By Jesse Wood
A blast from the past is coming our way as the 10th annual and last P.B. Scott’s Reunion is taking place at Canyons in Blowing Rock on Saturday, May 2. Tickets cost $10.
P.B. Scott’s opened its doors on Oct. 1, 1976, and in the seven years that followed, a who’s who of musicians and bands performed in the geodesic dome in Blowing Rock: B.B. King, Arlo Guthrie, J.J. Cale, Bonnie Raitt, Ricky Skaggs, John Prine, Lightning Hopkins, Muddy Watters, Papa John Creach, New Grass Revival, Guy Clark and so forth.
But other lesser-known acts, such as Snuff, Sugarcreek and Sidewinder, drew just as big and enthusiastic crowd. Another one of these regional favorites was The Spongetones, a power pop band out of Charlotte that started out emulating The Beatles.
The Spongetones performed the last concert at P.B. Scott’s in June of 1983, when the club shut down because of new restrictions requiring establishments to balance food and liquor sales.
This coming May, The Spongetones are coming back to Blowing Rock to perform at the last reunion.
Jamie Hoover, guitarist with The Spongetones said the band was excited about performing in Blowing Rock, especially for a crowd partying in remembrance of P.B. Scott’s.
“We made a lot of friends up there,” Hoover said.
He said that “more than anywhere in the world” – and he’s played all over it – people will come up to him and his fellow band members and say, “We used to see you guys at P.B. Scott’s in Blowing Rock. We’ll never forget it and had a great time there every time you played.”
The wooden dome had three levels for spectators. The audience was never more than 40 feet away from the band, so it offered incredibly intimate performances with a Bose sound system that had an audio delay to deal with intricacies of sound bouncing off the dome.
“It was just a great place to see a band,” Hoover said.
The idea for a reunion came about 10 years ago whenever High Country Press publisher Ken Ketchie called up Randy Kelly, who managed P.B. Scott’s back in the day, and essentially said, “Let’s get together.” And that was the beginning of the reunion.
In a Facebook post on the Remembering P.B. Scott’s Music Hall in Blowing Rock page, which has nearly 3,000 followers, Kelly noted that attendance at the last two events has declined from the high attendance of nearly 250 people during the initial years of the reunion.
Kelly said he wanted to do this last show in style, so he decided to call up the services of The Spongetones.
“Get the boys back together and let’s make it a big hoorah … and let it have its day,” Kelly said. “It was a great idea to do the first one. Now 10 years later, the reunion lasted longer than P.B. Scott’s.”
P.B. Scott’s was a “magical” place during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s – as many people have described the atmosphere. It was a special place during a special time.
Ric Mattar, a lawyer in Blowing Rock, was a co-owner and represented his partners of P.B. Scott’s for a couple years in trying to keep the music hall opened. When a babysitter was on hand, he and his wife attended many concerts.
Mattar, who is also a professor at Appalachian State University, said if he happens to mention P.B. Scott’s in passing, students come up to him every year and say, “My mom and dad still say what an awesome time they had at that place.”
“It happens every year,” Mattar said. “There really wasn’t anything like it.”
Now, Mattar is looking forward to attending another reunion party and another chance to relive the magic that P.B. Scott’s, the music and the people made for seven short years in Blowing Rock.