In September, Atlanta metal act Mastodon headlined Hopscotch with a fantastic City Plaza set. Like a goofy Southern version of Metallica, their balance between radio-ready accessibility and pummeling crunch was a proper fit—celebratory and loud, like a headliner should be. Sure, there were more "metal" bands on the fest, but the Mastodon set was a good time, and that's all it needed to be.
They're coming back soon to play only a block away. On May 9, Lincoln Theatre kicks off the outdoor music season with a show co-headlined by Mastodon and Clutch, with Sweden's Graveyard opening. Tickets go on sale Friday. Considering how recently they were in town—and considering The Ritz's upcoming reopening on Thursday as a Live Nation venue—we caught up with Lincoln booking agent Chris Malarkey to see if there was any correlation.
INDY Week: Are these street shows part of the way you're competing with having The Ritz back in town and recharged?
Chris Malarkey: I don't know why it would. It's just a show I've been trying to get for awhile. I'm a big fan of Mastodon. I'm a big fan of Clutch. We couldn't get Mastodon last year, because they ended up at Hopscotch, so they're coming around. We decided to jump on it.
Was the plan even last year to do it on the street?
We've done concerts out on the street. We do a couple a year. Sometimes it's a little too big to put in here, you know? Where else are we going to put them? It's easier for us to do it with our infrastructure and do it all in-house out on the street in front of the Lincoln.
You've had Clutch before, and Clutch you've done inside.
Clutch we've done several times. Last time they played, they did a two-nighter and sold out both nights. We actually did the same exact bill, Clutch and Mastodon, back in 2003. Mastodon was a fairly newer band supporting Clutch. We did that show here, and we also put something on down in Wilmington. So we have a history with both of those bands.
Last year were you already in talks with them when the Hopscotch announcement came out?
No. We had just poked around, and the agent told us their plans to play on Hopscotch, so we let it go. We didn't really pursue them this year since they played Hopscotch last year. This package happened to be coming around. I talk to the agent probably every couple of months about Clutch, because Clutch is one of my favorites. They usually come through every two years, and it had been two years. It was time for them to come, and it just happened they were on this bill. We put two and two together and had to put it out on the street. I can get 5,000 people out there.
What else is coming up in your year at the Lincoln?
Right now, I think I've got six or seven sell-outs on the books. I think it's going to be a pretty good year.
The booking is solid. The Love Language’s recent live shows have transformed their anxious pop into a ragged psych-rock surge. Mount Moriah, fresh off this year’s sterling Miracle Temple, liven their elegant folk-rock with a fiery choogle onstage.
But sending one night of this annual Oak City hullabaloo across the Triangle is a risky proposition: All of the previous 10 Double Barrels have taken place on adjacent Fridays and Saturdays at one of two smaller rock clubs in Raleigh — Kings Barcade and The Pour House, which both hold about 250. The Cradle can admit 750. The Lincoln has room for 800. Filling these bigger rooms, especially far away from WKNC's home base, could prove difficult. While events stretching across the Triangle aren't unheard of (early iterations of Durham’s defunct Troika Music Festival dotted shows all over the area), WKNC will depend on some Interstate 40 travel to make this work.
There’s also the issue of stepping on rival toes: Carrboro already has a local college radio station, UNC-Chapel Hill’s 89.3 WXYC, and they present frequent and successful events, such as the Backyard Barbecue and the 80s Dance.
But WKNC’s gamble could also pay off, raking in additional funds and cementing their reputation as the Triangle’s most popular college radio station. We’ll find out in February.
If you ask Nate Scudieri, the brand director for Rolling Rock Extra Pale Ale, he'll tell you that his beer and Tyvek have a lot in common: Tyvek are the restless garage band that will play Friday’s “Project 33,” a Rolling Rock-sponsored art show at Flanders Gallery in Raleigh. Rolling Rock is an affordable brew that got its starts in Western Pennsylvania in 1939. Tyvek offer a confounding range of sounds, shifting from unfettered punk tantrums to knotty post-rock brambles, typically mutating a few times on every LP. Rolling Rock is a potable liquid with a slightly metallic taste, dulled by barbed-wire hops. Despite these differences, Scudieri thinks the two are united by their “independent spirit.”
“They’re up and coming, slowly getting a lot of notoriety,” says Scudieri, who, like Tyvek, hails from Detroit. “Over the years, they’ve evolved, but, like Rolling Rock, they’ve always been true to who they are. Years ago they were a three-piece band. Then they were a seven-piece band, and now they’re a four-piece band. But the important thing again is that they, like Rolling Rock, have always done things on their own terms and done things their way. We respect that kind of passion and resilience and being authentic.”
Scudieri also says Tyvek are fans of Rolling Rock.
“Project 33” strives to celebrate their shared spirit with a mural created by Raleigh artist Derek Toomes and a selection of 100 photos submitted to doingourthing.com, a site that Rolling Rock created to capture the top-flight shots that were accumulating on their Facebook page. It seems that Rolling Rock and Tyvek also share their independent spirit with the “billion roaming photojournalists” with a smartphone and a two-year contract.
