This summer was a grab-bag of outdoor concerts: The Budweiser-sponsored Raleigh Downtown Live brought yesteryear bands like Everclear and Night Ranger, while Walnut Creek Amphitheatre and Koka Booth ran the gamut from Linkin Park to Tift Merritt. But some of the best of this summer's outdoor performances were on back porches and small stages. Once again, the Eno River fest celebrated good music in the great outdoors on handmade stages, while the weekly concert series at Bynum General Store revivified the traditional back-porch jam. But one of the highlights of the summer was certainly the Saxapahaw Rivermill series, which brought Two Dollar Pistols, Django Haskins, The Gospel Jubilators and a dozen more to the town of 1,400.
The final installment of the Rivermill series—the Oktoberfest extravaganza on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 4-8 p.m.—brings all of these sounds together in a grand finale. Chapel Hill rock band Memphis the Band promises to shake things up with their mix of gritty Southern garage rock and sunny psychedelics. The twangy mountain music of the Triangle's Wood and Steel follows with rough-hewn bluegrass mined from mountains. Closers The Parsons turn hillbilly bluegrass into uptown swing with sweet harmonies drenched in country truisms. There's no better way to enjoy those fleeting moments of a summer sun and close out the best outdoor roots series of the year. The music is free but be sure to bring enough dough for drafts, BBQ and fresh veggies. —Kathy Justice
Brian Walsby's new set of comics MANCHILD III has sold out of its first run of 2,000 books, according to Bifocal Media owner Charles Cardello. The second run of 2,000 will arrive within the next month, and Cardello says the book will likely go out of print when that stock is sold. Walsby's band DOUBLE NEGATIVE plays Toronto, Canada, with Fucked Up and Mind Eraser Oct. 20. They'll be back in Raleigh for a show with Municipal Waste at Volume 11 Tavern Thursday, Oct. 25, followed by a Slim's split bill with Goner the next night.... THE ROSEBUDS, BOWERBIRDS and BON IVER (ex-DeYarmond Edison singer Justin Vernon) are the North Carolina bands playing this year's CMJ Music Marathon in New York this week...Durham's pretty incredible TOOTH will release its debut EP on Bull City upstart Churchkey Records (also home to The Dry Heathens) on Dec. 7 with a celebration at Duke Coffeehouse. The EP will be titled Animality.... Nasally inclined, politically charged Minnesota singer-songwriter MASON JENNINGS takes his turn on Bob Dylan with two covers—"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'" in Todd Haynes' upcoming biopic, I'm Not There. Perhaps Jennings will bring those to the stage when he plays solo at Cat's Cradle Thursday, Oct. 18. —Grayson Currin