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Live Actions: Reviews

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Live: Southern Culture on the Skids in one of their preferred rooms (Video)

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 3:51 PM

The Berkeley Cafe is one of the definitive venues in which to see local legends Southern Culture on the Skids. It could be the intimacy of the place or how the group's sound translates in the awkward room's layout—I'm not certain. What is certain, though, is that the Berk breathes new life into the group's material. When they play the Berkeley Cafe, they bring a little something extra. And at the end of the night, with ears ringing and a variety of drunken people exiting, the lights come up to reveal empty beer bottles everywhere and remnants of fried chicken...

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Live: Toddlers inaugurate their new EP (Video)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Friday night at Kings Barcade, the Toddlers released their highly anticipated EP, 19. The evening began, though, with the frantic rock of Black Zinfandel, followed by the catchy and strange instrumentals of the Savage Knights. After the Toddlers took the stage, it soon became apparent that they are one of the most noteworthy new groups in the area. It seems that, with each show, they become tighter and much more comfortable stretching out with their material. With their EP out and focus forming on a full-length debut, the Toddlers should be on every to-watch list you've got. BLACK ZINFANDEL SAVAGE...

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Live: Some Army celebrates its Kickstarter success (Video)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Tuesday night at The Pinhook, Some Army celebrated the successful funding of their Kickstarter campaign. They surpassed their goal of $7,000 to produce and record their first full-length album at Mitch Easter's Fidelitorium. Last night's set featured several new tunes, intended for the as-yet-untitled upcoming album. They played a fairly brief gig; considering it was as an early weekday evening, a sizable crowd remained. Below, Some Army performs"Telling Lies"...

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Live: Chatham County Line brings the listening room to Fletcher Opera Theater (Videos)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Roughly two and a half years after Chatham County Line first appeared at Raleigh’s Fletcher Opera Theater to record Sight & Sound—released last year as both a live DVD and CD/LP—the Triangle’s preeminent purveyors of Americana returned to the auditorium last Friday to a sold-out crowd. Much of the set was stacked with the quartet’s best-known newer cuts—singer/guitarist Dave Wilson joked that these are hits as far as the band’s mothers are concerned—to the delight of the appreciative audience. The band did reach back nearly a decade to “WSM (650),” from its self-titled debut. Wilson introduced the early tune by...

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Live: The Dead Tongues and Ryan Gustafson have their night (Video)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 3:06 PM

When Ryan Gustafson and company stepped on stage Saturday night at the Cat's Cradle, he barely could have had a stronger band behind him. From the allstar back line of James Wallace and Jeff Crawford to Thomas Costello, Thomas Simpson and Mark Simonsen, each member of the group has their hand in several projects. Still, despite the show being booked as The Dead Tongues, it was definitely the Ryan Gustafson party. The band kicked off a nearly hour-long set that reached back to his Donkey LP to reprise "Soul Train." From there, they ran through most of the new...

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Live: Chris Stamey gets intricate (Video)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Chris Stamey's Lovesick Blues seems to be a breezy album, but keep listening, and notice the layers of depth. Going into Friday's performance at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, I was interested to see how they would pull off those arrangements live. Backed by an 18-piece band, Chris Stamey and company delivered a concert not like one I've seen in recent memory. It was meticulous, an onslaught of meticulousness characteristic of Stamey's high expectations for himself and whatever he presents. The evening began with Skylar Gudasz stretching out on the piano (and joined by Casey Toll) for a strong dose...

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Airstrip lands with intensity at Kings

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Photo by Jordan LawrenceMatt Park and Airstrip land with intensity AirstripKings, RaleighSaturday, Feb. 2, 2013 Airstrip, led by former-Veelee partner Matthew Park, plays hook-laden indie rock with unusual heft. It's a trait that makes sense when you consider the personnel: Bassist Nick Petersen and drummer John Crouch also constitute the rhythm section of the slow-burning Chapel Hill metal troupe Horseback. But as Park will tell you, the aim of the band's aesthetic isn't so much heaviness as intensity. Airstrip's songs resound with strung-out feelings of frustration and isolation, crystallized by oblique observations that seethe with devastating sarcasm. Willing, the band's...

