Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, June 30 - Tiger Thief, The Greatest Hits, The Sammies, Brent Jordan @ Kings (indie/pop rock)
Saturday, July 1 - Sullivan, Scarlet Undercover, Mercy Mercedes, Narallis, A Cadence of Sorts @ The Brewery (emo rock)
Sunday, July 2 - Aceyalone, Ugly Duckling, Procussions, Diverse @ Cat's Cradle (hip hop)

Click the band names to hear music by each band.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Big Bad swing band comes to Cary

It's entirely possible that I'm not the world's biggest fan of swing music. That being said, I don't know anyone who flat-out doesn't like the stuff. Its infectious beats and melodies could make even the most rhythmically-challenged person want to get on the dance floor and jump, jive and wail...or maybe that's just me. Either way, the fact that the swing wave of the mid-90s has long reached its crest doesn't mean these bands are lost and gone forever.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, made famous thanks to the movie "Swingers," stopped by Booth Amphitheatre in Cary on Saturday for a special performance with the N.C. Symphony.

After the symphony played its set, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy came on and ripped through a one-hour set including their hits, "Go Daddy-O" and "You & Me & the Bottle Make Three Tonight (Baby)," as well as a selection of New Orleans-inspired tunes and even "I Wanna Be Like You" from Disney's "The Jungle Book."

Across the amphitheatre's lawn, couples spun and danced to the music. The beat was enough to get assistant conductor Carolyn Kuan dancing from her post in front of the symphony.

Saturday's performance was part of the symphony's Summerfest series, which pairs the symphony with soloist and artist for themed performances. Last year's Summerfest series brought Botox beauty Kenny Rogers to the stage. Ben Vereen performed the works of Sammy Davis Jr. with the symphony this season, and a performance on July 15 will bring The Lord of the Rings soundtrack to life.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Tuesday, June 27 - The Futureheads, French Kicks @ Cat's Cradle (Alternative/Indie Rock)
Wednesday, June 28 - Pearls & Brass, The Torch Marauder's Grappling Hook @ Local 506 (Blues Rock)
Thursday, June 29 - Kaiser Cartel, Regina Hexaphone, Ryan Pound @ Bickett Gallery (Indie/Folk Rock)

As always, click the band names to hear music by each band.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

6/23 - Human Television, Cities, Shakermaker @ Local 506 (Alternative/Indie Rock) - $8
6/24 - Schooner, Ben Davis and the Jetts, The Explorers Club** @ Kings (Alternative/ 60's pop)
6/25 - Lucero, Murder By Death, Vedera @ Cat's Cradle (Folk/Indie Rock) - $10/$12

Click the bands above to hear some of their music.

**The Explorers Club had to cancel. Schooner and Ben Davis & the Jetts will still play.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Guster grows up with new album

So I’m sitting here listening to Guster’s new album, Ganging Up on the Sun, and I keep thinking, “Wow, this is Guster?” Don’t get me wrong, the melodies, the songwriting, all the good stuff, is still there. But there’s something different. Something more somber, more mature about the tone of the album.

Long-gone are the bongos of yesterday, the goofy head-bopping ditties and poppy “fa fa” choruses. No, this Guster is different.

The most pronounced departure is in the song "Ruby Falls," a seven-minute symphonic masterpiece. Or "Satellite" with its (dare I say?) psychedelic keyboard interludes. Maybe it's "C'mon" with its simple construction and driving bass riff — with a little banjo and B3 thrown in for good measure.

But never fear, old school Guster fans, there's something for everyone here.

I dare you to not bop your head just a little to the driving guitars of "Dear Valentine," or tap your foot to "The Beginning of the End" (appropriately, the next-to-last-song on the album), which has a similar feel to "Red Oyster Cult" and has been called "the one that rocks" in the band's studio journal. And yeah, then there's the single, "One Man Wrecking Machine," (see the video here).

Will everyone like it? Probably not. Are they crazy not to? Oh yeah.

