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Live Actions: Reviews

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The NC Music Love Army tries to keep "Moral Monday" singing

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Photo by Jordan LawrenceNC Music Love Army NC Music Love ArmyKings, RaleighMonday, July 29, 2013 By all accounts, this week's "Moral Monday" demonstration was the largest yet. After three months of chanting and singing and praying in Raleigh's Halifax Mall, after more than 920 arrests—mostly doled out to protesters who have refused to leave the N.C. General Assembly's chambers when asked—a crowd of several thousand filled the outdoor space to once again decry the actions of the state's lawmakers. Led by the state NAACP, they affirmed their determination to fight on by marching down to Fayetteville Street, stopping in front...

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Live: Kurt Vile finds the feeling

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Kurt Vile & The Violators pulled into the Cat's Cradle on Thursday, touring behind Wakin on a Pretty Daze. A large banner with the band's name hung behind them as they walked on stage for the near-capacity show. The tempo of the tunes varied a bit, as Vile and company tend to lean back and stretch out live. But no one seemed to mind, as the group still packed a lot of new and old material into a 100-minute set. Below, hear 2009's "Hunchback" and the new "KV Crimes." "Hunchback" "KV Crimes"...

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Video: American Aquarium moves its quiet Duke Gardens show indoors

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 at 11:36 AM

On Wednesday evening, Raleigh favorites American Aquarium were set to perform at the lush Sarah P. Duke Gardens for the Duke Performances "Music in the Gardens" series. Due to expected rain, though, the show was moved indoors to Motorco Music Hall. American Aquarium had planned a very quiet acoustic set that usually wouldn't fly in the loud rock clubs where the group typically performs. In the move to Motorco, some of the delicate songs were lost on a crowd who seemed to switch to bar mode spontaneously. Still, with the assistance of cellist Kaitlin Grady, the group put on one...

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Video: Mike Cooley of Drive-By Truckers at Local 506

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Saturday night, Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers returned to Local 506 in Chapel Hill for the first time in many years. Cooley reminisced on his time living in Durham and the plethora of songs he had written and first played out in the Triangle. Throughout the evening, he picked his way through 20-plus songs in his deep catalog of contributions to the Drive-By Truckers. Some were quickly identifiable during the introduction, while many had been given new arrangements. Cooley displayed ninja-like skills to ignore a rowdy crowd in the front row; they constantly tried to talk to him and...

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Video: Chip Robinson at Casbah's songwriters circle

Posted By on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Saturday night at the Casbah brought about the continuation of the venue's series of songwriters circle shows, with performances by Jason Kutchma, Chip Robinson, Kevin Abernathy and Mic Harrison. Below are three clips from songs played by Robinson, including two oft-overlooked ballads ("Psychic Friend" and "Two Candles") from the Backsliders' 1999 album, Southern Lines. Robinson frequently digs into his back catalog from that era, but it's fairly rare to hear those numbers performed to a quiet and respectful room. The environment created at these types of events at the Casbah allows for songs of all decibel levels to flourish in...

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chuck Johnson's quietly triumphant return to the Triangle

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Playing a solo acoustic guitar set at a crowded bar is a dicey proposition. But Chapel Hill expat Chuck Johnson—visiting Durham from Oakland for the release party of Crows in the Basilica, his new record for Triangle label Three Lobed—worked his six- and 12-string guitars like a snake charmer at the Pinhook on May 23, magically becalming a well-lubricated audience into rapt, respectful silence. Thus did I find myself sprawled out on the floor of a nightclub for quite opposite reasons than usual. It was an especially impressive trick because the social energy level had been set high in an...

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Friday, May 31, 2013

Video: James McCartney visits Durham

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Alternating between piano and acoustic guitar, James McCartney played solo Thursday night at the Casbah in Durham. McCartney is currently touring the Southeast, playing small clubs behind his debut LP, Me. The release showcases a collection of breezy pop numbers that at times touch on the abstract. The Durham crowd welcomed McCartney but seemed a bit unsure of what they were witnessing. The treat was an hour-long performance by a musician not likely to visit this area very often; still, he's a talented singer-songwriter and rangy instrumentalist who happens to look a bit familiar. As the evening came to a...

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Videos: Last Year's Men, The Lollipops and more gather at Slim's to support Elijah Von Cramon

Posted By on Wed, May 22, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Last weekend at Slim's, more than 15 bands played to show their support and raise funds for Paint Fumes lead singer Elijah Von Cramon at "LIJApalooza." As detailed in last week's Indy Week, Von Cramon recently spent considerable time in the hospital after being hit by a car. Those on stage and in the crowd responded, coming out to support Von Cramon, who was in attendance and front and center throughout much of the weekend. If you weren't able to make the event but would still like to support, you can by purchasing Waste of Time: A Tribute to Paint...

