Archives for category: Music Maniac

By Kristy Stevenson; video courtesy of the Town of Wake Forest

Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” reflecting the carnival-like practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods. It begins on or after the Epiphany, or King’s Day, culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday, or the beginning of fasting for Lent. Popular practices include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions and parades. And here are three ways you can celebrate in Greater Raleigh:

Mardi Gras Street Festival in Wake Forest
Wake Forest
will host the Mardi Gras Street Festival on Sat., Feb. 14. For both adults and children, the event invites visitors to the heart of downtown Wake Forest for music and entertainment, face painting and a walking parade. Teens and adults can participate in the King & Queen costume contest prior to the start of the parade. Judging will take place at noon and winners will serve as grand marshals and lead the walking parade. A Prince & Princess costume contest will also be offered for younger participants, as well as Best Baby, the ever-popular Bubblegum Blowing contest and more.

Fat Tuesday on Fayetteville St.
For a Mardi Gras party all day long, check out Feb. 17th’s Fat Tuesday on Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh. The party starts at noon and will feature live music on an outdoor stage from 5-10pm, street performers, artisans and food trucks. Then check out The Big Easy for authentic, soul-satisfying Cajun and Creole recipes, plus bona fide zydeco and traditional New Orleans jazz from 8:30pm-2am.

Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball
Join the revelry of the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball to Benefit Education and raise funds for educational programs in the process. Celebrate in Cary on Feb. 14, 7-11pm, with your best semi-formal or costume attire and enjoy a three-course meal of traditional New Orleans recipes with unlimited beverages, live music and a dance floor. VIP packages available.

Know of any other celebrations in Greater Raleigh? Submit them here!

Follow Kristy on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or visit her website here: Kristy Stevenson Creative.

themostnc.comLincoln Theatre in Raleigh NC“The Raleigh area is home to dozens of various event calendars, but what it was missing was an unbiased, impartial listing of events and concerts relevant to both residents and travelers,” said Dave Rose, co-owner of Deep South Entertainment. “With the launch of [themostnc.com] it is the bridge to bring all of that live music information together in a centralized place.”

In 2014, 15 representatives from area music venues, music festivals/presenters and other businesses in the local live music scene collaborated closely to create a comprehensive Greater Raleigh live music calendar, adapted from visitRaleigh.com. Launched yesterday, themostnc.com is the first comprehensive live music calendar conceptualized and collaborated on directly by Raleigh area live music leaders. So, why the most? Click here to find out.

Here are the top five reasons you should start using themostnc.com now:

1. It’s a first.
We said it above, and will say it again: themostnc.com is the first comprehensive live music calendar conceptualized and collaborated on directly by Raleigh area live music leaders. Being live music fans themselves, 15 live music representatives know what live music fans want, information-wise and graphically, so the website delivers. And being a collaborative effort, it’s unbiased, meaning you’ll always see a wide variety of shows at venues, along with a variety of genres.

2. You’ll never miss a show again.
You might have missed the news about your favorite band playing in Raleigh—you missed a tweet and a Facebook post, or a news article. Bookmark themostnc.com and scan the calendar each month to be in the know at all times.

3. You’ll discover new music.
Greater Raleigh has the most live music venues in N.C., and many of them are listing shows from up-and-coming artists on themostnc.com. You just might find your next favorite band.

4. Hear it from Greater Raleigh bands and insiders.
Learn about the area’s music scene from area residents (insiders, as we like to call them) and bands. themostnc.com will feature spotlight videos, plus links to blog articles on blog.visitraleigh.com about Greater Raleigh’s music scene.

5. 15 area live music representatives agreed: it’s quite pretty.
The website creators at visitRaleigh.com along with the 15 live music representatives wanted the calendar to be quick and easy to read. We all love bells and whistles, but let’s face it: more importantly when we want information, we want it fast and without anything distracting us. The design is clean and clutter-free, without distracting information.

Bookmark themostnc.com and come back to check the calendar whenever you want your music live and alive…in Raleigh.

And, hey, bands: don’t see your event on themostnc.com or visitRaleigh.com (which powers themostnc.com)? Click here to submit.

