Friday, May 31, 2013

This week's hot concerts

Ed Roland
6 p.m. Friday, May 31, NC Music Factory Fountain Plaza, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $5.
The Collective Soul frontman shakes up the rock format slightly with his group the Sweet Tea Project relying on rootsier, (partly) acoustic instrumentation which still mines the same sort of modern Southern rock songwriting that the Atlanta singer is best known for.

Randall Bramblett
10 p.m. Friday, May 31, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $15.
The multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter may not be a household name, but he’s one of those writer/musiicans that household names like Bonnie Raitt turn to when in need of a smart track, which indicates his own albums - like the just released “The Bright Spots” - are often unsung gems.

Aaron Lewis
11 p.m. Saturday, June 1, Coyote Joe’s, 4621 Wilkinson Blvd. $20-$23.
The Staind frontman took his knack for peppering Staind's melodic metal with every-man angst to country radio for 2011’s “Country Boy” and its follow-ups “Endless Summer” and “Forever.” The move seems to be working as he returns to the local country hot spot.

Summerland Tour
7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 2, Uptown Amphitheatre, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $27-$57.85.
After a warm reception for its outing with Lit and Sugar Ray last summer, Everclear leads this `90s rock tour for the second year. The lineup is a heavier one this time with `90s radio staples Live, Filter, and Sponge filling out the bill.

Wednesday 13
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont St. $13-$15.
The China Grove-native infuses camp and cult into his unapologetically fun brand of horror rock, which trades on punk, metal, and `70s and `80s rock n’ roll picking up where early Misfits left off while riffing on practically every slasher film or monster movie you can think of.

9 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $15-$17.
After a five-year wait, the moody rock band (best known for 2002’s modest modern rock hit “Sometimes”) returns with the PledgeMusic-funded “Ballet the Boxer” album. Ours’ frontman Jimmy Gnecco has a voice that can stop you in your tracks - making the group a force live. With Greensboro’s Luna Arcade.

Face to Face
7 p.m. Wednesday, June 5. Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St. $17-$20.
With its second post-reunion album hitting on influences like the the Clash and the Jam, the Southern California punk band - influential in their own right on pop-punk acts like blink 182 - returns to Charlotte for its first headlining show here since the early `90s when it played the long-ago-closed Pterodactyl.

Aaron Carter
8 p.m. Thursday, June 6. Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St. $17-$20/$67-$70 VIP.
At only 25 and well over a decade since his biggest hits, the former teen heartthrob and more recent Broadway lead returns to the club stage to relaunch his music career with the intimate After Party Tour and a tentative new hip-hop and dance flavored album later this year.

Hobex/Greg Humphreys
9 p.m. Thursday, June 6, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $12.
The Southern soul outfit led by former Dillon Fence frontman Humphreys - who opens with material from his new solo album “Bohemia” - plays its first Charlotte show in four years and a rare club set at that. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Doc about Charlotte band premiers on YouTube

A short documentary about Charlotte garage rock quintet Temperance League was posted on YouTube today. The mini doc was produced by "Shuffle Magazine" and Salisbury-based Six Foot Kitten as part of the Take One series. Filmed in September, it features three live performances and the group talking about its self-titled, full-length debut album.

The band is led by songwriter Bruce Hazel and features area music vets Shawn Lynch, David Kim, Chad Wilson, and Jay Garrigan. The group plays Charlotte frequently and opened for Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band at Time Warner Cable Arena in April. It's readying its next album for release in the fall. The language is mostly appropriate for sensitive ears, but there is one case of profanity in the last song.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Remodeled Neighborhood Theatre up and running

NoDa residents, music fans, and local musicians from bands like the Catch Fire and the Loudermilks gathered Wednesday as the remodeled Neighborhood Theatre reopened its doors after having to relocate four concerts earlier this month (including Foals and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead) in order to complete renovations and procure operating licenses. 

With the bulk of the renovations complete, the New Neighborhood Theatre (as it’s known on Facebook) revealed a snazzy, modern new bar and a more sophisticated look.

Although the bar had a soft opening last weekend, Wednesday’s open house featured live music on the big room stage by Charlotte singer-songwriter Reeve Coobs with Jason Atkins. The first official show is Saturday’s New Familiars concert with Brock Butler of Perpetual Groove and the Trainwrecks, who will perform at an after party in the bar area - something that will happen frequently at the venue. A small raised stage will be erected in the front corner of the front room.

