Champagne with Friends

By David McNamara

By David McNamara

Sat barefoot in jeans and a loose shirt in the corner of Mt Pleasant’s Dog and Duck, local musician Thomas Champagne could easily trick you into thinking you were somewhere else. His unique acoustic style and unusual syncopation fuses a myriad of genres, from his country and Cajun roots to reggae and Caribbean influences.

At times there is a pendulous sense Champagne’s innovative renditions of familiar songs will trip and fall. But while you’re not sure where you’re being led, there’s bearing and assurance the journey is somewhere positive and fun.

“The number one thing I want to convey is a positive message, but it’s the ability to catch people off guard I think that is the biggest present I can give to any audience – because that’s how you amaze somebody.”

Champagne achieves this with ease so when he segues into an original song it’s often overlooked because his sets flow seamlessly together. However, this didn’t come naturally to Champagne when he first arrived in Charleston from Austin, Texas. It was a challenge he says he had to grow into and work hard at developing.

“The biggest difference coming to Charleston is it’s primarily a tourist capital. While the thriving tourist scene here is awesome for the economy it can take over a musician’s directive by having to play more cover songs than one would normally like, or have to do.”

Champagne says he embraced the twist to what he was used to because he found ways to present cover songs in his own style. Being patient with this change has seen him over the past summer receive a great deal of encouragement and positive feedback.

The result is a breezy and soulful marriage of sunburnt earth, salt and the sea which could have you convinced you were in some surf shack on the Californian coast. However, this is just one side to the constantly evolving and innovative artist, which began to emerge when Champagne relocated from Austin to Charleston.

“I’ve always been Champagne with Friends and I’ve had over 100 different friends on stage. But when I left Austin I stepped away from having a band back me up and I now play all these solo shows, which I wasn’t doing before. It definitely made me stronger as a musician and as a person by having to say, ‘Hey guys, I love you – I miss you, but I got to go and step into this by myself.’ And I think here in Charleston is the first time Thomas Champagne came out – with friends as my audience.”

Born and raised in Beaumont, Texas from strong Louisiana ancestry, Champagne is proud of his heritage.  He also appreciates the truth and irony that comes with journeying into the unfamiliar, admitting with a chuckle that he became more of a Texan by leaving Texas. Champagnes sees the move to Charleston as another chapter, both as a solo artist and his recent full-time commitment to his profession.


Two weeks prior to the Dog and Duck I first saw Champagne with Friends by accident when I entered the Blind Tiger on Broad Street on a Friday night to catch up with my own friends.  With two local musicians in support they belted out an infectious breed of classic rock tunes, and made the old floorboards at the Blind Tiger pay the price as everyone got caught in the rhythm and groove.

For me it evoked the great Aussie legacy of pub rock offered any weekend night in a beachside bar on the Indian Ocean in Perth, or a St Kilda pub in Melbourne. Continuing this prominent theme of evolution is the rotation of local musicians Champagne uses at every show.

“When you see Champagne with Friends it’s always different players so while you may have seen the show before it’ll be different every time.”

Champagne cites the generosity of Charleston’s music community as being invaluable in helping him gather new musicians to play with when he first arrived.

“The openness of the musical community here is awesome first of all. It’s nowhere near as competitive as it is in Austin, Texas which has advantages and disadvantages. Competition is a primary way to motivate an artist and make them grow, but it can also hurt you in the end.”

Not that Thomas Champagne is leaving Charleston anytime soon, but as someone not prone to taking time off he’s looking forward to opening up a new chapter in his artistic journey. After recording his last album with producer and former Hootie and the Blowfish guitarist, Mark Bryan, Champagne is due to head back to Austin to record another album at the end of the year. He then plans to tour the ski resorts in the Rockies before heading home to Charleston.

Categories: Charleston, Charleston Daily, Music, Thomas Champagne | Leave a comment

This Week in Charleston, SC – May 13, 2014 – May 18, 2014


Hello Charleston!!!!