Solas Restaurant Lounge & Roof in Raleigh NCBy Tyler Cox; Photo by Solas Restaurant Lounge & Roof

So you like EDM (Electronic Dance Music) but don’t know where to go? Here are a few excellent spots in Raleigh that host weekly or monthly EDM parties, in addition to various other EDM events throughout the month:

Lincoln Theatre
126 E. Cabarrus St. One of the wildest EDM nights occurs monthly at Lincoln Theatre. PULSE: Electronic Dance Party features bass music from North Carolinian electronic music artists. The next rave takes place on Valentine’s Day and is the one-year anniversary of the event.

Mosaic Wine Lounge
517 W. Jones St. Mosaic Wine Lounge brings the party nightly. Renowned hip hop producer and rapper 9th Wonder spins records the first Wed. of each month. BASSLINE Tues. present house, breaks, dubstep and drum and bass. Every fourth Thurs., Mosaic Wine Lounge presents TRANCENDENTAL, an evening devoted entirely to trance.

The Black Flower
517 W. Peace St. Sky Bar’s closure forced the move of “Covert Bass,” one of Raleigh’s largest weekly events. Now known as SUB-ROSA, happening every Tuesday, sponsored by BassBunny Productions and Madhouse Underground Productions, this explosive EDM party found a new weekly home at The Black Flower. Rotating DJs, glow stick battles, shufflin’, fire dancers and fire blowers, hoop dancing–this event has it all. No cover if you’re 21 and up, and bring your dog!

Noir Bar & Lounge
425 Glenwood Ave. A beautiful bar, crystal chandeliers, a killer patio and an appreciate of film noir add extra class to Raleigh’s burgeoning Glenwood South scene.

Solas Restaurant Lounge & Roof
419 Glenwood Ave. Three floors of fun in Glenwood South! The first floor offers an upscale restaurant with a wraparound fountain patio and special event and banquet space. Skip on up to the second-floor Lounge, with its glass-bottom dance floor and specialty cocktails. The Rooftop patio provides a beautiful view of Glenwood South and a raucous dance party. Every Fri. and Sat. night, the Lounge and Rooftop bump with progressive house music.

Five Star
511 W. Hargett St. Consider this one a hidden gem. In addition to their excellent Asian cuisine and chic decor, Five Star hosts local house music collective Full House, mostly on First Fridays.

The Capital VIP Night Club
1505 Capital Blvd., Ste. 21. You can dance the night away to the big hits, but they do have some nights devoted entirely to EDM.

Southland Ballroom
614 N. West St. Generally focusing on live instrument-based music, Southland occasionally pulls one of the better EDM shows.

Click here to see even more nightlife hot spots in Greater Raleigh.

DSC_0774Greater Raleigh visitors, get hip to this!

For your listening and drinking pleasure, Common 414 is now open in downtown Raleigh.

DSC_0759DSC_0768This Roaring Twenties-inspired jazz club might just be one of the best new bars in Raleigh. Fellas and flappers, come on over and see this tasty joint for yourself.

DSC_0747Every Fri. and Sat. night from 8-11pm, take in the hottest local jazz musicians playing at this chic venue. Justin Longoria Trio and Jim Harris Trio make frequent appearances, and I caught N.C.’s Daniel Stark Trio on this particular evening, treating the audience to a mixture of jazz, fusion and jazz-rock. Modern meets classic in this relaxing yet vibrant bar. Best yet, most nights don’t charge a cover, but just a one-time membership fee (yep, you can tell your friends that you’re a member of a jazz clubcool, huh?).

DSC_0734DSC_0744Formerly the Wake County Public Defender’s Office, Common 414 channels that need for a drink by serving some of the finest cocktails in the state. A sawbuck will get you about any fancy drink-avous. Pumpkin season brings The Reaper, a delectable concoction with house-made pumpkin and allspice Demerara syrups, 100-proof Old Grand-Dad Bottled In Bond bourbon, egg white and Regan’s Orange Bitters, all topped with freshly shaved nutmeg. This Music Maniac, despite my beer bias, also recommends Elixir of the Gods: Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Domaine de Canton, Looza pear juice, agave nectar and fresh lime, served on the cube with a garnish of candied ginger.