The layout is basically the same, but the bar is now the centerpiece of the front room. The bar, which includes seating, is situated along the wall between the large front room and the concert hall and is accessible from both sides.

The bathrooms feature new toilets, sinks, glass tiles, and wood framed mirrors and the stage features new lighting and sound equipment. But the bar is definitely the centerpiece. The sleek bar, which looks like a cross between a high-end restaurant bar and what the original theater might have resembled when it was built as a movie house in the `40s - changes the look of that front room along with local artwork that lines the front room (many pieces are by artists that live in the surrounding neighborhood).

The raised VIP sections in the concert space are gone. The floor is partially seated as before. Gregg McCraw, who books and promotes concerts at numerous Charlotte venues under the name Maxx Music and will handle that aspect of the Neighborhood, said a VIP section will be created in the balcony and will feature a dedicated bar of its own. He hopes to complete that project between Saturday’s show and the venue’s second - Jesse y Joy - on June 7.  

McCraw is relieved to have the venue open. It was announced in March that he would take over managing the theater along with Evening Muse owner Joe Kuhlmann and another partner. McCraw is now the only one of the three still involved. Real estate developer Tyler Foster owns the building and the name and is taking part in the renovations as well. 

London, England-native Alex Shaw has signed on as general manager. He worked next door at Sanctuary for four years before moving to Bask, the now closed NC Music Factory restaurant. He is also  tended bar and handled social media under Neighborhood Theatre's previous management team.   

“I wanted to come back. It seemed like a great opportunity to carry on the legacy of the (old) Neighborhood Theatre and do something new and exciting,” says Shaw, who moved to Charlotte nine years ago. He’s looking forward to business as usual. 

“The last month has been relatively trying. I’m not a construction worker or a construction boss. I’m a bartender,” he laughs.

McCraw says patrons can look for the calendar to fill up soon. He announced this week that Toad the Wet Sprocket will play the theater July 19.

You can keep up to date on continuing changes to the theater here -

Thursday, May 23, 2013

This week's hot concerts

Steel Wheels
8 p.m. Friday, May 24, McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St. $17.50. 704-372-1000.
Nope it’s not a Rolling Stones tribute,but a twangy Virginia bluegrass quintet built on four-part harmonies, lively stage shows, and a modern spin on tradition. The band is touring in support of its new album “No More Rain.” Singer-songwriter Ana Egge opens.

Dustin Hofsess
8 p.m. Friday, May 24, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $10. 704-376-3737.
On his new instrumental album, “Short Stories” this versatile and nimble guitarist weaves jazz, classical, blues, progressive, rock, and ethereal experimental touches. The album, which is his first solo release after years playing with other artists, includes impressive spots from George Porter, Jr. of the Meters on bass and fellow Monday Night Allstar and famed local percussionist Jim Brock.

Billy Don Burns
9 p.m. Friday, May 24, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $10. 704-376-1446.
The unsung Nashville songwriter’s songwriter that eluded fame despite A-list artists like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Mel Tillis recording his songs should finally catch some name recognition with the upcoming documentary, “Talk About Crazy.”

Eric Britt
8 p.m. Friday, May 24, Volume Lounge, 1801 Commonwealth Ave. $5. 704-333-9197;
His Athens indie-rock band Hazel Virtue was a fixture in the Southeast in the `90s bridging jangly alt-pop with Live-like grooves and vocals. Now Savannah’s Britt takes a romantic folk-pop approach that’s lighter on angst on his new solo album “Greener.”

The New Familiars
8 p.m. Saturday, May 25, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $12-$15.
The remodeled NoDa venue, which had to push back its opening a few weeks, holds its first official show. Fittingly locals the New Familiars, who were somewhat of a fixture at the old theater, headline the revamped venue.

Frank Bang & The Secret Stash
9 p.m. Thursday, May 30, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $8-$10.
On his new album “Double Dare” (out this week) Buddy Guy’s former sideman plays mean, swampy slide guitar like he’s driving a getaway car and, during slower tracks, hiking across the spooky desert in the sweltering sun when that car runs out of gas. Either way his dirty blues shows ample heart and grit.

