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Out of Touch 

A popular dance club turns out the lights.

Mary J. Blige, getting soulful at the Palace Theatre, - April 30. - WANDA  SANTOS-BRAY

The Ohio City dance club Touch, a popular stop for dance music of all kinds, has closed its doors after nearly four years.

"It was always considered a great underground club," says DJ misterbradleyp, who spun there regularly. "It was always good for dance music and dancing. It was known as a non-meat market. It had a wide mix of demographic -- the salsa crowd, rock, hip-hop, black, white, gay, straight. It was a non-pretentious place."

Touch opened as a restaurant and basement club in late 2000, successor to the bohemian hangout the Brillo Pad. Jeff Allison, a former Brillo bartender and co-founder of Spy in the Warehouse District, assumed control of Touch in late 2001, gradually returning the establishment to its club roots. Though bustling on weekends, Touch still wasn't busy enough to meet the steep monthly overhead of its Lorain Avenue building.

"The club wasn't a failure," says Allison. "The deal was a failure."

Allison is working on a new, more casual bar on the corner of West 25th and Bridge, near the chic Modä. "It's not going to be anything like Touch," he says. "Just a good jukebox, a good gathering place. With no cover charge, it'll be a good jumping-off point for people to start their night out."

· Short Vincent will end its three-year run as house band for Fat Fish Blue's open-mic night this Tuesday, May 11. Cleveland blues stalwarts the Bluescasters will be the new weekly hosts.

"That takes some finesse," says Fat Fish Blue manager Deb Townsend, "to be able to support strangers who get up and say, 'I'm going to sing a song in the key of G.'"

· Fat Fish Blue is set to open its second location, on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati. Scheduled to open in June, it will have the same basic layout as the original, with a stage in the middle of the club. Cleveland blues icon Robert Lockwood Jr. will make some appearances, but Fat Fish Cleveland promises that his weekly appearances will continue "until the end of time."

· MTV.com has taken note of Cleveland hip-hop mixmaster Mick Boogie. His latest mix, The Big Picture, received an honorable mention in a recent Mixtape Monday rundown. The pastiche features 50 Cent, Rah Digga, and Ghostface. For a taste, visit Boogie's website, www.tapemix.com.CDs/mb_bigpicture.html.

· Déjà vu all over again: Cleveland breakout metal band Chimaira wrapped up April with its second annual bus mishap. This time, the band's tour bus broke down. They chartered a second bus, and its transmission promptly died, causing them to miss a show in Kansas City.

"At least it's better than last year," says bassist Jim LaMarca. Last April, the band survived a full-on accident, in which a loaded tour bus slammed into a construction barricade, raising the bus onto its back wheels.

· In other metal news, congratulations to Cleveland's Brad Schreiber. The longtime metalhead has a letter in the May 2004 issue of Metal Edge, arguing that Kiss is overdue for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Schreiber offers an exclusive scoop: Apparently, they're nice guys.

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More by D.X. Ferris

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