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New in Town

The Usual

Reviewed by Todd S. Inoue

By Halloween of 1995, F/X owner Fil Maresca was ready to move beyond club management to focus on the bigger picture: increasing downtown San Jose's viability as a regional attraction. Meanwhile, the club he left behind was in desperate need of a face-lift. Enter Paul Gerhardt and Dave Farling, who took over the crumbling former hump-flick theater. When they finished, F/X received a pedicure, manicure, plastic surgery and a new name--the Usual--to go with the cosmetic improvements.

The Usual also received a new identity. F/X served as everyone's second-favorite hangout--the kind of place you ended up after fulfilling all your prior engagements. Gerhardt and Farling want to make The Usual destination No. 1. They gutted and leveled the dance floor, installed burnished wood railings and erected majestic mirrors and columns. The booking these days leans more toward dance-oriented music, and occasional headliners keep things exciting (most recently G. Love and Special Sauce and De La Soul). With the new sound system and lighting rigs, the bands look and sound better than ever. For nostalgia, the front bar still serves as a day-care center for aspiring local musicians and King Raffi packs the club on Wednesday nights with a feet-blistering mix of soul and funk.

400 S. First St., San Jose (408/535-0330).

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From the June 13-19, 1996 issue of Metro

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