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Live: Ty Segall sings rock 'n' roll in Raleigh

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Photo by Bryan C. ReedPacked room, real close: Ty Segall Ty SegallKings, RaleighWednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 If rock ‘n’ roll has ceded its commercial and cultural dominance, you wouldn’t have known it Wednesday night, when Ty Segall stirred a large, and largely underage, crowd into a screaming mass. This was Segall’s fourth Triangle visit since 2011, his third at the 250-capacity Kings Barcade in downtown Raleigh, and the first to sell out in advance. Segall’s growing local fanbase reflects the sharp ascent in national prominence that has followed Segall’s 2011 signing with the label Drag City. Since then, the 25-year-old...

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Kid stuff: The Buzztown Band makes the children sing—and the parents content, too

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 3:25 PM

As a veteran of the Triangle music scene, Brian Buzby has faced his share of low turnouts. But when he and his Buzztown Band took to the Broad Street Cafe stage two weeks ago, it was, as he happily proclaimed before kicking off the first number, the largest gathering he had ever played for. But there was a key difference between this gig and his previous ones: The average age of Sunday’s crowd could be counted on one hand. Indeed, some were so small they had to be held. The Buzztown Band formed when Buzby found himself feeling, well,...

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Live: See The Toddlers' private Kickstarter concert

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Friday at Local 506, The Toddlers hosted a private concert to reward their Kickstarter contributors. Opening the evening was Ari Picker & friends, running through a brief set of cover songs. The Lost in the Trees frontman also mentioned a solo project he will be releasing in the future. The Toddlers subsequently took the stage, unleashing their brand of spacey melodies that include menacing and, at times, frantic tones. They offered a number of new tunes from the EP and a few others previously released on 7" singles. Finally hearing "Starlight" as it should be played to an attentive...

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Lost in the Trees and New Music Raleigh offer bigger sounds, smaller emotions

Posted By on Mon, Dec 10, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Lost in the Trees with New Music RaleighReynolds Industries Theater, Duke Campus, DurhamFriday, Dec. 7, 2012 With Lost in the Trees, the focal point will always be Ari Picker. The singer and leader of the string-abetted art rock ensemble is a transfixing presence on stage. This isn't just because of the subjects he sings about, though his tales of familial dysfunction and tributes to his late mother are certainly filled with overwhelming emotions. Picker genuinely seems to be baring his soul every night, not just singing his songs, but reliving the stories within, his voice rising from a fractured...

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Live: Wooden Wand lets them ponder

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Photo by Leah Hutchison Toth Wooden WandDuke Coffeehouse, DurhamFriday, Nov. 30, 2012 James Jackson Toth’s set at the Duke Coffeehouse Friday night provided stirring testimony to the enduring power of one person playing a guitar and singing words that matter. Introducing himself by his nom de rock, Wooden Wand, and singing songs from Blood Oaths of the New Blues, his forthcoming release on the venerable London label Fire Records, along with older works, Toth balanced his natural geniality with the serious intent of a musical lifer. When I chatted with him briefly before the show, Toth was in good spirits,...

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Live: Chucho Valdés walks among us in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Chucho Valdés Memorial Hall, Chapel Hil Tuesday, Nov. 27 Looking relaxed in a turtleneck with its long sleeves pushed up and a Kangol cap worn in B-boy style, 71-year-old pianist Chucho Valdés revealed himself to be at the height of his powers Tuesday night in Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall. He led a young, percussion-heavy quintet that represents the cream of Cuba’s next-generation sidemen. All of the backing musicians reside in Cuba and perform and record regularly with the island’s premiere artists, such as top arranger and flutist Orlando “Maraca” Valle, Buena Vista Social Club diva Omara Portuondo, and dance...

