Being from Florida, summertime is my favorite time. I love it when it gets so hot and muggy that even the mosquitoes can’t fly and your only refuge is a piece of watermelon, an ice-cold beverage and the music in front of you.
My three favorite outdoor venues in the Triangle allow picnics and sell all of the best local brews. Read on for summer shows to look out for at The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA), Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and American Tobacco.
North Carolina Museum of Art:
Located on Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh, NCMA has the largest concert arena of any art museum in the country and as such can bring brings some of the best acts around. I had the opportunity to see Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Lucinda Williams, and Gillian Welch there last summer.
Summer 2012, NCMA brings us:
AfroCubism: June 10
If you like Buena Vista Social Club, Malain music, and awesome beats, check this show out.
At 89, Doc Watson can still tear up a guitar. If you haven’t heard of Doc Watson but love old-timey music and all things bluegrassy and folk, don’t miss this chance to see one of the trailblazers of this genre.
Through a collaboration with Cat’s Cradle, indie folk master Andrew Bird will whistle the night away with rhythm and blues goddess Mavis Staples.
Neko Case: July 14
I’ve never seen this woman perform solo, but I had the chance to see her with The New Pornographers a few summers ago. Her voice is everything female vocals should be.
More shows listed later in the summer and further information is available here. Be sure to listen to WKNC all summer, as we usually do a considerable amount of giveaways for these shows. Tickets for these shows range from $15-35, with a discount for children and a prime seating location for members. Parking can be tough: I suggest either arriving early or parking in one of the administrative buildings slightly up Blue Ridge. Get to these shows early so you can spread out your picnic blanket, grab a bottle of wine (sold at the venue) and enjoy the evening.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens:
Located in the heart of Duke’s West Campus, Duke Gardens is a spectacle in itself. 55-acres of native and non-native plants provide the perfect backdrop (and aroma) for the summer concert series. Doors (gates?) open at 6:30, so be sure to set up early behind the Visitor’s Center. I’ve never had the chance to come to one of these shows, but as I’ll be living less than 3 miles away this summer, they’ll have to pry me away. All of the artists presented here are local indie acts.
The Beast + Big Band: June 6
Local hip-hop infused with jazz.
The Old Ceremony: June 13
Indie rock bordering “dad rock,” but in a good way.
Dex Romweber and the New Romans: June 21
I love this description from Independently Weekly, “noir-tinged Americana”
Bombadil: June 27
Rolling indie rock infused with folk, teddy bears, and a bit of sorrow
Mandolin Orange: July 11
One of the best duos around, keeping traditional folk alive with modern inspiration
Midtown Dickens: July 18
Playful and thoughtful, their music makes you literally sing along “this is the best summer ever”
Megafaun: July 25
Do I need to describe these guys? Experimental folk with deep themes and beards.
More information about the shows and tickets is available here. Tickets are $12, with a $5 discounted price for Duke employees and students. There is a cafe on site selling full meals, snacks, wine, and beer. You’ll find me sneaking in some watermelon slices and lemonade. Parking is available after 5 p.m. for free in the Garden Lots. Be careful with parking outside of the garden; Campus Police will get ya!
Located next to WUNC in the American Tobacco Campus, this venue is secluded with restaurants and shops on all sides and arranged perfectly for concerts. The audience is separated from the band by a moat, which keeps the ravenous fan girls like me off banjo players like Chatham County Line’s Chandler Holt. It also sets the stage, literally, with the babbling of water and a home-town feel as the band plays under the water tower. Like the other venues presented here, they are very family friendly and allow for picnics and serve all of the best beverages.
I saw these guys at Shakori Hills and it was like watching the history of Blues before your eyes.
Tony Rice Unit: May 18
Traditional bluegrass, performed immaculately.
Adam Hurt, Stephanie Coleman, and Beth Williams Hartness
Bluegrass trio, with bits of loose mountain music
Pops for Pops: June 17
What better way to celebrate Father’s day than with jazz of all kinds. Durham Jazz Orchestra and Durham Community Concert Band will play all night.
Lizzy Ross Band: June 22
This girl can sing. She is a cute, young musician who can belt out some of jazziest, smoothest music out there. Her band provides a full Americana, folk rock inspired set.
A 13-piece band full of funk, rhythm, and blues.
Don’t expect Carolina Chocolate Drops sound. Former Drop, Robinson, is experimenting with his musical style with this ethereal genre-break band.
John Howie Jr. and the Rosewood Bluff: August 10
Honky-tonk Americana with an occasional rock-kick.outdoor
For show listings after August 10 and more information, go here. Sponsored in part of by Back Porch Music, all of these shows are family friendly acts with their mind to roots music. All of these shows, unless otherwise noted, are free. There are great restaurants surround the venue and Whole Foods usually sets up a table selling fresh dinners. I usually end up bringing my own snacks, but end up buying a locopop.