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Live: Phil Cook and his Guitarheels celebrate Ry Cooder

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Photo by Jordan LawrencePhil Cook and the Guitarheels Phil Cook and the GuitarheelsHaw River Ballroom, SaxapahawFriday, May 10, 2013 When it was released in 1972, Boomer's Story felt original, even though it contained no original material. As with much of Ry Cooder's work at the time, the influential LP features his versions of traditional folk numbers and blues favorites, soul songs and diverse instrumentals. The sounds are cobbled together from all over the spectrum of Americana, lush Latin melodies sharing space with rowdy Band-style folk-rock. With Boomer's Story, the songs aren't nearly as fascinating as the way they're put together,...

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Live: The Darkness thrusts itself upon Raleigh

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Photo by Scarlet PageYeah, baby. “We’re The Darkness from the United Kingdom, and we’re here on business!” By the time frontman Justin Hawkins made that introduction early in Friday night’s set, it was unnecessary: The nearly full Lincoln Theatre was clearly familiar with the British quartet, and the band was giving the crowd exactly what they came to see. While opening with the crude, autobiographical “Every Inch of You” from last year’s comeback record Hot Cakes, The Darkness eventually played through almost all of its breakthrough debut Permission to Land, only leaving off album closer “Holding My Own” from an...

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Without Doc and Rosa Lee Watson, Merlefest marches on

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Photo by Bob Alexander/Courtesy of MerlefestChatham County Line gathers 'round The 26th annual MerleFest returned to the campus of Wilkes Community College last weekend. One major figure was missing, of course: This year's Merlefest somberly marked the first without the festival's patriarch, Doc Watson, who passed away in May 2012. Many asked if, after the passing of Watson, his beloved gathering in western North Carolina would change. “This year we thought it was important to celebrate the life and music of our dear friend Doc Watson,” answered Ted Hagaman, director of the festival. “For the past 25 years, he has...

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Live: Mount Moriah rewards the faithful

Posted By on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Photo by Jordan LawrenceMount Moriah's Heather McEntire Mount MoriahCat's Cradle, CarrboroFriday, April 12, 2013 It should be mentioned that this wasn't the first time that Mount Moriah took over the Cat’s Cradle for a release party. Almost exactly two years prior, the local folk rock favorites played the legendary Carrboro club to celebrate the CD version of its self-titled debut. Admittedly, that free show wasn't as full as Friday’s packed house, and at the time, the Cradle couldn't hold as many people. But the point remains that Mount Moriah won over Triangle audiences long before signing to Durham-based indie heavyweight...

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Friday, April 12, 2013

William Tyler wows as Loamlands debut at The Pinhook

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Photo by Jordan LawrenceWilliam Tyler Nashville's William Tyler wants his instrumental songs to tell a story or, at the very least, to express some theme or concept that's been weighing on his mind. This is especially true on Impossible Truth, his recently released third LP and his debut for Durham's Merge Records. Much of the album was inspired by Tyler's reading. While driving across the country in support of his 2010 solo effort, Behold the Spirit, he made his way through Cadillac Desert and The Geography of Nowhere, two volumes that focus on ecological woes. The first analyzes the crisis...

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Live: Chris Stamey brings Big Star to Full Frame

Posted By on Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Nothing Can Hurt Me, Drew DeNicola and Olivia Mori's documentary about the ill-fated Memphis pop band Big Star, would’ve made a fine endpoint for this year’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, even without the movie's local connections. As it was, however, the choice struck a nearly perfect note, thanks to its opening act. Chapel Hill musician Chris Stamey—one of the film's primary interview sources—gathered nine fellow musicians in the collective known as the Fellow Travellers to perform 10 Big Star songs on the Carolina Theatre stage before the film screened. It was an abbreviated version of the Big Star tribute...

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Live: Hiss Golden Messenger brings friends, family to the record shop

Posted By on Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 3:48 PM

As the early spring sun sank low in Durham on Tuesday night, Michael Taylor glanced up at the crowd pressing close to the makeshift plywood stage at Bull City Records. “I didn’t really set up a record release show,” admitted Taylor, sitting in the chair he’d toted from his nearby home, “because I kind of don’t like those.” But in the last few weeks, the excitement for Haw—the album that Taylor’s Hiss Golden Messenger released just yesterday on the label Paradise of Bachelors—has spread in these parts and elsewhere with contagion speed. It seems that most every time I...

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Live: Dex Romweber Duo rips through the catalog in Durham

Posted By on Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Friday night at the Casbah in Durham, the underground heroes of the Dex Romweber Duo took the stage. Running through a blistering set, the Duo showed no signs of rust, despite having not performed in some time. Romweber dipped into his extensive catalog of solo records, duo releases and Flat Duo Jets material. Summoning a spectrum of rock ’n’ roll, surf rock and crooning county, they covered all the bases. Despite Duke playing in the NCAA tournament during set time, there was a sizable crowd for the Duo. They played only an hour, leaving the crowd waiting for the next...

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Live: The Lollipops prove their worth

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 11:30 PM

The LollipopsThe Pinhook, DurhamFriday, March 22, 2013 For me, it's standard procedure to listen to a band's albums while you write a review of their live show. The recorded output serves as a refresher for the group's sound, kick-starting your memories and giving you an easy point of comparison. In the case of Raleigh's Lollipops, this procedure is more confusing than helpful. Of all the intriguing young outfits making waves in the Triangle right now, the powerfully fetching psych-pop group boasts the biggest disparity between their recorded output and live show. This isn't to say that one is bad and...