Are you looking for the next great thing to do this week?  Long no further.  As we dive into our Spring and Summer season of love, festivals, boats, beaches and fun, let us give you a few ideas to schedule your week ahead.  This is a unique and diverse selection of amazing fun activities.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Palmetto Bier Dinner 

7:00 PM EST – Bay Street Biergarten, 549 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29403

Tickets are $50.
5 courses paired with 5 different biers. You can even pour your own!

Call 266-BIER or email to reserve your spot today!


Brave Baby at The Music Farm

8:00 PM EST – 32 Ann Street, Charleston, SC

Tickets are $5.00


The Main Squeeze at The Charleston Pour House

Doors Open at 9:00 PM EST – Show starts at 10:00 PM EST – 1977 Maybank Highway, Charleston SC 29412

Tickets are $8.00 – 2 Sets


Beer Tasting Lesson / Sampling – 4 Beer samples for $5.00 and Live Music at How Art Thou

6:00 PM EST – 1956 Maybank Highway, Charleston, SC 29412

Live music to follow beer tastings


First Full Moon Party  of the Summer at Loggarheads on Folly Beach

10:00 PM EST – 123 West Ashley Avenue, Folly Beach

Time to get weird at Loggerhead’s 1st Full Moon Party of the summer this Tuesday night! Sip on $3.00 Blue Moon bottles and dance the night away with DJ Wade 10 P.M. to 1 A.M.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Barn Jam – Awendaw Green

6:00 PM EST – 10:30 PM EST

$5.00 – Four Bands – Bring your own beverages.

6-7:30 Hick Child Soup

Alison Self

Half Day Deluxe

7:30 Chuck Johnson

8:15 The Southern Belles
9pm Microwave Dave & The Nukes

$5 donation at door, BYOB, pets on a leash, all ages, Wood Fired pizza, full grill


Michael Jackson Trivia Night and Ticket Giveaway – The Alley

8:30 PM EST – 131 Columbus Street, Charleston, SC 29403

We host a super fun trivia night every Wednesday at 8:30pm. However, this Wednesday, we’re throwing down with a very special Michael Jackson themed trivia night.

We’ll have tons of great MJ music, a bunch of MJ inspired trivia questions & best of all, two chances to win tickets to see the Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil at the North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center.


Tegan and Sara at The Music Farm

9:00 PM EST – $25$27 – 32 Ann Street, Charleston, SC 29403


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Taste of the Market – Palmetto Carriage Parking Lot (Anson Street)

6:00 PM EST – 8:00 PM EST – $10.00 / Free for Children 10 and under

Join City Market Hospitality Association and Charleston Culinary Tours every third Thursday for Taste of the Market at Palmetto Carriage Company Lot on Anson Street.

May’s Taste of the Market celebrates local civil servants, military personnel, hometown heroes and community leaders. For devotion to duty and sacrifice of self, they will receive a discounted admission of $5 (saving $5) and other giveaways with uniform or ID badge.

-Free Samples from market area restaurants that include 82 Queen, Mac’s Place, Molly Darcy’s, Another Broken Egg, The Peanut Shop of Charleston, Holy City Popcorn, It’s Sugar, Noisy Oyster, Mad River, AW Shucks, Lowcountry Bistro, Cafe, Tabbuli, Charleston Crab House, Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill & Sweet CeCe’s
-Holy City selling $4 domestics and $5 craft beers
-Live Music from Guilds Hollowell and Friends
-Children’s area
-Raffles with gift cards from all participants

$10 with a portion of the proceeds to benefit Hospitality Heroes. Free: Children 10 and Under


Footlight Players Present:  Twentieth Century (All Tickets $5.00)

8:00 PM EST – 20 Queen Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Footlight Players Presents
Twentieth Century
Edmond Rostand, Playwright Translation by Ranjit Bolt
Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 8:00PM
at Footlight Players Theatre
20 Queen Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Located between State and Church Streets


Friday, May 16, 2014


Doors of Freedom Live Auction

5:00 PM EST – 8:00 PM EST – 427 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403

Art Mecca of Charleston | | 427 King St. Charleston, SC 29403

Friday, May 16th 2014

Art Mecca of Charleston cordially invites you to their very first charity event. During the Upper King Shop and Stroll the gallery will be hosting a live auction benefiting Doors to Freedom.

