Sunday, May 17, 2015

Elliot’s Nest, Beach Music, Jimmy Buffett, Cameron Village Subway

Much has been written and reported in recent weeks and days about the Cameron Village Subway, an underground Raleigh nightclub spot that was the place to go from 1971 when it opened to its closing in 1984. Its location was under the current location of the Fresh Market in Cameron Village and will soon be a food prep area for the grocery store. A charity benefit was held there Saturday and for a price you could get in to see the old place one more time.

Going to see old space is far less appealing to me than just remembering what was there when it was thriving. Much of the focus of the stories and reports was on a few of the clubs and some of the entertainers, many of both which are far from the style of music and entertainment a huge list of patrons to that space preferred. From the articles, one might think the Subway was much about hippies and music of the day but that’s far from the whole story. For instance, one of the hottest spots in the Subway was Elliot’s Nest, a private/membership club heavy on Carolina Beach Music with lots of shaggin’ going on, not the British kind of shaggin’ but the popular dance of Ocean Drive Beach and Cherry Grove Beach SC.

At Elliot’s Nest, the best nights were Wednesdays starting about 9 p.m. and Fridays for happy hour when the doors opened at 5 p.m. and the line to get in snaked down the hall toward the Subway entrance on Clark Avenue. The footwear of the day was the Bass Weejun for men and women alike with plenty of shuffling on the small, raised dance floor in the middle of the room. The bar was located at one end, and on those two nights, the customers were usually five deep asking for Schlitz, Miller and Budweiser beers. It was a great place for dancing and for finding a date for the evening.

Across the hall was The Pier where one of the greatest nights was when Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Ban performed to an energetic audience. This was early in his career as he played favorites such as Come Monday and My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, and I Don’t Love Jesus as well as other hits from his early albums A White Sport Coat and Pink Crustacean; Living and Dying in 3/4 Time; and A1A. Reportedly, this was not his first visit to Raleigh or the Cameron Village Subway. Reportedly, prior to appearing at The Pier, prior to forming the Coral Reefer Band, Buffett played solo in the Frog and Nightgown, a small coffee-type house where Elliot’s Nest eventually took over.
-------------------- word of the day
rubberneck (verb) [ruhb-er-nek] to look about or stare with great curiosity; (noun) a sightseer; tourist

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