DSC_0737If you’re not up for the brown plaid and want to stick to beer, there’s a modest selection. Five drafts, including White Street Brewing Company Kölsch and Lonerider Brewing Company Shotgun Betty, keep an owl going late.

DSC_0748Chin with the knowledgeable barkeeps to learn more about upcoming events, such as the Halloween Masquerade Ball or the Nov. 7 show featuring local legends Tea Cup Gin.

DSC_0756What are you waiting for? Put on the ritz with your baby, spoon on the couches and punch the bag with friends. You won’t be disappointed, and anyone who says otherwise is pos-i-lute-ly screwy.

DSC_0746Common 414 is located at 414 Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh. Open Mon.-Sun. 4:30pm-2am.

DSC_0662After 23 years traveling and touring the national circuit, renowned bluegrass star Lorraine Jordan decided to bring a piece of the road home with her. And I don’t just mean her band, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road.

DSC_0666This summer, the Garner resident opened Lorraine’s Coffee Shop in her hometown, mindful of her growing town’s needs.

“I see a need for a small town community to have gathering places,” Jordan said. “I don’t think anytime you want to see live music you have to go into a bar scene to see it. Being a musician myself, I see how important music and entertainment is to a small community. My coffee house is the perfect place to bring your family. It’s peaceful.”

DSC_0727Greater Raleigh’s Town of Garner is certainly peaceful, with a listed population just shy of 27,000.

“I think Garner’s a perfect place to live,” Jordan continued. “I’m a country girl at heart. Garner’s only a few minutes from the big city, but you almost have that country feel.”

Outsiders may be surprised to learn that Garner gave birth to former American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, NBA stars John Wall and David West and the founder of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, Barbara A. Kelly.

On a Fri. night, I made my way out to Garner to see Jordan’s vision first-hand. The coffee shop stood alone, a much larger structure than I anticipated, complete with a drive-thru.

As I pulled around back to park, I noticed a sign for “Jordan Driving School.” The name is not a coincidence. Lorraine Jordan has operated her own private driver’s education school for 23 years, serving Greater Raleigh students.

DSC_0656The interior shone brightly half an hour before local guitarist Cliff Davis was set to perform. I sauntered over to the coffee bar, noting the absence of alcohol. Jordan truly believes in creating a family atmosphere, and the quiet country venue caters to a wide spectrum of guests. High schoolers mingled with the elderly, with Southern charm the prevailing attitude.

DSC_0671My camera attracted some attention. Several Garner residents and coffee shop regulars approached me to ask what I was doing. Upon hearing I was a Music Maniac, they each expressed their appreciation for what Jordan brought to their town. Most of them remarked that the lack of alcohol encouraged them to come out more often. I rarely find a venue that does not serve alcohol, but Jordan seems to be on to something here. Later, I would witness the reverence in which musical acts are held, as the crowd focused their full attention on the stage and not on their friends. If I were a touring musician, Lorraine’s Coffee Shop would be high on my list of places to play.

DSC_0685DSC_0682The coffee bar serves the standard variety of coffee and espresso-based drinks, available hot, iced or frozen. They also serve smoothies, water, sodas, juice, sandwiches and chips. Manhattan Bakery in Greater Raleigh’s Morrisville and Amish Country Market out of Clayton provide pastries.

DSC_0679DSC_0681The walls are decked with pictures, albums and press clippings from her time touring. In the back, facing the stage, I found her Wall of Fame. Photographs and autographs from famous musicians are proudly displayed, her vibrant personality helping to acquire many famous friends. Hank Williams, Eddy Raven, Kid Rock, Dolly Parton, Lynn Anderson and Jim Ed Brown were among the many musicians to wish her well in opening Lorraine’s Coffee House & Music.

DSC_0668DSC_0667On this night, Cliff Davis held court with his long-time musical partner Doug Pitts. The two play what Davis calls “Southern swamp music,” a blend of folk, gospel and blues that he developed in his hometown of Burgaw, N.C. Davis began playing guitar nearly 60 years ago, and he and Pitts record in a private studio Pitts set up in his home.