Doors to Freedom has been established to provide a safe place for survivors of human trafficking to experience a transformed life (

Art Mecca of Charleston will be helping raise money to build a safe home for twelve local rescued women. All proceeds from live auction will go to this cause.

The gallery will also feature four local artists. The gallery will be serving complimentary wine and hors d’ oeuvres


50 Shades:  The Musical

Ticket prices vary

8:00 PM EST – North Charleston Performing Arts Center – 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston, South Carolina 29418

For more information, visit
A resounding hit in Chicago and New York, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 50 SHADES! THE MUSICAL opens with a ladies book club deciding to read Fifty Shades of Grey. Through their interpretation of the novel, the audience is led on an uproarious roller coaster ride of this unlikely bestseller. The show is full of dance numbers and original songs delivered by an outrageous cast with a live, on-stage band.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Community Yard Sale – Village Green

8:00 AM EST – 1:00 PM EST – Village Green, Charleston, SC

By agreement between the VGHOA and Shadowmoss Plantation HOA, the spring yard sale will be held on Saturday, May 17 from 8AM to 1PM.

Both organizations feel that holding the neighborhood yard sales on the same day will help bring more people to the area and hopefully boost sale proceeds for those who participate in the yard sales.

So, mark your calendars! And while you’re busy with spring cleaning, set aside those items you’ll put out for sale on Saturday, May 17!


Holy City Cornhole Tournament / Olympics

1:00 PM EST – Brittlebank Park, Lockwood Avenue, Charleston, SC

1st Place = $150
2nd Place = $50 + $20 Beer Tickets
3rd Place = $20 Beer Tickets
Registration Opens at 1pm! Games Kick Off at 2pm!


First Annual Charleston Do It Yourself (DIY) Festival

The First Annual Charleston DIY Festival is designed to celebrate the “Do-It-Yourself” philosophy. The Charleston County Public Library is the perfect venue for this event, as one of its core values is to promote lifelong learning. This free festival will occur at the Main Library, and it will provide the opportunity for local artists, craftspeople, businesses, organizations, musicians, and technology advocates who support creativity and inventiveness to collaborate with the greater Charleston community.

2:00 PM EST – 5:00 PM EST

Charleston County Public Library:  68 Calhoun St, Charleston, South Carolina 29401

The event will include:

Makelab Charleston
Betty Irving’s B&D Beaded Creations
Nicky Jones
Rebecca Jane Jewelry
Girls Rock Charleston
Brien Beidler of the Charleston Library Society
Tina Arnoldi “Oils on the Side” Essential Oils
SpaceCraft Studios
Red Rose Vintage

@ 2:30 from Is This Halloween Music?:

@ 3:45 from The V-Tones of Charleston:

Allison Merrick: Makers’ Manifesto (2:15 – 2:25)
Stylicia Bowden: The Do’s and Don’ts of Self-Publishing (2:30 – 2:50)
Christine Eadie: Tintype Photography Using the Wet Plate Collodion Process (3:00 – 3:30)
Preston Bernstein: Easy Website Design (3:40 – 4:10)
Ellen Shoener: The Art of Making Your Own Newsletters (4:20 – 4:40)

There will be DIY crafts for youth in the library’s Young Adult Department.

Please call (843)805-6930 for the most up-to-date information about the event.


Elliotborough Block and Roll Music Festival

3:00 PM EST – 9:00 PM EST – 229 St. Philip St., Charleston, South Carolina 29403

An all day celebration of our hood presented by D’Allesandro’s Pizza. Music by The Royal Tinfoil, SUSTO, Jordan Igoe, Johnny Delaware, WoSe of Charleston, Ka’tet, and Fiasco. Music starts at 3:15; outdoor beer garden; food trucks and merchants. Free Admission!

