The annual CIAA Tournament means much more than basketball. There are countless parties, celebrity sightings, star DJ sets – and did we mention parties?
Day parties. Night parties. Old school. New school. Grammy winners. Record spinners. Name actors. Reality starlets. Cooking demos. Step shows. Go-go. Soul food. Hip-hop. Slow jams. Smooth jazz. Stand-up. The list of activities goes on and on.
So we’ve narrowed it down to five of the biggest events coinciding with CIAA’s big weekend.
McDonald’s Step Show Throwdown: Greeks vs. Greeks: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Charlotte Convention Center, Hall C, 501 S. College St. Fancy footwork isn’t reserved for the court at CIAA. Top step teams from fraternities and sororities around the country compete at Friday night’s likely-to-sell-out event, while Southeastern high school step teams bring it to Hall C for their own competition at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. $30 and $15, respectively. www.ciaastepshows.com.
Nu Soul Revival Tour: 8 p.m. Friday at Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd. Neo soul artists and contemporary R&B singer-songwriters Musiq Soulchild, Lyfe Jennings, Kindred the Family Soul, and the Foreign Exchange usually play larger clubs as headliners. This weekend they team up to bring smooth grooves, classic R&B sensibility, romance and killer pipes to the same stage. $56-$103. www.ticketmaster.com.
Festival of Laughs: 7 p.m. Saturday at Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd. Multi-hyphenate actor/comedians Mike Epps (the “Friday” sequels, “The Hangover”), Bruce Bruce (IFC’s “Maron,” Chris Rock’s “Top Five”) and Rock’s younger brother Tony Rock (host of multiple TV and game shows, the upcoming film “Couples Night”) bring standup to CIAA. $56-$103. www.ticketmaster.com.
Juicy J: 8 p.m. Saturday at The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. Whether accepting an Oscar with Three 6 Mafia (for 2006’s “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow”), collaborating with Katy Perry (on the hit “Dark Horse”), mounting a comeback or accepting a Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award, the Memphis rapper remains versatile and adaptable with an ear on the future. This year will bring his anticipated new album, “Rubba Band Business.” With Belly. $35. www.livenation.com.
Culture Complete with Deniro Farrar: 8 p.m. Sunday at The Underground, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. On the heels of a recent trip to Dubai, the Zen rapper – who gained national acclaim for his juxtaposition of hard-hitting, lyrically heavy hip-hop and visual imagery and his serene persona and message – returns to his hometown to head up F4mily Matter’s Culture Complete night. DJ Trap, DJ Complete, Yung Bizzle, 40theLifestyle, Frais, Shedezzy, Crak, Tange Lomax, Sir Abstraxxx and Blu House Band round out the bill. $12. www.livenation.com.