DSC_0713DSC_0722Davis and Pitts complement each other well. Davis strums a D35 Martin and a D26 Martin, while Pitts lays down some improvisational licks on his electric.

DSC_0714“I love storytelling and weaving an image,” Davis remarked. “I give Doug a palette to paint on, and he goes from there.”

DSC_0723DSC_0697Jordan’s musical tastes emphasize the down-home country feel that she seeks. Thurs. evenings, between Oct. and March, Lorraine’s Coffee Shop hosts live bluegrass. Fri. nights bring acoustic solo artists and duets. On Sat., full jazz bands own the stage. Jordan said she hasn’t had any trouble booking acts for her new venture.

“Everybody wants to come play Lorraine’s Coffee Shop. We have five national bluegrass bands booked in route coming through our area. We’ve got a whole lot of jazz bands in this area. We’ve been able to find plenty of musicians.”

Lorraine’s Coffee House & Music is open Mon.-Fri., 6:30am-7:30pm, and Sat. and Sun., 8am-7:30am. Nights featuring live music have extended hours, with bands playing 7:30-9:30pm. Check the venue’s website for a full event schedule.

DSC_0677

10384591_10152558384189367_3149141661301439576_nIn the South, bluegrass remains a staple of its rich culture. From today through Sat., Oct. 4, downtown Raleigh welcomes International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA’s) World of Bluegrass, a week-long celebration of all things twangy.

Kicking off World of Bluegrass, the Bluegrass Ramble runs today through Thurs., Oct. 2, in seven sites around Raleigh: The Architect Bar & Social House, Kings Barcade, Lincoln Theatre, The Pour House Music Hall, Raleigh Convention Center, Tir Na Nog and Vintage Church. Ticket-holders can “ramble” all over downtown, checking out a bevy of talented acts from across the nation including Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, Rebecca Frazier and Hit & Run, Newtown, The Danberrys and Garner’s own Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road. The Bluegrass Ramble shows begin at 7pm and run until well after midnight at each venue.

ramble-poster-version011377455_10151851510179367_634910898_nOn each day of the Bluegrass Ramble, Raleigh Convention Center hosts the IBMA Business Conference. This massive trade show and insider gathering covers all aspects of the musical genre. Artists, merchandisers, publicists, record labels and a host of others talk tunes and debut the latest innovations in recording technology, instruments and strategies. This year’s keynote speaker is Bela Fleck.

The Bluegrass Ramble builds up to the 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards at Memorial Auditorium at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, hosted by Lee Ann Womack and Jerry Douglas. Listed performers include Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Balsam Range, Del McCoury Band and The Boxcars.

2014-awards1377392_10151853656829367_437700088_n1375895_10151853822754367_1946461971_nFor those of you concerned about getting around, a complementary shuttle runs between hotels and venues over these three days. The Ramble-based shuttle operates from 4:45pm-2:45am.

But that’s just the prelude to the weekend blowout: PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass. On Fri., Oct. 3, and Sat., Oct. 4, the festival’s two main stages, Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center, explode with talent. 2014 headliners include Del McCoury Band, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Yonder Mountain String Band, Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby and Steep Canyon Rangers. Fri. night’s show finishes at Red Hat Amphitheater with the Wide Open Jam, featuring Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Bryan Sutton, Edgar Meyer and Stuart Duncan.

WideOpen-poster-20141474407_10152700561574367_25411150177228156_nOn a budget but aching for some good live bluegrass? The PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass Street Fest will help you get your fix. Four professional stages, one youth stage and one dance tent line Fayetteville St. on Fri. and Sat. from noon-midnight. And it’s free. FREE.

ramble-poster-version011381986_10151855310894367_1198374962_nFree performances from Gibson Brothers, Della Mae and The Duhks. Free peformances from Blue Highway, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road and Chatham County Line. Free bluegrass from more than 85 bands, right on the streets of downtown Raleigh.

10346454_10152590211214367_2852084799719141432_nAre you excited yet? Because there’s still more.