Val's picks for iTunes (or other legal service) download: "C'mon," "Ruby Falls," "One Man Wrecking Machine." But really, just do yourself a favor, plop down $10 and get the whole album.

Guster will play at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park in Cary July 18 with Ray LaMontagne and the Fruit Bats. General admission tickets are $33 in advance and $35 day of the show and are available at your favorite Ticketmaster outlet.

The Motion EP available in stores

Raleigh-based band The Motion has put its first release, The Arrival EP up for sale at local stores. Schoolkids Records and The Record Exchange will carry the five-song EP at their Hillsborough Street locations. The band says an online store is also in the works.

Initially released in May 2006, The Arrival EP sounds like a throwback to the popular bands of the mid- to late-90s. The band lists its influences as the Gin Blossoms, Athenaeum, Ryan Adams, Wilco and Counting Crows. Not convinced? Listen to two songs off the EP on the band's MySpace page.

Own the album or seen the band live? Post your thoughts and comments here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Tuesday, June 20 - Tilly and the Wall, DeVotchKa, David Dondero @ Cat's Cradle (Indie/Folk Rock)
Wednesday, June 21 - Tiger Thief, Screaming Females, Devin Davis @ Wetlands (Indie Rock)
Thursday, June 22 - Roman Candle, The Old Ceremony @ Cat's Cradle (Carrboro) (Indie Rock/Jazz Pop)***

Click any of the artist's names above to hear their music.

***This is a CD release party for Roman Candle's new album, "The Wee Hours Review", out June 20.

Will Hoge @ The Pour House 6/15

Will Hoge and company rolled the big purple tour bus into town Thursday night, June 15, for a show at The Pour House.

About a hundred people turned out for the band’s first Raleigh show since August 2003, and even Hoge seemed pleasantly surprised at the turnout, telling the crowd he’s had more than his fair share of crappy shows in town, but “This isn’t one of them.”

The band — Dean Tomaek on bass, Adam Fluhrer on guitar, Jefferson Crow on keys and Siggi Birkis keeping the beat — opened with “Secondhand Heart,” off Hoge’s 2003 release Blackbird on a Lonely Wire and didn’t slow down through most of their 90-minute set.

A rough sketch of the night’s play list includes “The Man Who Killed Love,” “Pocket Full of Change,” “Wait ‘Til Your Daddy Gets Home,” “July Moon” “Lover Tonight,” “Hearts are Gonna Roll” (all on Hoge’s latest release, The Man Who Killed Love — and excellent album if I say so myself), “She Don’t Care,” “Ms. Williams” (off his 1999 release Carousel), and a brand-new song, “Southern Belle.”

Even though there have been changes in Hoge’s lineup over the years, one thing remains consistent. His shows never fail to be high-energy and extremely entertaining. Who knows — maybe he won’t wait another 3 years before returning to town.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, 6/16 - Rhonda Vincent & The Rage @ Meymandi Hall in Raleigh (bluegrass/country)
Saturday, 6/17 - Boxbomb, Evoka, Red Handed, Carter Gaj @ Cat's Cradle in Carrboro (rock/alternative)
Sunday, 6/18 - Aid for Aids benefit featuring L in Japanese, Jozeemo, The Urban Sophisticates, Kaze, The Away Team @ Cat's Cradle in Carrboro (hip hop)

Click any of the artist's names above to hear their music.

The obligatory Dave Matthews Band post

If you've been anywhere near a TV these past few days you've seen the ads running for Dave Matthews Band's annual jaunt at Walnut Creek. The show is next Wednesday, June 21, and we were a little curious as to why the Creek is still running ads, seeing as these are the shows that used to be famous for selling out in 20 minutes or less.

Turns out that as of about midnight tonight, seats are still available. If you can actually talk five people into going to the show with you, you can all sit together near the back where, yeah, we know, there's no weather shelter. But the real party's on the lawn, anyway, right?

