One of the more enduring figures in Akron nightlife has set up a franchise. Last week, Mario Nemr opened a second Matinee club at 2527 West 25th Street, the Ohio City location that was formerly the blues/jazz spot 2527. Nemr opened the first Matinee in Akron's Highland Square in 2006, after booking, managing, and spinning at the nearby Thursday's Lounge since the Cure was making dance music.
The Cleveland Matinee kicked off with Friday-night sets by local indie-rockers Black Girls, the Very Knees, and the Strange Division.
"My goal is to draw more Akron bands to Cleveland and more Cleveland bands to Akron," says Nemr. "Right now, there's a really good music scene. Six or seven years ago, I couldn't have done this."
Saturday nights, longtime Akron DJ Frank Spicer — now a Ph.D. student at Case — will spin the indie and electro mix that's popular at Thursday's.
The bar will host local and regional bands on Fridays. Blues troubadour Pat Sweany will play solo every Wednesday night, as he has at Akron's Matinee, but live music won't be a nightly draw at the cozy club. The small back room now has a pool table. The jukebox ranges from the Smiths to Vampire Weekend, with locals like Beaten Awake. 2527's older clientele may still feel welcome on off-nights, though they'll find fewer martinis on the drink menu and more beer.
"I'm not trying to compete with the Beachland or Grog," explains Nemr. "It's going to be a cool place on any given night. It's pretty much a neighborhood bar. Some nights there's live music, sometimes not. You can catch a Cavs game and listen to TV on the Radio while you're doing it."
• Midnight Syndicate has released the score of The Rage, director Robert Kurtzman's new horror thriller. The dynamic, up-tempo release marks a move away from the company's previous, more ambient horror and fantasy scores. It's now available at www.midnightsyndicate.com, major online retailers, and Hot Topic stores that have a music section. Syndicate co-founder Edward Douglas' directorial debut, the vampire/ghost movie The Dead Matter, is planned for release later this year.
• Last Stone Cast bassist Jon Epstein has set up a web page for RPM (Recovering Professional Musicians), a local substance-abuse support network for working music professionals. Most recovery groups tell members to avoid bars completely; musicians often don't find that option practical. "The web page is a central hub where people can meet, find information, find other recovering people who share their philosophy on recovery," says Epstein. "RPM doesn't endorse any one particular method on recovery." Learn more at www.myspace.com/rpmohio.
• Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas has partnered with Smog Veil Records to launch Hearpen.com, which sells album downloads and rarities by Pere Ubu and related projects. Thomas founded the label in 1975 to release Ubu records. Explains Thomas on the website: "We don't like download audio. But here we are, living in the sort of world we live in."
• The Northside (111 North Main Street, Akron) is exhibiting paintings by local painter Terry Dyke. Dyke's collection includes paintings of musicians like Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and Akron's Jen Maurer, along with more greats and Ohio figures.