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Saturday, February 2, 2013

A decade of Sol from Mike Kitchen

The kitchen has been open for a decade. No, not one at your favorite restaurant, but the Sol Kitchen – brain child of  promoter Mike Kitchen.
From events like the wildly popular Pop Life to bringing artist like John Legend and Raphael Saadiq to Charlotte, Kitchen has changed the landscape of night life in Charlotte.
“Ten years ago, in my opinion, the music scene was pretty lame,” he said. “My whole thing was I wanted to see more of an urban music scene. We didn’t really have anybody coming through here.  Everybody was going to major cities, Atlanta, DC, but nobody was stopping through here. So, with that being said, I said you know what, maybe this is my chance to do something different.” 

And he did something, starting with a weekly event at the former Tonic lounge on Sunday nights. The music was nothing like what you heard on popular radio stations. And when Kitchen brought a live performer – like Dwele or Kindred The Family Soul – the crowd showed up. 

“None of the small to mid-range artists was coming through here and that was my niche. My first show was Dwele at Tonic. It was a very pleasant surprise. Here I have an artist who is on the come up. He’s getting radio play and radio threw me some love. To this day, I’m not sure how we got all of those people in there. Literally, it was crazy. All of those people in there on top of each other. In fact, me and one of my friends from Raleigh were standing up on the bar to watch the concert. I broke even because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. But it was an experience. Dwele and I are still good friends today. His manager and I are still good friends and we still talk about that show all the time.” 

A lot has changed in 10 years. Kitchen is known for his events and concerts. He’s gone to Chicago and been recognized because events he’s put on during the CIAA Basketball tournament. He’s even partnered with the college basketball league and hosted “official” events. Kitchen brought NAS to town last year –and the hip-hop legend performed a full concert when most celebrity event during the CIAA means someone sits in the VIP section and leaves after 20 minutes.

“The good thing about the CIAA is people do follow promoters. If they had a good experience with you last year, then they will come back. I have to give people credit for that,” he said.
But over the last 10 years, Kitchen said the more things change, the more they stay the same. Charlotte, he said, is a market where people like to party more than go to a concert –even if the cost is the same.
“Let’s say Ludacris was coming to town. They probably wouldn’t pay to go see Ludacris (in concert) but if I bring Ludacris to a club, oh all day long. Cut line, however much you charge. Charge you for wearing sneakers. People will party to look at someone but won’t pay to see them perform,” Kitchen said.

So, who do people like and will go see? Raphael Saadiq is always a hit, Kitchen said. He’s brought the singer to Charlotte three times and said the singer/producer is one of his favorite people to interact with.
“He has so much material and a presence,” he said.

What’s next for The Sol Kitchen?

·         Sol Kitchen | Digital Divas present
INDULGE featuring “The Harvey Cummings Project” & the DJ for the evening, “KITCH”.
Sunday, Feb. 10 @ OSSO 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd Charlotte, NC
11    m – 4 pm
Reservations: 704.971.0550 or
·         Sunday February 3rd we’re back. Starting a new 1st of the month tradition. After the 49ers (King Henry’s Team) face off against the Ravens (DJ Quicksilva’s Team) all roads lead to the hottest venue in the Carolinas….LABEL! Doors fly open at 10pm and early arrival is MANDATORY!
DJ Quicksilva has heard all about the new Sunday night hot spot and wants to see for himself. You already know when Quick is in the building the dance floor is on another level!
We’re also celebrating Dee Autry’s Birthday. He’s inviting all Aquarius’ to show up & show out!
Just as last time. Some of our customers have gotten the jump & reserved their tables already. Don’t be left out. Contact Tami today 980.322.9859 to secure your V.I.P. Table.
For more information, log on to

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