Reserved seating for this "event" is $59.50 with a patch of grass in the back going for $39.50. Hmm... a Dave Matthews show or a couple of tanks of gas? It's a toss up.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Fiona Apple to play Cary amphitheatre

Fiona Apple and special guest David Garza will make a stop in Cary at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre August 6. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, June 17, at 10 a.m. through your favorite Ticketmaster outlet. They cost $59.50 for reserved seating (you know, the plastic tables waaaay in the back) and $39.50 for the lawn.

Contrary to the amphitheatre's prior announcement, Damien Rice will not appear in Cary — it turns out he's only playing dates through July.

In other amphitheatre news, Aretha Franklin has once again cancelled her summer appearance. Two years running, folks. If anyone out there happened to buy tickets (though I doubt it), refunds will be given at the point of purchase.

Unless you hear otherwise, here's a rundown of upcoming shows at the venue.

June 24: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy plays with the N.C. Symphony
July 18: Guster with Ray LaMontagne and the Fruit Bats
July 21: Train with Mat Kearney
August 2: O.A.R. with Jack's Mannequin
August 18: Bela Fleck and the Flecktones on the Acoustic Planet Tour Volume II
Sept. 13: Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals with Damian "Junior Gong" Marle

For a complete listing of all events, including movie nights (which are kinda cool), check out

Kevin's weekday picks

This is the first post of a new weekly series. I'm going to tell you what shows you should check out in the Triangle during the work week. Let's begin.

Tuesday, June 13 - Steel Pulse and Dub Addis @ Cat's Cradle in Carrboro
Wednesday, June 14 - Suma Bay, Mad Man Films and Bull City @ Wetlands in Chapel Hill
Thursday, June 15 - Will Hoge (late show) and Tim Easton (early show) @ The Pour House in Raleigh

Click on the band names to hear music by each artist. Go out and support local clubs. Don't forget to tip your bartender(s).

Friday, June 09, 2006

Weekend roundup

So what are you doing this weekend??

Matt Pond PA at Cat's Cradle
Nine Inch Nails, TV on the Radio and Bauhaus — Walnut Creek
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill — the RBC Center

Tiger Thief*, The Motion* and Colourslide — Raleigh Music Hall
Dios Malos — Cat's Cradle
Raleigh Downtown Live feat. Cowboy Mouth, Jimmie's Chicken Shack, Arrested Development, Michael Blagicki (of Rusted Root), Sam Fisher (of Mercury Blue) — Moore Square
The Vibekillers*, Hank Sinatra — The Pour House

Shawn Mullins, Clay Cook — The Pour House

* Denotes local band

Friday, June 02, 2006

More developments downtown

Looks like The Record Exchange on Hillsborough Street is getting some long overdue competition in the "live performances" category this summer. Schoolkids Records will install a stage at its Hillsborough Street location.

The first performance? Pete Yorn on July 15, who also happens to be playing at Cat's Cradle that night (which is not, as we know, in Raleigh as his official Web site declares) for his "You & Me" acoustic tour.

Pete Yorn's next album, produced by the ridiculously multi-talented Butch Walker, is set to be released August 29.

Pete Yorn
Schoolkids Records

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's 90 degrees and humid...let's go to an outdoor show!

Just because Lincoln Theatre is closed for the summer doesn't mean downtown Raleigh will be silent for the season. Down the street, the newly revamped and renamed Raleigh Music Hall seems to be benefiting from the closure with the booking of Duncan Sheik — an older name but a big one nonetheless.

Returning to downtown this summer is the Bud Light Downtown Live concert series in Moore Square Park. The series kicked off this past weekend with Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Carbon Leaf and that annoying band in all the Carolina Ford commercials. (Beep beep! Ugh.)

Top picks include...
July 22: Butch Walker and the Let's Go Out Tonites (pictured above)
August 19: Athenaeum (yeah, I thought they broke up too), Gin Blossoms
Sept. 2: Presidents of the United States of America

Raleigh Music Hall's calendar can be found at
Check out a "complete" list of Bud Light Downtown Live shows at But seriously, just try Pollstar, it's more likely to be updated frequently with opening acts.

Bud Light Downtown Live on Pollstar

Butch Walker