The Royal TInfoil:
Jordan Igoe:
Johnny Delaware:

D’Als Pizza:

Thanks to our additional sponsors!!
Brown’s Court Bakery
The George Gallery:
Artisan Tees:
Mudd Pie Girl Bakery
The Museum of Living Arts
Marsh Wear Clothing:
AutoBanh FoodTruck
Continuum Skateshop
Red Rose Vintage
Sweet Radish Bakeshop

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Open Cockpit Sunday – Final One

10:00 AM EST – 4:00 PM EST – Patriots Point – Yorktown

We invite YOU to visit us on Sunday, May 18, from 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. for the final “Open Cockpit Sunday” before the summer months.

For one Sunday each month (in the cooler months, that is), visitors have the opportunity to explore the cockpits of some of the museum’s most popular aircraft. As the hot summer months approach, we close these cockpits to preserve these artifacts.

It is your LAST CHANCE of the spring to bring the entire family and visit exhibits usually not open as part of the regular tours of the USS YORKTOWN.

Patriots Point staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and to share the unique histories of these historic aircraft. Normal museum admission rates apply.

See you there!


Sip and Slide Sunday Fun Day – Cha Cha’s

2:00 PM EST – ?

Cha Cha’s 1409 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC


Red Bull is also bringing out their HUGE TENT!

Bikini Contest ($500)
Magic Mike Dance off ($300)
Cornhole Tourney ($200)

DJ Sparkbox
DJ Moo Moo
DJ Vern
Guest Performance by Mason Jar Muzik’s BIG CITY

PRESALE TICKETS $10 ($15+ at Door)

Exclusive Photography by Beachmonkey

$2 Tecate
$3 Frozen Screwdrivers
$5 Vodka Redbull


80’s Dance Party and Vintage Pop Up Shop – The Royal American

8:00 PM EST – 970 Morrison Drive, Charleston, South Carolina 29403

Mom jeans and fanny packs!! Join us for an epic 80s party and bitchin’ pop up shop hosted by Red Rose Vintage. Come out in your scrunchies and tracksuits, and get down with your bad self to some stellar 80s jams. Shop the throwback fashions from Red Rose Vintage and play 80s trivia to enter to win a super cool surprise giveaway!


Cassie Vaughan Perkins Benefit Show

3:00 PM EST – 11:30 PM EST – Tin Roof – $10.00 Donation at the Door

Tin Roof – 1117 Magnolia Rd., Charleston, South Carolina 29407

As many of you know, we lost Cassie Vaughan Perkins back in February, following her struggle with postpartum depression. One of the saddest days many of us have seen. Cassie loved her son, family, and friends more than anything, but unfortunately her depression had gotten the best of her. Just before Cassie’s passing, she had started a go fund me account for her son who was having health problems. The financial strain had become a huge burden. We decided to put on this benefit show to raise money for her son Bronson and to celebrate her life. Everyone remembers Cassie as one of the happiest, most kind people you could ever know. Always laughing and smiling, bringing light and joy to everyone around her. We invite you to come out and share in a night of good company and good music with her friends and family, like she often used to enjoy. All of the bands playing, some of which include friends and family members, are all gladly donating their time for this event in honor of Cassie. This is most DEFINITELY an event you could catch her at. Cassie had once been a huge part of the music scene in Charleston, well known and liked by all. There was a time that when any good rockabilly or punk band was in town, you would be sure to see her out, rockin her red lipstick, fishnets, and newest threads! Always classy, but always the sexiest gal in the room. Full of life and the coolest chick you’d ever meet. We all miss her in our own way and would love nothing more than to see her baby boy have the best life he can. Come show some support and have a kick ass night like we used to with our beloved Cass!