Truth & Salvage Co.
8 p.m. Thursday, May 30, Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St. $12.
This transient Nashville-based sextet of Southern rockers (three of whom previously lived in Asheville) is a favorite of Black Crows’ Chris Robinson (who produced its first record) and remains tied to the NC mountains. The group recorded its upcoming sophomore album there with Band of Horses’ Bill Reynolds.

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra
8 p.m. Thursday, May 30, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $12-$15.
If you dog steel drums chiming poolside but wondered how the instrument would morph in other musical settings then look to Asheville’s Scales. His ensemble can’t escape the sunniness of the instrument on its upcoming full-length album, but he places the steel pan into lively jazz-fueled instrumentals where he fluidly struts his stuff. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Food Lion Speed Street revs up with local acts

The 19th Annual Food Lion Speed Street Festival starts tomorrow. In addition to headliners like SWV, Jamey Johnson, and Survivor, the free three-day music festival and NASCAR fan event exposes audiences to some of the area's local talent. Sol Fusion and Charlotte hip-hop-infused alternative rock outfit Pradigy GT (pictured) take the stage first on Thursday. SWV and Jon B headline.

The gig is a big deal for locals that are accustomed to playing for smaller crowds at more intimate venues. 

"Four years ago our first show was in a small NoDa club. Since then we have opened for Snoop Dogg, been in a national magazine ad campaign for Musician's Friend, performed on TV, (and) had our songs spun on local and national radio, but we have never played the biggest stage in our home city," says Pradigy Musicman comparing Speed Street to his group's accomplishments thus far. "We have wanted this opportunity since the beginning."

Two acts were chosen through Speed Street's Race to Stardom competition. Mooresville’s Landon Parker Band, who won in the country category, opens for Johnson and Randy Houser Friday. Winning rock band Blu Avenue does likewise for Survivor and Sister Hazel Saturday along with Chris Sanchez and `80s glam metal tribute Hair Nation. 

Live music begins at 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. For more information check out 
(photo courtesy of BNR Promotions)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Neighborhood Theatre open house Wednesday

The recently remodeled Neighborhood Theatre had to postpone its official opening four times earlier this month, but the popular NoDa music venue will reopen its doors Wednesday to allow customers to take a peak before its first official show Saturday.

Charlotte singer-songwriter Reeve Coobs (pictured) will perform during a free open house Wednesday at 8 p.m.

In addition to new sound and lighting equipment and new bathrooms, the theater has a new look. The bar, which is accessible from the concert hall side now, looks like a modern art throwback to what I imagine it may have looked like when the venue first opened as a movie theater in 1945. The silver ceiling tiles are a nice touch. There's also new artwork gracing the bar area.

If you can't make the open house the New Familiars play Saturday with Brock Butler and the Train Wrecks. Tickets are $12 to $15. The website,, remains the same.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beach band helps symphony celebrate 4th

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to the red, white, and blue with Celebrate America! at South Park's Symphony Park on July 4th. The patriotic program will also include an opening set by Lake Norman area beach music band, Lakeside Drive - and really, what's more American than beach music?

Although Lakeside Drive gigs each weekend from Cornelius to Belmont to Monroe, the Symphony Park show marks its first inside the city limits, reports sax player Jason Barker (pictured above with band).

At its heart a horn-driven beach music sextet whose singles have charted on multiple beach music charts, Lakeside Drive is also a working band that plays a mix of popular oldies, rock, R&B, soul, and disco - everything from "Stagger Lee" to "Rolling in the Deep." It'll be interesting to see what makes it into their 45-minute set during the symphony gig.

The group also writes original music. Its debut album should be out around the end of summer. You can read more about the group online here and stream music here.

Tickets for Celebrate America! are $10 for adults. Children under 18 are admitted free. Lakeside Drive takes the stage at 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

This week's hot concerts

5 p.m. Friday through 2 p.m. Sunday, May 17-19. Misty Meadows Farm, 455 Providence Rd. S. at Ennis Rd. $15-$50.
Toubab Krewe and Sam Bush headline Friday and Saturday, respectively, at this family-friendly weekend festival. The focus is a 24-hour drum circle where teams drum tirelessly to raise funds to fight cancer. Other acts include The Broadcast, Of Good Nature, Jeff Sipe Trio, Kevin “KalimbaMan” Spears, and Rich Redmond.

