You know the story: Man walks into a bar. He makes a risky business move and buys the joint. The man works till the wee hours of the morning to make a go of it. The first couple of years, he barely breaks even. Wife leaves for Junior's soccer coach, and the man is left drowning his sorrows in the bosom of the local talent during the 3 a.m. shift at the strip club down the street.
The bar business often seems like a slurred line in Tree's Lounge,but sometimes, man makes a go of it and it works. And to this... we raise a glass. Or, in this case, many a glass. For three days, Alligator Alley celebrates staying in business with a Second Anniversary Party and BBQ Weekend.
Ever since the place's owner, Kilmo (a.k.a. Carl Pacillo), was old enough to hold down a job, he's given the finger to the old 9 to 5. As he says, "All I've ever done for a living is play music or run a music club." Alligator Alley began as a business partnership with the Seminole tribe, but the two parted ways for financial reasons. Kilmo continued, reopening the Alley in a new location to showcase local jazz, blues, and jam bands. "If I don't do it, no one else will," he says. "And not just throw on some entertainment as an afterthought but actively promote and try to develop a creative situation without television and sports." Over the past two years, the Alley has seen everyone from Blowfly to Lefty Lucie on-stage. Kilmo explains a secret that sets the Alley apart from other bars: "I don't have a wife or kids, so I don't have anyone to tell me I'm out of my mind or I can't do it. I have no real responsibility except to myself."
This weekend, Alligator Alley celebrates its terrible twos with bands, booze, and gator bites. Friday night is dedicated to jam bands, with players from Crazy Fingers, Side Project, and Iris. Saturday is punk night with the Remnants, the Hooples, Die Stinkin', the Creepy T's, Trapped by Mormons, and Two Story Double Wide. And on the Lord's day of rest, there will be blues and barbecue from 2 p.m. till 2 a.m.; Kilmo and the Killers will also make an appearance. Kilmo says his band uses "traditional blues just as a vehicle, and we just kind of shred over it."
Dominic from the Remnants says: "Kilmo is a character and a half, plus he rips on the bass. He is hyperkinetic and always into the music." As for Kilmo's advice for future investors, "Anyone who thinks they're going to open a music club in this city and make money is deluded or just uninformed." As for the Alley, its barbecued gator ribs will be featured on the Food Network this month, and odds are good that it will have a third birthday. "I'm not making money, but I'm still open," Kilmo chuckles. "It's all about the music here." -- Terra Sullivan