Best of Entertainment
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Sky City • Photo By John Harping
Ladies first, and readers display their musical savvy by handing Ilhwa Gallo the gold medal, even though she’s pure silk. She’s the front man, so to speak, for the trio Eleventhe Hour. Unrelated sisters Dee Hemingway and Tutu Devyne score second and third.
The familiar pipes of Pat Blanchard win top honors again, beating out another familiar name in third, Shaun Piazza. Elbowing into second is North Augusta’s own singer/songwriter Carey Murdock. We hereby claim him for Augusta.
Live entertainment is a great source of R&R, and R&B is to R&R what Playback is to the best: They’re almost synonymous. Venerable faves Preston and Weston are the prime warm-up act. The Tony Howard Band opens the bill in third.
Few other musical genres can be so mellow and soothing in one song and so on-fire in another. That’s why we love all that jazz, particularly when played by the Garden City Jazz Band in first chair. Jazz Collective and the ASU Jazz Ensemble also rank in second and third respectively.
Reader poll results put John Kolbeck in first place. If you’re thinking “John Kolbeck” doesn’t sound like the name of a band, well, it would be hard to name an Augusta band that John hasn’t played with, produced or influenced. Look up “one man band” and see whose picture is there. Jeremy Graham Band wins second; Crosstie Walkers take third.
If you’ve got an aural fixation, My Instant Lunch is the cure for your hunger according to most readers and we agree. Look for these guys—even if it isn’t technically lunchtime—and once you find where they’re playing, listen to these guys. Great Day in the Morning gets the silver. They make for a great night out. Shaun Piazza reappears here to grab another bronze medal.
You’ve heard of comfort food? The musical equivalent is bluegrass. Taste Eryn Eubanks and the Family Fold and you’ll agree. The Carl Purdy Band dishes more of that real purdy bluegrass. The Mason Jars keep it fresh in third.
Compared to old tyme gospel, contemporary is the kind of stuff your parents might not have allowed you to listen to back in the ’60s. But the Swanee Quintet has stayed with the tried and true classics since they started in the 1940s (with a few new members added over the years). Eryn Eubanks takes another medal (ok, so they’re imaginary, but still…) in this category, and the Macedonia Male Chorus of Martinez wins the bronze.
You just can’t beat some trumpets, a few bass drums, and half a dozen tubas played by people huffing around a huge field. Readers offer the Lucy-Laney band as Exhibit number one. Josey and Lakeside are Exhibits two and three. Now march!
Number one honors go to Leonard Zimmerman. Never heard of him? Well, artists are supposed to be seen, not heard. See Leonard Zimmerman at Wierhouse Creative (1124 Broad St.) or on the mural wrapped around the Augusta waterworks (look for the yellow robot and the red rubber duck). Silver and bronze: sculptress Kathleen Girdler-Engler and painter Bea Kuhlke.
If you’re a boomer and you can’t find your almost-grown kid who refuses to move out, readers say he’s probably at the Vue. Call and have him paged. That’ll provide a nudge toward the door for sure. The Country Club (2834 Washington Rd.) wins second. Soul Bar (984 Broad St.) takes third.
Like a singles spot for the more mobile. An avalanche of boot scooters propels the Country Club into the top spot, followed by the Vue (469 Highland Ave., Surrey Center) and Tropicabana (1251 Broad St.). Good places all to make a move. Several, in fact.
If you’re thinking waffles and hot coffee, you’ve come to the wrong category. This is more the adult beverage kind of place, led by downtown’s Firehouse Bar (1145 Broad St.). But just to prove they aren’t your sole bar, Soul Bar wins second. Helga’s (2015 Central Ave.) out there in the countryside is third.
Live Music Bar
Sky City is the venue of choice among pollsters and with good reason. They’ve had a sterling list of bookings. You heard it here: Sky City (1157 Broad St.) is a great place to support live music. And so is Stillwater Tap Room (974 Broad St.). Surrey Tavern (471 Highland Ave., Surrey Center) completes your top three.
We could all use an extra happy hour or two, yes? Get thee to Stillwater Tap Room and let the cares of the day seep away, perhaps to the accompaniment of some great live music. Soul Bar and Bistro 491 serve up second and third.
Sometimes it’s the mirror, but at Wild Wing Café, your top choice, it’s the best bar to watch people because of the layout, kind of a 360-degree thing. Check it out if you haven’t already. Sky City and Cadillac’s (3328 Washington Rd.) follow in second and third.
In first place: Bar on Broad (925 Broad St.). Not just any bar on Broad Street but the actual place named Bar on Broad. After a long day or a long week, H.D. Lounge (1204 Ellis St.) could be just the ticket. They didn’t come up with that name by accident. Club Rehab (913 Broad St.) wins third.
Place To Be Seen
You’d think it might be Wild Wing (see above), but the winner is a little thing called the Masters Tournament. What would be even cooler than being seen there would be winning the thing. The Best of Augusta Bash has almost as many teeming throngs as the Masters. Another good place to be seen: the Country Club.