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Opera: Luxury club loosens up

Former Midtown hot spot repairs lukewarm reception

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Caleb Gauge is well-known to discerning club folk as the creator of Sloppy Seconds, one of the hottest monthly parties in Atlanta. Now he has taken his talents to Opera.

Last month, Opera hired Gauge as a consultant. "We're doing a large variety of different things, from electronic parties to celebrity parties," Gauge says. For example, Opera hosted the Friday installment of Jermaine Dupri's annual "So So Def Summer Fest" July 20, as well as superproducer Polow Da Don's Zone 4 label launch event July 16. Gauge promises some major electronic headliners in the coming weeks, as well as an industry night for local promoters and bartenders.

As far as the weekly parties, the Saturday Night Standard will slightly change: DJ Kemit will replace Prince Presto in the main room. Presto, a familiar face at Gauge's events, will play in the side room on Fridays; DJs Ruckus and Klever will hold down the main room.

When Opera reopened June 8 after a six-month renovation, it drew some criticism: Patrons complained that the construction wasn't finished, and that the VIP section was poorly managed. Gauge says he isn't in a position to speak about the club's decor or its management. He acknowledges, however, "My personal direction with the criticism is [to] make sure we bring a lot of talent and a lot of different sounds that weren't necessarily there during the grand opening."

Finally, don't expect Gauge to necessarily bring the Sloppy Seconds aesthetic to Opera. "I hope to merge the ideas a little bit, but I don't necessarily see the Sloppy Seconds brand being affiliated with Opera," he says. "I do look forward to seeing more industry and trendy people appreciating what this club is, and not just looking at it as a luxury megaclub."

HOME IMPROVEMENT: Halo Lounge co-owner Mike Katz reports that extensive renovations are underway at the Midtown hot spot. "We are redoing the entire second and third levels," he says. Some of the additions include a bar on the third floor, new furniture and a sound-system upgrade. The changes should be in place by the end of the year.

"We're not going to be closed during the renovation," Katz says. "It's a pretty massive renovation, and it'll be noticeable. It's going to change the way the space looks and feels."

RANDOM BITS: Grungy metal band Celephais has broken up. I'm crying at the thought of never seeing Eric Rozsa play a power riff in his tighty-whitie underwear again. ... In happier news, progressive hardcore trio Light Pupil Dilate signed a deal with international metal imprint Lifeforce Records. It will release the band's Snake Wine this fall. ... Manchester Orchestra signed a deal with Sony imprint Canvasback to nationally distribute its 2005 album I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child. ... Seven-inch single specialist Rob's House Records will release its full-length album, the Coathangers' self-titled debut, Sept. 4. ... For more newsy bits on the Atlanta music scene, check out CL's Crib Notes blog at www.clcribnotes.com.

CD RELEASES: Pop-rock favorite Bishop Don puts out That Should Heal Nicely Saturday, July 28, at the Earl. The Judies and Variac open. ... Progressive metal trio Fervor holds two CD release parties for Separation Tide. The first takes place in the afternoon Saturday, July 28, at Criminal Records. Later that evening, the band plays at Masquerade with Naranja Tang, Stand Alone and Headsnap as openers. ... Blues guitarist Bill Sheffield celebrates Got a Gig, Gotta Go Saturday, July 28, at Graveyard Tavern. ... Hard-rock contender Uncrowned drops Devils and Angels Saturday, July 28, at the Loft. Holdcell and Novakayne open. ... Spiritual-minded rock band Ten Story Relapse celebrates Antidisestablishmentarianism Saturday, July 28, at Smith's Olde Bar. Golden and Lexi Street open.

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