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Invisible's The New Obsolete ends its run in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Corbie HillJust one part of Invisible's water-driven drum machine Invisible, Eros and the EschatonNightlightNov. 16, 2012 It's a rare Nightlight show that starts at 9 p.m., especially on the weekends. Yet this special engagement did exactly that, and was over by 11:15—per the design of headliners Invisible. The Greensboro art-music outfit (band is a tricky designation for them) typically plays alone and in a gallery space, per their elaborate multimedia setup and sculptural or visual elements. This engagement, however, saw them share the stage with Greensboro newcomers Eros and the Eschaton. The opening duo injected romanticism into dreampop forms, resulting...

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Members of Megafaun and Bombadil try out new looks

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Photo by Jordan LawrenceJames Phillips on his own for the first time Phil Cook & His Feat, Sumner JamesTir na nOgNov. 15, 2012 Among the advantages of free showcases like the Tir na nOg's Local Band-Local Beer night is the ability to try out new things without much pressure. With no cost to get in and a reliable weekly beer special, the Thursday crowd at the Raleigh Irish pub varies in size, but is always willing to give unfamiliar acts a chance. This week, two Durham talents seized the opportunity to debut new performances that, while occasionally rough, overflowed with...

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Live: Jeb Bishop and Jorrit Dijkstra weave simplicity, complexity

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Jeb Bishop & Jorrit DijkstraNeptune’s ParlourNov. 15, 2012 Against a backdrop of exposed brick and dimly lit by scattered lamps and tabletop votive candles, the casual performance Jeb Bishop and Jorrit Dijkstra offered last night at Neptune’s in Raleigh offered welcome shelter from the chilly breeze and spitting rain outside. The set began unassumingly, as trombonist Bishop and saxophonist Dijkstra convened near the back of the bar, in the loosely defined patch of floor they treated as a stage. Bishop offered a brief introduction, and the musicians lifted their horns and began to play an hour-long, 14-song set notable...

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Live: Macklemore skates into the Cat's Cradle

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 3:13 PM

MacklemoreCat's CradleFriday, Nov. 9, 2012 On Friday afternoon, several hours before Macklemore’s Friday performance at Cat’s Cradle, he and a female companion sat down across the street for a meal in a secluded corner of the patio at Carrboro gastropub, Milltown. They ate, and Macklemore washed the food down by reading a few pages of the paperback version of Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad. Minutes later, Macklemore hopped on his skateboard and rode down Franklin Street, amid a town full of folks celebrating UNC’s homecoming. This isn’t the standard routine for most visiting...

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Evening for Richard Adler, late UNC alumnus and musical theater legend

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Photo by Ashley Melzer An Evening for Richard AdlerMonday, Nov. 5UNC’s Hill Hall Crowds gathered early last week to celebrate the legacy of UNC alumnus Richard Adler, class of 1943. Adler, who died this past summer, was a prominent figure in musical theater of the 1950s, best known for The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees. Theater geeks will remember him for his (and partner Jerry Ross’) drive to relates stories about issues of the day; masses will know him for songs like “Steam Heat” and “Whatever Lola Wants.” Students and faculty alike contributed to this night of performances. The rotating...

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Video: The Love Language brings a big band to the Lincoln Theatre

Posted By on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

The Lincoln Theatre hosted quite the three-band bill on Friday with The Love Language, Gross Ghost and The Toddlers. One act after another unveiled refreshing material, making this one of my favorite shows of the year. The Toddlers offered a number of new songs, presumably from their upcoming Kickstarter-funded release. As they began to play the sparse "Starlight" in near total darkness, the crowd slowly began to quiet down behind the eerily perfect vocals of Nathan Toben. Gross Ghost barreled their way through 10 songs in just about 30 minutes; frontman Mike Dillon seems to be becoming more and more...

