Black Moses

Rapper Talib Kweli will test the waters at Oceanside’s Show Palace.
  • Rapper Talib Kweli will test the waters at Oceanside’s Show Palace.

Reggie Sinatra is clear about his role as a hip-hop promoter.

“They call me the black Moses because I’m bridging the gap between San Diego and North County.”

Sinatra, a former member of the group the Pyramid Crew, says he has promoted several hip-hop shows at 4th&B (Yukmouth, Lil Wayne, DMX). At venues such as Boar Cross’n in Carlsbad and Club Tropics in San Marcos, his company, called No CEO Entertainment, has hosted ticketed events, including shows with members of Wu Tang Clan.

Now, he says he has found the near-perfect venue: it has a stage, full PA, serves liquor, and can accommodate those aged 18 and up.

“Plus, we can get 3000 people in there.”

That place is the Show Palace, a 12-year-old restaurant/nightclub that has traditionally served a Hispanic clientele with live norteño and cumbia bands. The Show Palace is normally packed on weekends.

Sinatra is hosting Talib Kweli and Phil the Agony of the Alkaholics on October 12. It will be the first time in years a Show Palace weekend night has been used for a non-Latin band.

The following Friday, October 19, a different promoter will host Bay Area rapper E-40. Tickets are $30 for Talib Kweli and $25 for E-40.

To make sure nothing goes wrong, Sinatra says those under 21 are in a separate area of the Show Palace. He says the younger fans do not commingle with drinkers over 21.

Shortly after it opened in 2000, the Show Palace (remodeled from an old grocery store) hosted a show by country artist Blake Shelton. But other promoters of country, pop, and rock artists did not use the venue near I-5, presumably because business was so good with Latin bands. If these upcoming concerts are successful, Sinatra predicts all kinds of varied headliners may find their way into the Oceanside venue.

Sinatra says he is selling opening “slots” at the Kweli show to local artists who pay for a chance to play. Those artists can in turn sell tickets. “When people invest in a show it becomes more successful,” says Sinatra.

One of the openers, Ross May, says he has no problem paying the fee. A former member of the Faded Chroniclez, May now performs “acoustic hip-hop.”

Acoustic hip-hopper Ross may doesn't mind pay-to-play for a worthwhile opening slot.

Acoustic hip-hopper Ross may doesn't mind pay-to-play for a worthwhile opening slot.

“I don’t have a problem selling these tickets,” says May. “They sell themselves. I sell them on my website.” He says he is bullish on his hometown. “Oceanside is blowing up. We just had Boyz II Men and Fiona Apple play at the pier. It’s amazing what’s going on here. Six years ago the Show Palace was known as a place where people got shot or stabbed or both. It was renowned for trouble. That place went from a place where people were dying to now where people are thriving.”

Rick Brown, head of Oceanside’s building department, says the Show Palace has an official occupancy of 1281, not 3000 as professed by Sinatra.

A call to Show Palace owner Juan Cortes was not returned.

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