The Hush Sound
7 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St. $18-$20.
After a five year hiatus the band returns with its signature male/female vocals and bouncy intelligent pop. The two new songs it premiered through Soundcloud suggest new material will be as hummable and hooked-filled as ever. With Hockey, River City Extension, Genevieve Schatz from Company of Thieves, and Lucas Carpenter.

Treasure Fest III
5:30 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 17-18. Various Plaza-Midwood venues and The Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $25-$30.
This annual eclectic underground music festival stretches across two neighborhoods with performances from around 70 acts including Sundials, Secret Hospital, Franz Nicolay (the Hold Steady), Hectorina, It Looks Sad, and Mineral Girls Friday and Torchrunner, Whatever Brains, Wymym’s Prysyn, Joint D≠, Rogue Nations, and Pullman Strike Saturday.

Michael Tracy & Friends Music Matinee
3 p.m. Sunday, May 19, Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St. $10-$15.
Bluesy Charlotte-based rock guitarist and vocalist Tracy heads up this seven band local bill featuring the Joe Davis Band, FiftyWatt Freight Train, Analog Daze, Jake Haldenwang, Gary Ramsey, and StellaRising. BBQ will also be served at this family-friendly event.

The Jazz Room
6 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, Stage Door Theater, 5th and College Streets. $10. 704-372-1000.
The second installment of this monthly after work jazz series, which sold out its debut in April, features Columbia-based trumpeter Mark Rapp performing the timeless works of the legendary Miles Davis. 
Jesse Dee
9 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. Free.
This 33-year-old Bostonian writes and sings like a soul artist decades his senior. With warm, live production, flattering horn and guitar work and songs that thematically cross generations, he could be America's male equivalent to Amy Winehouse.

Charles Walker Band
9 p.m. Thursday, May 23, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $10-$12. 704-376-1446.
Fronted by sassy female vocalist Porsche Cameron and led by saxophonist/keyboardist Walker, this Milwaukee combo conjures the decadent party vibe of carefree `70s Motown, funk and soul with a rippling blues edge.

Brother Dege
7 p.m. Thursday, May 23, US National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway. Free.
This eccentric Southern songwriter plays mean, twangy slide and a resonator guitar that's sound is at once gritty and metallic and sings with equal parts soul and world-weariness. His music was recently featured in “Django Unchained.” 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bush, others beat out cancer at weekend festival

Cancer survivor and bluegrass veteran Sam Bush and Asheville Afro-jam quintet Toubab Krewe will headline drumSTRONG this weekend. The three day music festival, which benefits cancer awareness and research, takes place at Misty Meadows Farm in Weddington Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Toubab Krewe with special guest Kevin "Kalimbaman" Spears headlines opening night of the seventh annual drumSTRONG. Friday kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with S.L.O. Stop Light Observations followed by Raleigh roots singer Jeanne Jolly, Djesben with Nathan Graham, and the Mid-East Magic Dance Ensemble bellydancers.

Saturday's lineup includes local reggae rockers Of Good Nature, Moses Jones, Spears, DEP3,  buzzing Asheville band The Broadcast, jazz saxophonist Ryan Saranich with Alex Bailey, and local jam outfit Bubonik Funk. The Jeff Sipe Trio and Bush headline.

Saturday also marks the 2 p.m. kick-off of the 24 hour drum circle, which extends into Sunday morning and afternoon. The drum circle is the heart of the event and circles back to the festival's beginnings. The fundraiser was created in 2007 by the Swimmer family whose son was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. The family founded DrumsForCures, which produces drumSTRONG with the idea of literally beating cancer through the positive energy and focus created through music. Simultaneous drumSTRONG events now take place as far away as Bangladore, India and The Ukraine.

Sunday's live music includes a breakfast jam with Kalimbaman, Virginia Schenk, Corey Wells, Jim Brock, and Rick Blackwell followed by the SuperSpontaneousCombustjam with Sipe, Red Richmond, and others.

The kid-friendly festival includes a Kidz Parade Sunday, a maypole dance. hoopin', face painting, puppets, and percussion instruction as well as a YogaThon and bellydancing. There's also plenty of healthy living information on hand.