The 2014 N.C. Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship runs concurrent with PNC Presents Wide Open Bluegrass. Between 15-20 local barbecue competitions give out prizes, and the cooked meat will be sold to the public at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle tent, located on Cabarrus St. beside the Raleigh Convention Center.

smoke
If you’re still looking for more ways to appreciate bluegrass, you can check out the inaugural IBMA Bluegrass Film Festival. Two Feature Films are set to be screened at the Business Conference, while six Festival Films will be shown during the PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass.

All told, more than 160 acts flood downtown Raleigh for the World of Bluegrass festivities. Join the party and embrace one of our country’s most impressive bluegrass festivals. It doesn’t take a Music Maniac to appreciate this special week. On the heels of Hopscotch Music Festival 2014, our great city cements itself as a musical hub to rival all others.

1375162_10151855634194367_2099675258_nVisit the official website for tickets and full event schedules (you can also see the PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass map and schedule here). For information on parking, click here. And for accommodations, events during the festival, dining and more, click here.

It’s time again for Greater Raleigh’s 31 Days of Art! The October calendar is filled with 31 days of performances, exhibits and gallery shows in a broad range of artistic disciplines.

Bluegrass_header_webIn celebration of International Bluegrass Music Association’s second World of Bluegrass and PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass in Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of History‘s case exhibit, Carolina Bluegrass: Breakdowns and Revivals, explores the roots of bluegrass music in the Carolinas. The exhibit, recurring daily through May 17, 2015 (Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., noon-5pm), with free admission, features promotional posters from events, album covers and television clips. The exhibit will also present rotations of instruments owned and played by North Carolina bluegrass musicians:

Aug. 29-Oct. 9: Guitar, custom-made by Carl McIntyre for Doc Watson; and banjo played by Earl Scruggs.

Oct. 9-Nov. 13: Guitar, Martin D-28, played by Rodney Dillard; and banjo, made by Ome Banjos, custom-made for Beverly Cotten-Dillard.

Nov. 13-Dec. 18: Fiddle, played by Bobby Hicks during his time with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys.

DocWatson_KT           Gibson "Flint Hill Special" Mastertone banjo associated with Earl Scruggs.           Watson guitarDec. 18, 2014-Jan. 22, 2015: Banjo, made by Vega; this tenor banjo was played by Arthur Smith while composing and recording “Feudin’ Banjos” in 1955.

Jan. 22-Mar. 5: Mandolin, custom-made for Curly Seckler; this mandolin was used during Seckler’s time with Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass.

Mar. 5-Apr. 9: Banjo, made by Bud Soesby ca. 1970, played by David Holt; the banjo is signed by numerous musicians.

Apr. 9-May 17: Banjo, made by Gibson Guitar Corporation; this Earl Scruggs Standard Banjo is a faithful re-creation of Scruggs’s 1930 Granada model.

Complementing this exhibit are these live music events: New Deal String Band Special Reunion Concert, Oct. 1, 5-7pm; and PineCone Bluegrass Jam, Oct. 2, 5-7pm.

litmusThe Wide Open Bluegrass Art Show 2014 is sponsored by the Litmus Gallery & Studios in downtown Raleigh (just across the street from the Red Hat Amphitheater) and the Raleigh Sculpture Group. Litmus features artists each month, and studio artists have their works on display and studios open for touring. Paintings, pottery, mixed media art, drawings/sketches and sculptures are some of the art forms available for viewing and purchase. The Bluegrass Art Show will showcase 2D and 3D artwork from 35+ artists, with more than 75 works of art relating to the theme of bluegrass. Recurring daily; see times and more information here.

HRMPCORMuseumEntranceAnd the City of Raleigh Museum (COR Museum) hosts Face of Folk: 30 Years of PineCone. Housed in a historic former hardware store, the COR Museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of N.C.’s capital city while envisioning its future. It curates temporary and permanent exhibits about the city’s people, places and resources while maintaining a collection of approximately 5,000 artifacts, offering educational programs and tours. The Face of Folk exhibit, celebrating the 30th anniversary of PineCone, Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, recurs weekly; see times and more information here.

All part of #31DaysOfArt in Greater Raleigh!

Written by Creative Genius Kristy Stevenson. You are invited to follow her online.