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Live Review: Red Fang, Black Tusk, Lord Dying at Kings

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Last night, Kings hosted a sold-out crowd for a touring trifecta that brought varying flavors of heaviness. Portland's Lord Dying opened with a tough blend of trash and doom, its twin guitar attack relentlessly crushing riffs alongside E. Olson's raspy bark. The band only eased up on the pummeling for guitar solo heroics and a cover of "Forget the Minions" by the now-defunct post-hardcore act Karp, which also makes an appearance on Lord Dying's tour-only EP—oddly enough, only 666 copies were pressed. Savannah's Black Tusk took the stage next in a uniform of beards and muscle tees that left...

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Live: Erykah Badu DJs in Raleigh

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Photo by Eric TullisOn and on: Erykah Badu spins in Raleigh's Five Star, while 9th Wonder looks on. Erykah BaduFive Star, RaleighFriday, Nov. 2 The celebrity DJ hustle earned a bad rap when Jersey Shore's Pauly D started pissing people off with his outrageous booking prices and piss-poor skills. But it's a lot different when a class-act artist like Erykah Badu offers her services for a room of dance-ready folks accustomed to 9th Wonder's True School Corporation's juiced parties. So last week, on the Friday night kickoff of N.C. State and N.C. Central's homecoming festivities, 9th hosted the best party...

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Video: Kathleen Edwards talks "giant boner for Durham," collaborates with Mandolin Orange

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 5:20 PM

"I really wish I hadn't written this song because I kind of have a giant boner for Durham," said Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards as she transitioned into "Empty Threat," the first song of her most recent release Voyageur, Friday night at the Haw River Ballroom. The song revolves around the idea of her moving to America but not wanting to do so. Despite it being her first performance at the venue, Edwards continuously heaped praise on the room and venue co-owner Heather LaGarde. Edwards played a nearly two-hour set, featuring selections from each of her albums. Jim Bryson and...

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Live: GZA leads a chorus of bros in Raleigh

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 11:12 AM

GZALincoln Theatre, RaleighThursday, Oct. 25 The first time I saw Wu-Tang ’s GZA perform his legendary 1995 solo effort, Liquid Swords, was a dozen years after its release at the 2007 Pitchfork Music Festival. Though the rapper held court in Chicago over a field full of fans, a near-dusk set time squandered his energy in such a huge expanse. Last week’s packed show at the Lincoln was completely different. Despite The Genius’ needless but persistent complaints about the volume of his music and microphone, the rabid, bro-dominated crowd finished nearly every line of the emcee’s classic album for him, especially...

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Live: The grace of Tinariwen in Carrboro

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 7:04 PM

TinariwenThe ArtsCenter, CarrboroSaturday, Oct. 20 Tinariwen’s six members appear on stage, at least as they did Saturday night in Carrboro, accompanied by the rustle of traditional Taureg-Berber robes, the flash of red electrical guitars and the pop of hand drums. Such juxtaposition should give some clue as to the worlds that collide within the band’s music: Tinariwen’s members are Malian, but the group’s founders met in Libyan refugee camps in the late 1970’s. The Taureg are a group of desert nomads, a small minority that is well-versed in resistance since before beginning of Africa’s nation-building. The band’s music is...

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Live: Jens Lekman comes to Norf Carolina

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Charmed, we're sure: Jens Lekman Jens LekmanCat’s Cradle, CarrboroMonday, Oct. 15 “How are you doing, Norf Carolina?” Jens Lekman asked at the Cat’s Cradle Monday night, half-sincere and half-droll, in that unmistakable Swedish accent that turns father into “fodder” and you into “chew.” Lekman is the epitome of love-it-or-hate it, singing elaborately written and arranged vignettes in a voice like buttered velvet. His lean, dynamic indie-pop songs are pumped up with all kinds of glorious schmaltz, pilfered from the furthest reaches of taste—smooth saxes, beatnik interludes, magical flutes, cozy strings, patrician reggae, saucy calypso. His lyrics mix extravagant sentiment and...

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