Skye Paige
First World Problem
Lily Slay
Dallas Baker
The 33’s
Dirty Circus

Fyxe Photography Photobooth will be setup



* $10 cover at the door

with a portion being donated to Postpartum Support Charleston



Categories: arts, benefits, Calendar, Charleston, Charleston Daily, community, history, Music, plays, sales, South Carolina | Leave a comment

People of Charleston Slideshow

What’s not to love about the fantastic people who make Charleston the place to be?

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Categories: Beach, Charleston, Children, Chuck Town, Downtown, family, festival, Firefly Distillery, Irvin House Vineyards, King Street, Lowcountry, Mayor, Mount Pleasant, Music, Party, Sullivan's Island, Theme, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Rockabilly meets Pony Boy and Rocks the House Park Circle Style – Are you Ready for Rockabillaque?


This Saturday, November 16th from 1 PM to 2 AM, The Barbaque Joint and Ivy Mountain Distillery present Rockabillaque, a day and evening extravaganza that will tear off your dancing shoes, take by back to the days of the Outsiders and the Fonz and have pumped up for some horse power.

This block party offers fun and excitement for all ages from great Rockabilly music, to a Pin-up competition to some gritty classic cars.

During the course of the day/night event you will witness:

  • Great live music all day long
  • Fashion show
  • Savory barbeque
  • Classic car show
  • Pin-up competition
  • Whiskey Tastings
  • Dancing and community engagement

We had a moment to talk to Simon Cantlon, Co-Producer at Rockabilly on the Route and organizer of this years event. From his conversation and the enthusiasm he shares with the music, the theme and the city of Charleston, this Saturday’s event is shaping up to be a memorable part of the fall season line up of great Charleston happenings.

1. How important is utilizing the Park Circle environment and strong community culture to making this a successful event?

I am a big fan of Park Circle and that is a big reason why I chose it as the location for Rock-A-Bill-A-Que. It is a close-knit community and the neighborhood and it’s people could not have been more supportive.

2. Rockabilly has a certain flashback appeal (The Outsiders, Brian Setzer, Happy Days) with heavy undertones of the South. Are you hoping the participants and attendees really embrace the theme?


It would be great if attendees embrace the look and feel of the 50’s but I am just hoping people come out and have a great time, that’s the most important thing.

3. What bands are you most excited about seeing perform and why?

I hand picked all the bands so I am psyched to see all of them!

4. Does this event appeal to all ages from children to adult?

The daytime festivities are definitely great for the whole family with the classic cars, the barbeque, a fashion show and more! Plus it’s free!

5. Music is such a core foundation in the Charleston community and this event offers a unique experience. Do you feel this inaugural event will be the start of bigger future annual events?

I definitely want to make this an annual event and grow it every year!

6. With all the events in the area this weekend, why do I want to attend, Rockabillaque?


There is nothing like Rockabillaque happening in Charleston and the fest has so much to offer from a classic car show, live music, whiskey tastings, a pin-up contest, barbeque, a fashion show and more!

For more information go to:

Categories: Charleston, Fashion, Music, Park Circle, Rockabilly, Whiskey, Whiskey Diablo | Leave a comment

Charleston Thanks Sigur Ros for Inspiring our Senses to the Wonder of Music

Picture 1989

Words cannot express nor give justice to the mind blowing experience witnessed from the seventh row center of the North Charleston Performing Arts Center as Sigur Ros, visiting from Iceland took center stage for a life changing experience. After nearly two hours of visual and musical symmetry, the entire audience was standing and applauding not just out of respect for the live performance, but the way the band dove deep into the trenches of our souls and reminded us of the power of music.

Front man Jonsi Birgisson’s higher than the angels voice in sync with his bow guitar made for a unique sound that embraced the audience from the first to last row. Named after Jonsi’s sister, Sigurros Elin, the band has been exciting crowds since 1994.

