Neu Romance--the weekly dance and relaxation party that has been the mainstay of Sunday nights at Kings for the past three-and-a-half years--came to an end on Sept. 3, but the records haven't stopped spinning quite yet. David Mueller--STRANGE frontman, Birds of Avalon bassist and Kings doorman--has taken over the Sunday reins down on McDowell Street. Mueller plans to book an eclectic mix of DJs and even have certain DJs curate Sunday nights by selecting teams of DJs and music themes.
Much like Neu Romance, each night will feature free pool, snacks, drink specials and no cover, except when touring bands are playing. The series began Sunday, Sept. 10, and it will bookend two previously booked nights of music at Kings: See the Pixies documentary loudQUIETloud on Sept. 17, and Barsuk signees and ex-DeYarmond Edison debutantes Megafaun on Sept. 24. For more details, see www.kingsbarcade.com.
GOOD TO BE TOM
If, indeed, Sunday night's Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers gig at Alltel Pavilion marked Petty's last stand in this state before permanent road retirement, he went out on a high note as compelling and adventurous as the crowd of over 12,000 could ask. Over the course of a 21-song set, Petty and band employed every facet of his American mantle rock, bringing the sextet's sound down for a plaintive rendition of "Square One" backed only by Ron Blair's bass, followed by a sweeping take on "Learning to Fly" that found the whole audience--front-lit by twinkling luminous white spotlights and Petty's ear-to-ear smile--singing sublime two-part harmonies.
But, as they did during the rest of the set, The Heartbreakers switched gears capably, nailing a set-closing rock 'n' roll trifecta of "Don't Come Around Here No More," "Refugee" and "American Girl" before graciously exiting to stage right. After 30 years of touring, Petty has continued to evolve into his gig as singer, songwriter, bandleader and performer: Sunday's lighting rig allowed for alternating intimacy and arena-rock regalia, while the man of the night humbly became an egalitarian bandleader, stepping aside to let Mike Campbell wail through an E-bow solo during "It's Good to be King." Complete with a Yardbirds tribute with "I'm a Man" and a Stevie Nicks nod through "Oh, Well," Petty took himself out in fashion, smiling and blowing kisses all the while. Rock show of the summer at the big shed.
Another memorial service for Nathan Davis, a Raleigh singer-songwriter who died last month, will double as a fundraiser for his 2-year-old daughter, Cassidy Miles Davis. The memorial starts at 5 p.m. in Southern Pines. For details, see www.nathan-davis.com.