The Plex entertainment facility continues its anniversary celebration this month with a series of live music, special events, comedy, and dance nights. Located in a 40,000-square-foot facility at 2390 W. Aviation Avenue in N. Charleston, the club survived its first few years and emerged as a highly-popular, multifaceted entertainment complex for the greater Charleston area.

“We really do just about everything,” says venue owner Joe Meli, who previously owned and ran a large-scale country-western club in the same neighborhood. “When we renovated the place in late 2000 and early ’01, we built it with that in mind. There’s not a point in the room where you can be farther than 100 feet from the dead-center stage. It’s very intimate.”

Shortly after opening, The Plex signed a deal with House of Blues to be their official Charleston affiliate. That connection has allowed access to some big-name acts.

Gradually, Meli and general manager Bob Shipley oversaw the inevitable expansion of the Plex facilities. They hired a top-notch production manager (Mike Hallacy), invested in state-of-the-art light and sound gear, and increased the size of the staff.

In 2003, after an initial attempt at opening a blues club to the side, they opened an adjacent country-music-themed club and tavern under the name “The Rodeo Room.” The side project was an instant hit, as locals flocked in for fun on and around the mechanical bull and a roomy dance floor.

Over the last three years, the hip-hop-fueled “Friday Night Bounce” dance nights, hosted by 95-SX DJs Special Ed and Fat Boy, became one of the biggest weekly dance parties in the city. The events take full advantage of the massive sound and light/laser systems and video screens hanging across the main room.

“We have a very serious sound system and a lighting system unlike anything else in Charleston,” boasts Meli. “It all worked out quite well and I hope we have another five great years and more.” â€â€T. Ballard Lesemann

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