Photo credit: Litmus Gallery & Studios: Litmus Gallery & Studios Facebook Page

20140812_125320Whatever I expected upon driving into the little country town of Wendell, N.C., to visit a shop specializing in banjos, this was not it.

Entering a nondescript store marked “Zepp Country Music” on the main drag of Wendell, I found myself surrounded by banjos. Lots of banjos.

20140812_12281120140812_122826“Well, what did you expect?” you ask. “It’s a banjo shop.”

Zepp Country Music, Inc. is a banjo shop, sure. But it’s not just any banjo shop. Zepp Country Music, Inc., is the banjo shop, one of just a handful of businesses in the world that truly specialize in banjos.

I stared in awe. I’d never seen so many banjos. Here, on a Tues. afternoon, I counted 75 banjos on display. That number doesn’t even count the ones stored in the back! Ask yourself seriously: Have you ever seen that many banjos in one place (other than at Wide Open Bluegrass, presented by PNC and Bluegrass Ramble).

20140812_122739Since only a small percentage of the world’s population plays the banjo, and here I was in the instrument’s Valhalla, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that it’s run by a former entomology professor at Cornell University.

Since the age of eight, Donald Zepp knew his calling was entomology, the study of insects. But in 1961, he started plucking on a banjo just in time for college. The resulting love affair created an internal rift.

20140812_123501“I managed to flunk out of my freshman year of college because I didn’t bother to go to classes or to take any exams,” Zepp said. “What I was doing instead was playing the banjo.”

After a miserable year working construction, a local music shop hired him to give guitar and banjo lessons. It was 1964 and the folk boom raged.

“I was pretty successful,” Zepp reminisced. “Within a matter of months, I had more students on my schedule than anyone had ever had at one time. I had over 60 people a week.”

Zepp learned to balance his passion for music with school work, eventually earning his Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Missouri in 1976.

He embarked upon a long career in entomology, teaching at Cornell and, later, marketing insecticides as well as heading research and development on them.

When he realized the negative effect his workplace stressors and job hopping had on his family, Zepp retired from the entomology field. In 1997, he purchased a generic music store in Wendell with the intention of turning it into a banjo shop. In 1998, he opened Zepp Country Music, Inc.

20140812_122856Zepp Country Music, Inc. carries all things acoustic. No pick-ups, no amps, nothing electric. You can have your pick of about any banjo on the market, though the store specializes in open back banjos. Guitars, mandolins and a cellos dot the shelves. Also, you’ll find strings, tabs, picks, heads, instructional videos and cases. Zepp repairs banjos and does minor guitar work too.

20140812_122923On Mon. evenings from 7-10pm, Zepp Country Music, Inc., hosts an open bluegrass jam. Anyone who can play is welcome to sit in. Zepp emphasized that it’s a “bluegrass jam” and not an “old time jam,” though he appreciates each style. A bluegrass jam features a group of musicians who play a backup tune while a soloist carries the melody. The soloist then “passes the break” to the next musician in line, and that musician picks up the melody. In an old time jam, everyone plays together, one great jam that spreads the focus among the group.

20140812_122753Zepp Country Music, Inc.’s, show room is located at 4 E. 3rd St. in downtown Wendell. Open Mon.-Fri., 11am-6pm, and Sat., 10am-5pm. Banjo lessons are available Tues. and Thurs.

mastodon 7
To honor Hopscotch Music Festival 2014, I’m posting my diary of my nights out in Raleigh at the event. This is part three, the final entry.

Sat., Sept. 6, 2014

1:00pm

I start my afternoon off with brunch at one of my favorite downtown Raleigh staples, Remedy Diner. Though known for its vegan and vegetarian fare, there’s still plenty on the menu for my fellow meat-eaters. I choose a simple breakfast burrito and a pint of Sweet Josie Brown Ale by Lonerider Brewing Company, which hits the spot.

remedy2:15pm

Phil Cook & Caitlin Rose at The Pour House Music Hall. Trekky Records co-hosts this day party, giving me a second chance to see Loamlands. But that’s not until later. Right now, multi-instrumentalist Phil Cook (of Megafaun) and Nashville country music singer Caitlin Rose team up for some soft acoustic tunes. Beautiful.

