A former west Charlotte strip club made famous by rappers like Drake will now be the site of a music venue called QC Soundstage is now scheduled to open in late March after a two-year wait because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The site was formerly Club Cameo, where rapper Drake caused a stir in 2013 by throwing $50,000 worth of bills in the air, the Charlotte Observer previously reported. Rapper Young Dolph’s “In Charlotte” track also talked about the club in his “Bullet Proof” album and J. Cole mentioned Drake’s Cameo incident in “Cole Summer.”
The inaugural concert at QC Soundstage will be the Femme It Forward tour with Queen Naija and Grammy-Award winner Seyvn Streeter on March 26. Two other shows also are scheduled next month at the new venue at 3049 Scott Futrell Drive.
Local entrepreneur group ECMONT had planned to open QC Soundstage in spring 2020 after purchasing the property in January that year for $3.19 million, Piedmont Properties/CORFAC International told the Observer at that time. The proximity to the airport and growth in the area make it an attractive location, said Chris Babilonia, principal of ECMONT, in a recent interview.
ECOMONT planned to turn the 20,000-square-foot Club Cameo building, with capacity for 1,100 people, into an upscale music event center booking entertainers from across the country. Then the COVID pandemic shut businesses down and music venues weren’t able to reopen until a year later under restrictions and many artists still not touring.
“It’s been a rollercoaster to say the least,” said Babilonia. He said manufacturing and shipping delays also pushed the opening date out.
QC Soundstage expects to host all music genres, Babilonia said, from R&B to rock country and gospel, as well as comedy. The venue can accommodate 25 to 1,400 people for corporate events, private concerts, weddings, receptions or business meetings, according to QC Soundstage’s website.
Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology magnet high school has already booked its prom there, Babilonia said.
Inside QC Soundstage, everything from the bar, stage, and floors and walls has been updated. The biggest changes were made to the equipment for sound and lighting, Babilonia said. “Anything that relates to the strip club is gone,” he said.
The venue also will have a full bar and concession foods.
Babilonia is a veteran in the restaurant and event industry, including owning the Press Box Bar and Grill at UNC Charlotte. He and his father Ed, a native of Puerto Rico who died in September, had originally planned to open QC Soundstage together with Lamont George, a national event coordinator who helps book the talent.
“I’ve always had an interest in entertainment and in business with sports bars and nightclubs for years,” Babilonia said.