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Live: Ray Wylie Hubbard says no to taping, yes to the blues

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Photo by Dan SchramStill pictures: Ray Wylie Hubbard in Raleigh Ray Wylie HubbardBerkeley Cafe, RaleighMonday, March 25 Give them what they want, and give it to them again right before you sell them something: Ray Wylie Hubbard began and ended his Monday night set in Raleigh by offering the sizable audience “Snake Farm,” a tune even David Letterman had to request recently. Between playing the song and its reprise, Hubbard reached back to sample songs from his deep catalog and tell a few tales, too. Talking about co-writing with Hayes Carll, he smiled widely and said, “It’s really great to...

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Live: Four songwriters test new waters (Videos)

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Last Thursday, the Casbah in Durham continued its songwriters in the round series. The first installment featured Heather McEntire, Hiss Golden Messenger, Amy Ray and Phil Cook. The second installment featured an equally stellar lineup of Christy Smith, Justin Robinson, Shawn Luby and Katharine Whalen. Kudos to the Casbah for setting up this series which really takes these performers out of their comfort zone while trading stories and debuting new material. I hope it continues. Christy Smith (Tender Fruit): "Get Out of the Car" Justin Robinson: "Space is the Deepest Silence You'll Never Hear" Shawn Luby (Humble Tripe): "Old Time...

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Live: The Morning After finds unlikely pop success

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Turning to Jac Cain as The Morning After stepped off stage Friday night at The Pour House, I asked him for his impressions of the group: "You know," said the longtime sound engineer, "on paper it shouldn't work. But the thing is, it does." On paper, The Morning After has all the traditional elements of a bluegrass band, plus a soul singer and drummer. What The Morning After has created is a good-time, pop-and-soul band backed with the sort of solid instrumentation that allows lead singer Rachel Koontz to let loose vocally. Below, check two clips from Friday's performance. "Where...

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Jimmy Webb's songs and stories at Elon University

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 2:31 PM

“I never thought of myself as a country songwriter, really,” Jimmy Webb mused between renditions of “Highwayman”—a chart-topper for Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson—and “Galveston,” one of Glen Campbell’s biggest hits. Ironic timing for such an observation, but it’s true that Webb was never bound to any one genre: Like the 20th-century titans who preceded him, including George Gershwin and Johnny Mercer, his territory has been simply the American popular songbook. Webb, who performed solo Thursday evening at Whitley Auditorium on the Elon campus in Burlington, is arguably the last of those legends left standing,...

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Live: Jacco Gardner and Schooner tweak pop in Durham (Videos)

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Stepping through the front door of The Pinhook, Jacco Gardner and company resembled a military battalion marching in lock step. Professional and organized, the group was there to get a job done. As they stepped on the stage Thursday evening, I had been interested to see how their lush soundscape of an album Cabinet of Curiosities would translate in the sometimes unforgiving confines of the Pinhook. What unfolded was a refreshingly delightful psychedelic performance lead by Gardner and accented by a solid crew. Below are a couple of videos from the evening, including Gardner and openers, Schooner. Schooner's "Trapped" Jacco...

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Live: Diplo does Diplo at a Major Lazer show, and little else

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 5:18 PM

MAJOR LAZER CAT'S CRADLE, CARRBORO THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 2013 While waiting for the stagehands at Thursday night’s sold-out Major Lazer concert at Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle, I found myself in a conversation with an attractive, 26-year-old Hare Krishna woman about how people abducted by aliens often see visions of giant owls. Aside from taking orders from Major Lazer hypeman Walshy Fire when he said, “I need everyone in the building to take off their shirts right now,” and participating in a “Harlem Shake” episode with the actual label (Diplo’s Mad Decent) that’s responsible for releasing the song, that was probably the...

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Live: Mandolin Orange shines in its little N.C. hometown (Videos)

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Photo by Dan SchramComing home: Mandolin Orange Saturday night in the small town of Warrenton, N.C., Mandolin Orange returned to the Southeast after several weeks touring in the North. Among those stops, they taught a workshop at the famed Berkelee College of Music (which rejected member Andrew Marlin as an applicant years ago) and the Folk Alliance Conference in Toronto. Warrenton is the childhood home of Marlin, and many of his family and friends turned out for the performance at Cast Stone Systems, an industrial warehouse outfitted with a stage made from recycled materials. A large crowd with many requests...

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Live: Slaid Cleaves plays new material in Durham (Videos)

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Last Thursday at the Casbah, Texas singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves returned to the Triangle, accompanied by Scrappy Jud Newcomb. Cleaves has not been in the area in nearly four years, so he brought along a batch of new songs from an upcoming album titled Still Fighting The War. The title track, which you can hear below, surrounds military personnel returning home and dealing with reentry into the civilian world and the consequences of combat. The second song, "Go for the Gold," is a gospel number performed unplugged for the encore. Cleaves seemed pleased both with the sizable crowd and the sound...

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I'm so happy to see this collaboration, and this affordable way to attend both!

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