cook rosecook rose 22:40pm

Rebekah Todd at Slim’s Downtown. I’m in luck. Not only do I finally get to hear Rebekah Todd’s soulful acoustic folk, I get to hear her backed by Gabriel Reynolds and Nathan Spain of Morning Brigade. This short set includes one of her newest tracks, “Roots Bury Deep,” as well as a fun little cover of Pharrell’s “Happy.”

r todd 2r todd 13:40pm

Hearts & Daggers at The Berkeley Café. I have a new favorite party band. They’re upbeat, sassy and wild, and I absolutely love them. They give outlaw country a fightin’ edge, just the way it should be.

hearts daggers 2hearts daggers 14:15pm

Landlady at The Pour House Music Hall. Catchy hooks, melodic indie-pop, big ideas, excellent stage presence. I wish I had been able to catch more of their set.

landlady 1landlady 24:42pm

Loamlands at The Pour House Music Hall. I wrote about Loamlands yesterday, so I’ll only say that I could not wait for the chance to see them again in a slightly more up-close-and-personal venue. I must be in a country/rock mood.

loamlands5:18pm

Some Army at Legends. I give the country music a break to delve back into indie rock. Some Army channels early Radiohead and Coldplay, but in their own, unique way. They lean toward hazy psychedelic rock, slowly building and sucking me in.

some army 2some army 15:43pm

Time to head home for a while and recharge for the night.

8:23pm

Mastodon at City Plaza. I’m not normally a big metal fan, but I make exceptions. Mastodon is one of them. I saw them last back in 2009, when they played their record Crack the Skye in its entirety, so this City Plaza show provides an opportunity to hear what they’ve been doing lately. Once More ‘Round the Sun was released earlier this year, a magpie collection of big riffs, highly technical guitar work and heavy rock.

mastodon 6mastodon 3mastodon 5mastodon 1I’m pleased to see them on the Hopscotch Music Festival 2014 bill because they appeal to a different sect of concertgoers. This year’s festival had big headliners in indie rock, hip hop and metal, something for everyone.

mastodon 2Oh yeah, and I like watching people headbang and crowdsurf.

mastodon 89:05pm

Madison Jay at The Hive. I move on to catch this local freestyle legend.

madison jay9:25pm

Y’ALL at Kings Barcade. When I arrive, a few minutes early, there are perhaps two dozen people spread out around the horseshoe shaped bar and venue. I move to the front preemptively to get the full experience of Y’ALL’s psychedelic power pop. Completely enthralled by the music, I forget I’m in a club. When I turn around, about half an hour later, I’m stoked to see Kings Barcade at full capacity.

yall 1yall 210:07pm

Beer break! Deep South the Bar has a line out the door to see Coke Weed, and I’m not quite ready to trek over to Contemporary Art Museum (CAM Raleigh), so I drop in on Crank Arm Brewing, one of my favorite local breweries. I’m a big fan of Holy Spokes, their chocolate habanero porter.

crank arm10:28pm

Because cats rule the Internet.

crank arm cat10:50pm

The Range at Contemporary Art Museum (CAM Raleigh). I’m way overdue for some electronic music. Smart EDM by this artist out of Providence, R.I.

range11:12pm

I hate it when my beer makes faces at me.

can face11:30pm

How To Dress Well at Contemporary Art Museum (CAM Raleigh). More electronic-based music, and with a full band! That’s how to hook me. I love the range of Tom Krell’s voice, and he contrasts his moody beats with some dynamic dance grooves.

dress well 1dress well 212:02am

Dent May Band at Deep South the Bar. I pick Dent May to close out my Hopscotch Music Festival 2014 experience, with a conventional pop/rock sound.

dent may 1dent may 212:33am

I’m signing off. It’s been a successful weekend. Farewell, Hopscotch. See you next summer!

20140905-DSC_1320To honor Hopscotch Music Festival 2014, I’m posting my diary of my nights out in Raleigh at the event. This is part two.

Fri., Sept. 5, 2014

6:50pm

St. Vincent at City Plaza. The art rock artist routinely puts on some of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.