Tickets range from $15 for volunteers and team members to $30 for individuals and $50 for families with kids under 12. You can purchase those by registering online here. Find out more at

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Francis' show Saturday coincides with Pixies tribute

Recent setlists indicate that Pixies' frontman Black Francis (aka Frank Black) will give fans a smattering of Pixies' tracks during his solo show at Visulite Saturday with opener and sometime collaborator Reid Paley. If fans don't get a comprehensive, career-spanning set like this one from Boston in April, Charlotte punky garage band Black Market will be paying tribute to Francis' seminal late `80s alternative rock band at The Milestone Saturday as well. You can check out its version of "Tame" here.

Boston is Francis' hometown, so Charlotte's show will likely be briefer. Sets in Chapel Hill and Asheville in February were anywhere from 23 to 28 songs long - not too shabby - and spanned the man legally known as Charles Thompson IV's fabled career.

Honestly I could sit there all night listening to him play all five Pixies' records from start to finish, but there is incredible work under the Frank Black and Black Francis monikers as well. He also hasn't played a solo show here in ages - maybe since Tremont during the Cult of Ray Tour in 1996 (I just came across my ticket stub).

Black Market says its a coincidence its show, which is part of a benefit for next weekend's Treasure Fest III in Plaza-Midwood, was booked the very same night. It's likely you can catch both sets given how late things usually roll at the West Side hot spot.

Friday, May 10, 2013

NoDa venue's opening pushed back again

Tonight's Reckless Kelly show scheduled for NoDa's Neighborhood Theatre has been moved to The Double Door Inn. This marks the fourth time the reopening of the renovated Neighborhood Theatre has been pushed back in the last week and a half. The Mickey Hart Band's concert Wednesday was moved to Halton Arena at CPCC following Foals and Paul Thorn moving to Visulite last week.

The Double Door is quite a bit smaller than the Neighborhood Theatre, so tickets are limited. Advance tickets can be purchased at

The next show scheduled for Neighborhood Theatre is local band the New Familiars on May 25 giving the new operators two weeks to put the finishing touches on the venue. Plus New Familiars make a fitting act to open the theater. The group has a long history playing the venue. Keep checking for updates.

This week's hot concerts

Paul Giallorenzo’s GitGO
8 p.m. Friday, May 10, dialect design, 3204-C N. Davidson St. Donations encouraged.
The Chicago jazz pianist and composer leads this quintet which highlights, not only playful piano, but lyrical, sometimes wacky horns that interplay with the keys and busy percussion in a spirited, improvisational dance. 

Mother’s Finest
8 p.m. Friday, May 10, Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St. $18-$22.
This biracial veteran Georgia funk outfit took on racial stereotypes on stage and in its music during its `70s funk hey-day and again while shifting its focus to in-your-face rock in the `90s. It boasts members - many still original - from both eras.

The Darkness
8 p.m. Saturday, May 11, Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St. $22.50-$25.
Much like the bands that inspired it, this British arena rock and hair metal throwback burned out quickly after the massive hit, “I Believe in A Thing Called Love.” The group reformed in 2011 and released the album “Hot Cakes” in 2012, which still delivers on high octane rock and campy, inescapable pop hooks.

Black Francis
8 p.m. Saturday, May 11, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $20.
According to recent set lists the Pixies frontman, who has been collaborating live and on record with opening act Reid Paley in recent years, revisits his prolific career with a solo set that includes solo work, covers, and material by his fabled band.

Jeff the Brotherhood/The Hunters
8 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St. $10.
This Nashville rock duo does a psychedelic take on garage rock that’s big on low end and would be at home scoring a “Dazed and Confused”-style party montage. Hunters is the wild, dissonant, and unpredictable heir to forward thinking punk-influenced acts - think a Bikini Kill/Sonic Youth mash-up.

Ryan Saranich
9 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $8.
The Boston-based Charlotte native and saxophonist’s new album “Story” balances the raw energy of a live set with fully realized jazz-anchored arrangements that play out with subtlety and lyrical expression (despite being instrumental) like retro TV themes or classic 1960s and 1970s movie scores.

