First Friday & Raleigh Wide Open III
Downtown Raleigh—Raleigh's new urban landscape is revolutionizing artistic excellence in the polished downtown district. Come stand on the edge of the artistic boom at the classic First Friday Art Walk, where galleries open their doors to musicians and new artists ready to captivate the mind and ear. For this walk (or rickshaw ride), be sure to include Flanders 311's newest exhibit, the bright pop-art collection Freight created by visual artist Owen Beckmann and musician/ filmmaker Tane Addington. Other must-see exhibits this month include Ashlynn Browning's building/burning/growing, a meditation on organic growth in nature and the soul, at Flanders Gallery, and esteemed architectural photographer Jim West's Chasing Serendipity, a study between capturing a moment on film and its revelation. And don't forget to stop by Artspace, where sidewalk musicians take a seat in the main lobby to serenade your journey through the many paintings, sculptures and collages adorning the workspace. Tonight's main feature will be N.C. resident Louis St. Lewis' self-titled exhibit featuring assemblage work inspired by Katrina's destruction in New Orleans.
On the other edge of the revolution sits Fayetteville's crown jewel of celebrations, Raleigh Wide Open III. This year's celebration commences with the grand opening of the Raleigh Convention Center via a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. But the real party sits on the three stages of music—Fireworks, Cherry Bounce and RCC Plaza—representing Raleigh's diverse tastes. The Deep South-presented stage (Fireworks) re-establishes the Raleigh Downtown Live vibe with retro acts like Chuck Berry and brief kings of the alternative nation Soul Asylum. Home-spun spotlights include shows by the folk crooners Tres Chicas and the swampy beats of Zydecopious. The Cherry Bounce stage brings the music scene to a local level with performances by Raleigh indie-rockers the Annuals, Chapel Hill's blues-rock duo The Moaners and Durham's punk-ish Red Collar, while RCC Plaza mixes tradition with modernity as performances by the Wolfpack Cloggers mingle with the melodic piano-and-guitar rock of the Modern Skirts. But if you get bored with the sights and sounds, there's always time for a small shopping spree at the grand opening of Raleigh's bag queen Holly Aiken's new store, Stitch, located on the corner of Hargett and Wilmington streets. The store/ studio will feature Aiken's distinctive designs in an assortment of totes, clutches and diaper bags. Prepare to pay nothing for First Friday events and Raleigh Wide Open, but bring some extra cash (or a high-limit credit card) for purchases at art galleries. —Kathy Justice
John Dee Holeman
Papa Mojo's Roadhouse—Local National Steel-cradling treasure John Dee Holeman knows how the raw, lone-wolf howl of blues guitar and voice can penetrate and hold. But over his nearly 80 years on the earth, he's also learned there can brttyy power in numbers, so, sure, he'll jam with you. His most recent recording paired him with Aussie folk band the Waifs, and an upcoming Music Maker record features backing from members of Chatham County Line and Tift Merritt drummer Zeke Hutchins. On this night, he'll be joined by Mel Melton & the Roadhouse Ramblers for a 9:30 p.m. show. The cover is $10. Tomorrow night, look for him at Duke Homestead at the Tobacco Harvest and Hornworm Festival, where he'll perform at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., preceded by a tobacco priming demonstration and followed by a MoonPie eating contest. —Rick Cornell
Pine State, Butch Dogwood Featuring Slim Furchess, The Public Good: A Benefit for Cy Rawls
Local 506—There is an old myth about a dark night when Jerry Lee Lewis, fully in the bag, tried to get into Graceland to shoot Elvis dead. This mean-spirited, disintegrating dementia runs through Pine State's pointed view of country music like a bloated varicose vein. And while the band tries to tear down the traditional sound of country with metal percussion, skewed playing and a general circus-like atmosphere in live shows, it's obvious it truly loves the humor and transgression in breaking this stuff at the knees.
If they couched themselves in country, the men of Pine State made no secret of their deep knowledge of punk and self-destructive rock 'n' roll. In the Triangle music scene's prolific period of the '90s, they did a split seven-inch with bluesy country-rock band Trailer Bride, but also contributed to a Richard Hell tribute compilation. When Pine State put on a show, one could expect the level of theatrics to nearly overtake any attention the music might actually garner. For example, while one-time guitarist Chris Lee, then calling himself A.C. Lee, would go onto his own straight pop career in New York, Dan Partridge, affectionately called "The Gimp" by the band, was in charge of "junkyard percussion, rants, screech vocals, saw and whistles." People still refer to a show at Duke Coffeehouse, when the hi-jinks led to flaming toilet paper and a moment of clarity when the audience began to think the band they were watching might—not figuratively, but quite literally—burn the house down.
This show was set up some months ago, but it was recently converted into another of the series of benefits for Cy Rawls, who is sick with cancer and without health insurance. Get there early for the exuberant D.C. rock band The Public Good, which has three of the four original members of Chapel Hill band The Popes.
When Pine State comes on, though, it'll be a debauched slide off the rock map evoking the defiance in something Jerry Lee once said: "When you tumble to the ground, kiss my ass on your way down." Show starts at 10 p.m. and costs $6. —Chris Toenes