20140905-DSC_1156This evening is no exception. She draws heavily from her 2014 eponymous album and Strange Mercy, her 2011 release, for her Hopscotch Music Festival 2014 performance.

20140905-DSC_1180Crowd favorites “Digital Witness,” “Birth in Reverse,” “Surgeon” and “Cruel” make the set list. Pre-Strange Mercy favorites including “Your Lips Are Red” and “Marrow” also fill City Plaza.

20140905-DSC_120820140905-DSC_112320140905-DSC_11917:40pm

I get sustenance for the second consecutive night from Z Pizza (Downtown). Why? Because I enjoy the pizza and it’s superfast.

8:29pm

Spoon at City Plaza. The addition of Spoon to the Hopscotch Music Festival 2014 lineup cemented my attendance. Spoon’s been one of my favorite bands for more than 10 years, and I’ve never seen them live. Mission accomplished.

20140905-DSC_139220140905-DSC_1399The new Spoon album They Want My Soul ranks among the best records of 2014 (so far) and is one of my two or three favorite Spoon records of the eight they’ve released.

20140905-DSC_1362They play a healthy number of new songs, such as “Rent I Pay,” “Do You” and “Inside Out,” because that’s what bands do when they release a new record.

20140905-DSC_1425But this band hasn’t toured since 2012, and their fans want to hear some classics. We are rewarded with “I Turn My Camera On,” “Don’t You Evah” and “The Underdog,” among many others. I could not ask for more from their live show.

20140905-DSC_13949:37pm

Canine Heart Sounds at A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. I stroll back here to see a N.C.-based band that I particularly enjoy. Their quirky beats often stop and start at unexpected moments. Their music wanders as much as I did last night, and always returns with a purpose. Simple harmonies and experimental guitar jaunts create complex melodies that make my soul hum. Drummer Yan Westerlund, formerly of Bowerbirds, sat in with the band IIII last night in this same venue.

canine 1canine 210:10pm

Sinners & Saints at Lincoln Theatre. I arrive early for the Trekky Records band Loamlands, which gets me a nice spot for another N.C.-based band, Sinners & Saints. I catch the final two songs of this contemporary Southern country duo. They merit further investigation in the future.

saints sinners10:33pm

Loamlands at Lincoln Theatre. A friend of mine joked that there’s no such thing as a small show for Loamlands. Lead singer and guitarist Kym Register steals my heart instantly, her genuine smile and country-tinged twang reminding me of Josh Ritter. It feels wrong to simply classify this N.C. band as country/rock, what with Register’s rich vocals inviting comparisons to Birds & Arrows, Bob Dylan and Jenny Lewis. So take my word that Loamlands is much more than that. They’re alt-country, brooding folk and classic rock in the style of CCR and just darn good.

loamlands 1loamlands 211:08pm

Tony Conrad at Vintage21. It’s only Fri., but I’m at church. Vintage Church on S. Person St. graciously opened its doors to the Hopscotch Music Festival 2014 crowd, the perfect setting for quiet acoustic acts. I’m not sure Tony Conrad qualifies. He’s 74 years old and a master violinist, but he’s not playing classical music. His long, droning songs are experimental noise, and I can see exactly how his former 1960s bandmates Lou Reed and John Cale would take to his style.

conrad 2conrad 111:39pm

Freeman at A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Also known as Gene Ween, co-founder of the band Ween, he drew a crowd of loyal fans to the venue.

20140906-DSC_1512I’d seen Aaron Freeman in three different bands over the years. I saw him many times with Ween, where he let his weirdness hang out. I saw him when he fronted his solo band as well, Gene Ween Band, a few years back.

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Tonight, with scores of raucous, devoted fans on their feet, Freeman rocks the house. His new music is straight-up rock, and he performs it with an honest gusto befitting his personality. Ween fanatics are treated to “Transitions” and “Exactly Where I’m At,” but he’s mainly sticking to songs from his self-titled album, released earlier this year.

20140906-DSC_153512:27am

I check out Sun Kil Moon at Lincoln Theatre. After the show, I decide to call it a night. Time to go home and prepare for a big Sat.

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