Geoff Rickly and John Nolan
6 p.m. Thursday, May 16, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $10-$13.
Consider this solo tour from the Thursday frontman and Taking Back Sunday/Straylight Run guitarist Nolan (who calls Charlotte home now) a Taking Back Thursday tour, where both will play quieter, more stripped down sets than its post-punk, emo-core bands. Don’t expect a country-folk duo though. Their sets still fall under the rock umbrella.

The Trishas
7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $12-$14.
This folky, harmonizing female quartet come highly recommended by elite Nashville and Austin songwriters like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Raul Malo who recruited the group to guest on their records before the band had even recorded anything of its own. 

Old Crow Medicine Show
7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd. $42.90-$50.10.
The “Wagon Wheel” band, whose career took off after Doc Watson discovered it busking on a Boone corner and invited it to play Merlefest, paved the way for today’s genre-blurring acoustic revival that includes Grammy winners Mumford & Sons and chart toppers like the Lumineers.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Imagine Dragons moving Tuesday's concert

After mud and rain brought an early end to the Carolina Rebellion festival Sunday, unpredictable weather has another headlining act seeking shelter. Tuesday's Imagine Dragons concert scheduled for Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre in downtown Charlotte will now be held at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.

The decision was made to move the show due to inclement weather during rehearsals over the weekend. The Las Vegas-based band kicks off its Night Visions Tour here tomorrow with Paper Route and the Envy Corps.

Tickets for the original show will be honored at Verizon and due to the larger venue, plenty of $20 general admission tickets are available. Tickets are available at, by calling 1-800-745-3000, and at Ticketmaster outlets. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

This week's hot concerts

Spin Doctors/Paper Tongues
6 p.m. Friday, May 3, Fountain Plaza, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $5.
On the heels of “If the River Was Whiskey” - its first album in eight years - the “Two Princes” band kick off the nostalgic Friday Live! concert series. The 8-week series features acts from the last three decades as well as newer ones like Charlotte’s Paper Tongues, who are a force live.

Chris Botti
8 p.m. Friday, May 3, Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. $19.50-$74.50.
The contemporary jazz trumpeter’s romantic, classically-influenced renditions of ballads win Grammys and rank him among the top selling jazz instrumentalists. That’s because he plays the instrument with the expression and subtlety of a gifted vocalist and lyricist. 

Tim McGraw
7 p.m. Friday, May 3, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 707 Pavilion Blvd. $40.75-$
Country’s most played artist of the 21st century (at least the first decade) isn’t short on hits with well over 30 No. 1 singles. Expect an artist reinvigorated by a new label and a new album (“Two Lanes of Freedom”) on the second night of his Freedom Tour. With Brantley Gilbert and Love and Theft.

Capital Cities
8 p.m. Friday, May 3, Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $19.
The L.A. electro-pop duo wrote commercial jingles before joining forces to make bouncy, breezy dance tracks. Its “Dancing with Strangers” tour is its first North American headlining trek and leads up to its album’s release in June. With Gold Fields.

Peter Murphy
9 p.m. Friday, May 3, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $25/$75 VIP.
With the outcome of his recent arrest looming until later this month, the goth-father continues his celebration of 35 years of Bauhaus - the seminal late `70s/early `80s group he fronted and who recorded goth classics like “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” His set consists exclusively of Bauhaus’ material.

Carolina Rebellion
11 a.m. Saturday, 12 p.m. Sunday, May 4 and 5. Rock City Campgrounds, Charlotte Motor Speedway, 7301 Bruton Smith Blvd. $79.50 single day/$139 weekend pass (camping is additional).
The hard rock/metal fest is back in the Queen’s City with Saturday’s headliners Limp Bizkit, Deftones, and Alice in Chains and Sunday’s - Soundgarden, Bush, Rise Against - heading up a bill that also features In This Moment, Volbeat, Sevendust, All That Remains, Steel Panther, Buck Cherry, Three Days Grace, Papa Roach, Halestorm and many more.

Lyle Lovett
7:30 p.m. Monday, May 6, Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. $29.50-$124.50.
Tim McGraw isn’t the only former Curb Records artist in town this week who gleefully jumped ship. Texas songwriter Lovett ended his own 27-year association with the controversial country label with 2012’s not so subtle (mostly) covers collection, “Release Me.” He exercises newfound freedom on tour with his Acoustic Group.

