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Something (good) for nothing 

Click for larger image • Schooner at Tir Na Nog

Photo by D.L. Anderson

Click for larger image • Schooner at Tir Na Nog

The following venues host free shows on a regular or semi-regular basis

ARMADILLO GRILL (DURHAM): Sometimes the location changes, but the Campus Concert Series typically puts together three-band bills that draw heavily from Durham's quirky, strong rock scene. Fridays, 5:30 p.m. See schedule at www.duke.edu/web/CCS.

BROAD STREET CAFE (DURHAM): A mix of lesser-known artists and bigger draws like Jon Shain and Lucy Wainwright Roche contribute to an eclectic schedule of jazz, reggae, blues and Americana acts. Rarely a cover. Tuesdays through Sundays. See schedule at www.thebroadstreetcafe.com.

LOCAL 506 (CHAPEL HILL): The venue canceled its Free for All series last year, but it continues to present CD release shows and other free local events on a sporadic basis. See schedule at www.local506.com.

THE POUR HOUSE (RALEIGH): Monday and Tuesday nights generally bring free sets from acts both touring and local, including Brooklyn-based indie rockers Lowry's four-week residency. See schedule at www.the-pour-house.com.

TIR NA NOG (RALEIGH): Established locals, such as Goner and Hammer No More The Fingers, headline alongside newcomers and, occasionally, out-of-town guests. Bills generally fit in the indie rock spectrum. Thursdays, 10 p.m. See schedule at www.tirnanogirishpub.com.

The following venues typically operate in a pass-the-hat fashion to collect donations for bands

THE CAVE (CHAPEL HILL): Weeknight rock and Americana shows are generally donation-based, while weekend and late-night shows may charge a cover. Sundays-Saturdays. See schedule at www.caverntavern.com.

THE RESERVOIR (CARRBORO): Metal and rock bands passing through town or looking for a local gig get paid from your tips. See schedule at www.reservoirbar.net.

SADLACK'S HEROES (RALEIGH): Enjoy roots rock acts and throw your dollars in the bucket while eating one of the best sandwiches in Raleigh on Sad's back porch. See schedule at www.myspace.com/sadlacksheroes.

During the summer, an abundance of music series scattered throughout the Triangle—from the Rivermill Series in Saxapahaw to Back Porch Music at American Tobacco in Durham—offer free tunes.

  • Free shows; pass the hat shows; summer music series

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