From the powerful bass, to the soothing keyboards
From the violins to the xylophone
From the drums to saxophone

This eleven piece ensemble created an epic musical event, Broadway show and laser light show wrapped with a bow. Paying homage to the visual and musical experience pioneered by Pink Floyd, Sigur Ros has not only taken over where Floyd left off, but taken us into another dimension we did not even know was within ourselves.

Picture 1976

Prior to this evening, this writer has witnessed hundreds of live performances throughout his adult years. Yet, until 8:30 PM on Wednesday evening, Radiohead had topped my list for greatest live concert. From the first string of the guitar to the last howling sound of Jonsi’s voice, I witnessed a changing of the guards.

It was visually stunning. It was musically brilliant and most importantly it was spiritually enlightening.

The show started with a flow of pure mediation and powered itself up to a rock fused climax. Each song built up more power until the electric finish. It left us wanting more. Much, much more.

There are so many wonderful events and concerts that come into Charleston each and every year, but rarely does a show take you to another place.

Picture 1995

Sigur Ros, for those that witnessed this event, gave us a memory that most of us will carry for the rest of our lives. They transcended all expectations to create visionary and vocal perfection.

Thank you Sigur Ros

We must also give a much deserving bow and applause to Julianna Barwick who took time out of her personal tour dates to open for Sigur Ros. Her range and depth provided a soothing sound to usher in the main act. Her voice, keyboards and partner guitar warmed our hearts and opened the gates of expressionism for the evening.

Categories: Charleston, concert, Iceland, Julianna Barwick, Music, North Charleston Performing Arts Center, Sigur Ros | Leave a comment

Charleston Goes Green for the Environment


Sunday, September 22 was the annual Carolina Green Fair. This year the event changed venues from Marion Square Park in downtown Charleston to James Island County Park and what a difference it made. The vast openness of the County Park expanded the event to a whole new level.

With a large open children’s area, two live music stages, chef’s demonstration area, clothing swap, pet adoption center and vendors for all the eye can see, this was a day filled with wonderful smiling people with one common shared belief: protecting the environment.

Whether your passion is recycling, beer education, organic gardening, energy efficiency, wellness or food, this was the event for you.

After the morning rain cleared, the scene was set. With a nice slight breeze and slightly overcast sky, the weather held up nicely. A sign that nature was on our side. Throughout the day, we were greeted with smiles and fresh aromas of scented soaps, flower bouquets, tofu wraps, vegan baked goods and so much more.


What made the Green Festival so special was:

  • Awareness and Education – The volunteers, vendors and chefs that contributed their time and energy to make this event a success all care for the environment and loved sharing their personal knowledge with the community of Charleston.
  • Warmth – Each and every vendor we spoke to had faces lit up with smiles.  A true testimony to the personalities and caring nature of people that truly strive to protect Mother Earth.
  • The pallet of food – This festival was nothing short of a foodie dream.  From the King of Pops to Black Bean Company; BBQ to Indian, this was a food lovers dream.
  • Music to soothe the soul – From the two stages throughout the day, we were blessed with some great local talent, some as young as thirteen years old playing guitars, violins and singing vocals with passion.
  • Kids, Kids, Kids – With more open space than years past, the children’s area was larger than ever including a bike obstacle course and rock climbing.
  • Clothing for all – The clothing swap allowed you to trade your old clothes for a new selection.  This was a big hit during the course of the day.
  • Birds of Prey – For the animals of flight fans, this was a welcome sight seeing eagles and owls co-existing together for the entertainment of the audience.
  • Chef Demos – Chefs from all over the Charleston area shared their secret recipes and then the dishes after.  The basil, honey, canola, olive oil based dressing was amazing!
  • Commitment to a clean, safe and healthy environment – That was and continues to be a valued goal in Charleston.  The festival is a reminder of what was are striving for in this community.


A warm and genuine thank you to all the volunteers who shared their time and knowledge with all of us on Sunday.

Categories: Carolina Green Festival, Charleston, Chefs, Environment, festival, James Island Country Park, Music, Recycling | Leave a comment

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