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New hall, old Halls

Raleigh Music Hall opens

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The resurrection of Martin Street Music Hall as Raleigh Music Hall is finally complete, and the club opens for its first night of rock 'n' roll on Friday, Feb. 17 with Parklife. Rob Farris, who booked Martin Street for a time and ran sound as the production manager for most of the club's 10-month run, has been working for several months to launch Raleigh Music Hall, and--after what he describes as some almost-sleepless nights and heavy cooperation with the City of Raleigh and its zoning ordinances--he's just days away.

"I'm going to approach the club more as a resource, because I naturally come from the production end of things," says Farris, who seems simultaneously thrilled by the possibilities of the new venue and exhausted by the work that has been required to get it to this point.

In this incarnation, the space, located on the second floor of 14 W. Martin St., will hold more than 300 people and will use two stages that can be partitioned using heavy black curtains. The larger stage will be used for rock bands, but Farris hopes the smaller second stage can offer a more intimate experience for solo artists or songwriters participating in song swaps. Farris is currently working with three to four events each week for the next several weeks, but he hopes to be able to host at least five events each week--from rock shows to dance parties to movie nights. As such, after Parklife plays on Friday, international breakdancing auteur Ken Swift judges a B-Boy competition on Saturday. For more on the club,visit their site.

Asher, again

Speaking of Rob Farris and the Music Hall, a band he booked heavily when the space was still known as Martin Street--Nathan Asher & The Infantry--has plucked another feather for its songwriting cap. "Turn Up the Faders," a cut from the band's debut, was named last week as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. The song--an anxious rock barnstormer about losing yourself in a world gone mad--emerged from 15,000 other entries from 80 countries to move on to the final round, which is judged by people like Tom Waits and Darryl McDaniels. To vote in the People's Voice portion of the competition, see www.songwritingcompetition.com. "Turn Up the Faders" was named a grand prize winner in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in November. Another of Asher's songs, "You Cannot Quit Smoking," is a finalist in the Indy Music Awards.
--Grayson Currin

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