Phew. There is a lot going on this summer and I hope that this has helped you formulate a plan of action for shows to see. Did I miss any awesome outdoor venues? Comment with your favorites and maybe I’ll blog about those shows as well!
by DJ Ones on Jan.15, 2011, under Daytime
2. Tom Waits will be teaming up with his record label Anti- to release a poem that Waits wrote in conjunction with a collection of images of homeless individuals by photojournalist Michael O’Brien. The work, which will be released on February 22, will have all of the proceeds go towards helping Redwood Food Bank, Sonoma County’s Homeless Referral Services, and Family Support Center supported through Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa. (via NME)
3. The car that is present on Neko Case’s amazing Middle Cyclone will be auctioned off for charity. The proceeds from the auction of the 1967 Mercury Cougar will be supporting 826 National; a non-profit that provides writing classes for children. (via Nekocase.com)
4. On January 18, Canadian rock outfit Broken Social Scene are set to perform a live concert in New York that will be streamed on Youtube. The event will start at 9 pm EST via Bowery Presents’ Youtube channel. (via BoweryPresents)
5. It has been almost 3 years since The Kills‘ last release, but that will come to an end this year as they put out the follow-up to 2008′s Midnight Boom. The album, titled Blood Pressures, will be released April 5. (via thekills.tv)
It looks like Neko Case will be bringing her brand of country-rock mixed with a mind-blowingly good voice to the Joseph M. Byron, Jr. Theater at the North Carolina Museum of Art later this summer. The show will take place Thursday, August 19 at 8 p.m. with doors at 7 and local orchestral-folk group Lost In The Trees opening. Tickets for the show are available here and you can check out the remaining summer concerts on the Museum’s schedule here.
Despite the dearth of good things on UNC’s campus, Memorial Hall put on a spectacular show Friday, June 25. The Dutchess and the Duke and Dodos opened for the super group New Pornographers in a jaw-dropping concert.
The Dutchess and the Duke were joined by another member due to an accident with a food processor leaving the lead guitarist wounded. They played a set of strong folk rock with heavy vocals and light percussion.
I had been told that Dodos do not put on a good live show, but after their performance Friday, I beg to differ. These three guys—Meric Long, Logan Kroeber, and Keaton Snyder—played a percussion-filled set of their high-energy songs mainly off albums Visitor and Time to Die. They were obviously quite tired from traveling on tour for the past two weeks, for their between-song banter was admittedly lackluster, but, luckily, this did not carry over to their music. Fellow DJ Sarah-nade enjoyed the vibraphone, which we found added a deeper sound to the music.
I don’t need to tell you how amazing the New Pornographers are. You’re probably singing your favorite New Pornographers’ song in your head right now (mine is Myriad Harbour). The acoustics in Memorial Hall worked perfectly with the sound emanating from A.C. Newman’s guitar, Neko Case and Kathryn Calder’s beautiful voices, and all musicians making up this Canadian super group. As we listened, I pictured colorful threads of sound coming together to form one beautiful tapestry. They played a great set, starting off with “Sing Me Spanish Techno” and kept the energy high with “Myriad Harbor” and songs off their new album, Together, like “Your Hands” and “Crash Years.” They played songs off almost all of their five albums.
by DJ Ones on Dec.20, 2009, under Daytime
The year 2009 has undoubtedly been a fantastic one for music, from the techno tones and spaced out beats of Animal Collective’s “Merriwether Post Pavilion” to the satisfying and deep “Tarpits and Canyonlands” from Bombadil. We were moved by new albums by old favorites like in Yeah Yeah Yeahs “It’s Blitz” and we were introduced to new acts that leave us wanting more like in Florence and the Machine’s beautiful “Lungs.” After knowing the huge amount of great releases that this year has left us with, I asked the daytime DJs at WKNC to complete a job that’s a lot easier said than done. Below is a list of the top five albums as completed by many of the DJs you know and love. Enjoy!
DJ Danger Tape
DJ Elly May
1. Luego – Taped-together Stories
2. Jerry Fish & The Mudbug Club – The Beautiful Untrue
3. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below
4. Lonnie Walker – These Times Old Times
5. Gossip – Music For Men
1. Regina Spektor – Far
2. Passion Pit – Manners
3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- It’s Blitz
4. The Temper Trap – Conditions
5. You and Your Effects – Wire Sharks/Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard – One Fast Move Or I’m Gone
DJ Matticus Rex
1. Bombadil – Tarpits & Canyonlands
2. Cotton Jones - Paranoid Cocoon
3. Megafaun – Gather, Form, & Fly
4. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains
5. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below
1. Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns
2. Brazos – Phosphorescent Blues
3. Here We Go Magic – Here We Go Magic
4. Grouper – Cover the Windows and the Walls
5. The Low Anthem – Oh My God Charlie Darwin
Schooner band members Maria Albani and Reid Johnson have shared their top 10 track lists this week.
5. Clapping Yer Hands (ooh la Yeah)- Waumiss
6. She Cracked – The Modern Lovers