The event kicks off at 6 p.m. and is free to anyone who sends a Facebook-message RSVP to Rolling Rock—so long as you’re above the age of 21. Rumor has it that Tyvek won’t go on until 8 p.m., but organizers have yet to confirm that. There goes that independent spirit again, preventing them from pinning down exact details.
On Labor Day, the "Moral Monday" protesters that spent the summer raising their voices against the state's Republican-dominated legislature reaffirmed their stance, decrying lawmakers who will vote Tuesday tooverturn a pair of vetoes by Gov. Pat McCrory—one on a bill requiring drug testing for welfare recipients, the other on a measure that expands the definition of "seasonal labor." They haven't forgotten their cause, and neither have the NC Music Love Army, the loose but impassioned contingent of area musicians who spent their summer soundtracking the "Moral Monday" movement. When they started up in July, they promised an LP of protest songs and a large-scale concert. They'll keep to both promises on Nov. 30 when the Army takes to the Cat's Cradle stage in Carrboro to celebrate the album's release.
Having performed at Moral Mondays and at a couple of club shows across the Triangle, the Love Army's LP will include a few songs that truly captured the spirit of this summer's protests. "We Are Not For Sale"—composed by The Old Ceremony's Django Haskins—decries the role of money and greed in N.C. politics, while "Is This Here What Jesus Would Do?"—written by Charlotte's Jon Lindsay—skewers the separation between lawmakers' church-going beliefs and their uncaring attitude toward the state's poor and marginalized peoples. Songs like these get after essential issues that could keep them relevant long after these protests have faded into history. In any case, they certainly ring true in the here and now.
All proceeds from NCMLA activity still go to the NAACP, Progress NC, and Planned Parenthood. For more info, including details on time and tickets, stay tuned to the Cat's Cradle's website as well as ncmusiclovearmy.tumblr.com.
Last year, the Downtown Merchants of Historic Hillsborough hatched a fun idea to draw a crowd to the quiet town to enjoy the comfortable fall weather and drop some cash at local establishments. The first Fresh Roots Festival took place at the end of October and included art shows, author discussions, restaurant specials and even a Hand Made Parade. It also sported a folk-heavy slate of local, regional and national musicians performing on the Courthouse lawn.
The festival is back this year, taking over downtown on Saturday, Sept. 28, with a similar array of charming, family-friendly diversions. They're also upping the musical ante, teaming with Yep Roc Records, the folk and rock haven based in Hillsborough, who are providing Kim Richey and Josh Rouse, two standouts from their impressive songwriting stable, as the backbone for this year's performance schedule.
The two nationally known singers elevate the festival's musical standing without pushing it outside of its folk-rock wheelhouse. The country-leaning Richey has been at it for almost 20 years, netting a Grammy nomination and producing a strong catalog characterized by direct emotions and stalwart melodies. Her full and fetching 2013 LP, Thorn in My Heart, proves that she hasn't lost her touch. Rouse's detail-rich narratives ramble down moody pop and rock back roads, and they've never moved more confidently than they do on his recently released album, The Happiness Waltz.
As with last year, the free performance takes place on the Courthouse lawn. The festival goes from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the main musical presentation scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.freshrootsfestivals.org.
You may well be too late, but Atlanta-based psych-rock outfit Deerhunter is playing an intimate, un-publicized set in Durham tonight. The show is happening at the show at the Carrack (111 W. Parrish St.). Entry is only available via RSVP. As of about 9 a.m., there were 50 spots available. Shoot a message to firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in securing one.
Deerhunter — which rides the ever-wandering whims of Bradford Cox, also the man behind Atlas Sound — has become a critical darling and fan favorite these past few years, grafting tender and graceful psych textures onto garage rock momentum, mixing and re-mixing the constituent elements with increasingly diverse results. The band's new album, Monomania, drops on May 7. Jackson Scott and Mas Ysa will provide support at the 9 p.m. show. Tickets are $8 with an RSVP. There may be a few tickets released at the door, but I really wouldn't risk it. No RSVPs will be accepted after 5 p.m.
If you live in Durham, and you don't see a free, outdoor concert this summer, you'll only have yourself to blame. Hot on the heels of the recent announcement of the "Find Your Cool" concert series, Golden Belt has unveiled its own string of free shows in the humid air. "GB Live" celebrates the fifth anniversary of the multi-use downtown arts space that—like many of Durham's cooler spots—exists in a renovated industrial space.
The series of five concerts begins on Friday, May 17 and will occupy four other Fridays, concluding on July 19. The programming, which spans an impressive array of genres for such a compact set of shows, does its best to represent the diversity of Durham's music scene. Hammer No More the Fingers, a Bull City favorite thanks to their muscular and buoyant indie rock, play the first date. They will give way to proficient country-rock ensemble Michael Rank and Stag, super-smooth soul singer Kim Arrington, Greensboro-based afro-jazz exploration The Brand New Life, and quirky blues purveyor Justin Johnson backed by the cover-heavy Skinny Bag of Sugar. Again, all of the shows are free and outside at the Golden Belt — unless it rains, in which case the events move inside. Grab some shades and a shirt you won't mind sweating through and enjoy. The full schedule is below:
Hammer No More The Fingers — May 17
Michael Rank and Stag — June 7
Kim Arrington — June 21
The Brand New Life — July 5
Justin Johnson and Skinny Bag Of Sugar — July 19