7 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St. $20-$25.
The heavy blues-based rock band is high on grooves and renewed energy on its tenth album, “Earth Rocker.” The record is stacked with hard-charging, up-tempo numbers that promise to translate well live. With the Sword and Lionize.

Mickey Hart Band/African Showboyz
7 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, Neighborhood Theatre, 511. E. 36th St. $25-$30.
The Grammy winning Grateful Dead drummer weaves trippy world and electronic music with a style of rock that bridges the Dead and Peter Gabriel on his latest album, “Mysterium Tremendum.” His Worlds Within Tour hits on all points of his career and features show stopping guests the African Showboyz from Ghana.

The Joy Formidable
7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $18-$20.
With its second album, “Wolf’s Law,” the Welsh trio takes the buzz of its debut to the next level by creating a unique mix of Sabbath and Queen-like riffs, ethereal Lush-style vocals, a shoegazer-y wash of fuzz, Flaming Lips’ knack for invention, and plenty of memorable hooks. 

Ryan Bingham
8 p.m. Thursday, May 9, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $22.50-$25.
The Oscar winning country singer-songwriter hasn’t let awards (for his work in “Crazy Heart”) and mainstream associations dull his edge or temper the jagged twang of his sound. His electric guitar-driven latest album, “Tomorrowland” is his most rocking yet.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Shiprocked! pays homage to cult TV fave Thursday

The lyrics to the 'Pee Wee’s Playhouse' theme boast 'a nuttier establishment you’ve never seen.' The same could be said for Plaza-Midwood’s Snug Harbor at least every Thursday night for the last six years when the indie music vessel gets Shiprocked! The weekly counter culture dance party celebrates its sixth anniversary at Snug Harbor Thursday by turning the small bar/music venue into the `80s TV icon’s set with Shiprocked! Playhouse.

“We will be decorating the club with iconic set props from the Playhouse and the back patio will be carnival-esque a la ‘Big Top Pee Wee,’” explains DJ and Shiprocked! mastermind Scott Weaver (pictured above as Pee Weaver). “All of the dancers and performers will be costumed as the colorful cast of Playhouse characters, including Pee Wee - some with a Shiprocked-style, gender-bending twist.”

Shiprocked! regulars Bethann Phetamine and Cherry Von Bomb and Shirley Sweet will perform drag and burlesque, respectively. Wacky national touring party rapper Andy D. returns for a live performance as well.

It’s hard to think of a TV show that better fits a theme party than Paul Reubens’ Saturday morning cult hit where nearly every usually inanimate item in the house has a personality. That playhouse was so packed with characters - Chairry, Jambi, Captain Carl, Ms. Yvonne, the dinosaur family, Magic Screen, Globey, and the King of Cartoons. So grab your pigtails and Penny glasses or Large Marge flannel and join the party.

Entry is $3 and it’s age 21 and over. The first 100 partygoers get in free. For more info click here

NIN at new Asheville Fest; Moog moves to Spring

The new Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit in Asheville revealed its initial lineup Tuesday. Nine Inch Nails, Bassnectar, and Pretty Lights will headline the festival with Neutral Milk Hotel, who will curate an evening of music. The festival takes October 25-27 - the same Halloween weekend as the old Moog Fest, which recently announced new Spring dates. 

Other confirmed acts include Animal Collective, How to Destroy Angels (NIN leader Trent Reznor's other band), Gary Numan (the `80s hit "Cars"), God Speed You! Black Emperor, Chromatics, Disclosure, Tricky, Zola Jesus and JG Thirlwell, the Bug, Jessie Ware, Robert DeLong, Rustie, Bosnian Rainbows, Half Japanese, Jacques Greene, Daniel Johnston Bondax, and Silver Apples. More artists are expected to be announced. 

The festival is produced by Knoxville-based AC Entertainment - the folks behind the Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tennessee who, until recently, partnered with Asheville-based synthesizer maker Moog Music Inc. on the annual Moog Fest. 

AC and Moog parted ways resulting in two mountain electronic music festivals for Western North Carolina. Moog Fest, which celebrates deceased synthesizer inventor Bob Moog, announced that it will now be held April 25-27, 2014. Moog Fest will be co-produced with Detroit's Paxahau, who puts on the Detroit Jazzfest and Movement Electronic Music Festival. 

You can find out more information on both festivals online at and

(Photo of Trent Reznor courtesy of