popular Pointe Orlando complex.  Originally opened as a retail complex and still having a Hollister, Bath & Body Works and other stores, it's become mostly a dining and entertainment complex for those staying in nearby hotels.  Opa at the rear features Greek table dancing and Top 40/Dance while BB King's Blues Club in the foreground is all about their live band!
The BB Kings All-Star Band mixes Blues in with a mostly Top 40 music format. Cover was $5.
Sources tell the Blog that this empty spot, formerly Lulu's Bait Shack, is being developed by the owners of BB King's and will become Lafayette Music Hall, another music and dancing venue.  They're also developing the smaller, former Hooters location into another restaurant.
Adobe Gilas' is another restaurant that becomes a club at night!
At this venue, it's a live Rock band.
Club was packed!  No cover.
Over in this corner of Pointe Orlando, the future location of Blue Martini is under construction.  They'll be relocating from their current spot in the Mall at Millenia.
Another restaurant in Pointe Orlando with music is Funky Monkey Bistro & Bar.
No one was dancing during my visit but the DJ was playing some Michael Jackson.
If you've ever been down to the Caribbean or Mexico, you're no doubt familiar with the fun of Mexican chain Señor Frog’s!  It's a couple block walk north of Pointe Orlando.
DJ's were playing predominately Caribbean Latin beats and Top 40.
Guys looking for girls?  It was about 75% female here!
Dance floor stayed packed although a lot of people were dancing right next to their tables!
Didn't hear any EDM but my drink was powerful!
Cover charge was $10 and there was a line to get in!
Last stop of the night was Fire Lounge, located at Ice Bar Orlando.
DJ ET (The Groove, Vain Nightclub) was in the booth playing mostly Hip Hop.
Dance floor started off with just two brave souls.
But quickly morphed into full status for "The Wobble"!
ET is at Vain Nightclub on Friday nights and here at Fire Lounge on Saturday nights.
Another venue about 75% female meaning a good time was had by all!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Concert Report: DJ Porter Robinson (House Of Blues)

Lots of great memories when you head out to Downtown Disney at night!
House of Blues on a Friday night and finding DJ Giraffage (USA) on the stage mixing up a set of Electrohouse and Dubstep!
The club was already packed!
Everyone here to see DJ Porter Robinson (USA), coming on around 10:10pm.
Advertised as a "live show" versus a "DJ set".
Everyone taking pictures!
Playing the keyboards to a lot of his songs.
"Lionhearted"
Foggy bottom!
Looking up!
Looking down!
"Worlds"
This is what Porter's email said after I purchased my ticket:  I'm probably not supposed to tell you this in this email, but here's some things i want you to know:
p1. this is my live show! it's pretty different from my DJ set. i promise it will be exciting and fun. this is exactly the show i want to be doing and i've been looking forward to this for years.
p2. this is more of a concert than a rave type thing (whatever that means), but DON'T U DARE LET THAT STOP U FROM GOING NUTS. i very specifically avoided seated venues on this tour because the standing/dancing/super loud vibe is the best.
So I expected something a little more interactive.  But other than playing the keyboards and singing along to some of the songs, he really never chatted with the crowd or did anything to differentiate this from a regular "DJ set" type of show.
Not that I'm complaining.  It was an amazing show of all-Porter Robinson songs!
Confetti explosion to close it out around 11:30pm!!
Ending the night with "Language".  A good time was had by all!

DTD Update: Another Section Of High Line

There's been a small section of a construction wall in the area between Splitsville and Bongo's so I thought they might be putting in a water fountain or something.  Nope.  Another section of High Line!
Very early in construction, this will likely be a section like the one by Starbucks where you can't actually go up on top.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Concert Report: Billy Ocean (EPCOT)

The "Eat To The Beat" concert series continued at EPCOT this past Wednesday evening during my visit out there.
Taking place on the stage at the American Gardens Theater, the evening's star performer was singer Billy Ocean (GB).  Full house on hand!
The now 64-year old singer still has the moves!
Performing his biggest hits "Caribbean Queen" & "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car".
His younger backup singers made for an interesting diversion!
All taking place during the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!