Concert Preview

Concert Preview: Citizen with Narrow Head and Modern Color

There’s no better time to go to a show and listen to moody, angst-filled music than mid-to-late November, that sweet spot nestled right between midterms and finals where reality is at its most existentially crushing.

Cat’s Cradle, one of my favorite venues for its ease of parking *cough cough* Raleigh needs to do better *cough cough*, will be hosting a trio of excellent bands on Wednesday, November 15.

With a lineup consisting of Citizen, Narrow head and Modern Color, the night will be a sepia explosion of wrenching post-hardcore and shoegaze ballads.

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to slap on your used Carhartt jacket and favorite knitted beanie, this might be the perfect opportunity for you.


Michigan-based punk-rock-emo band Citizen has been hard at work, having released their most recent LP back in early October.

In celebration of this release, the band the US with Narrow Head and Modern Color (and will tour the EU with Drug Church) and will stop in North Carolina on the 15th.

If you’re not familiar with Citizen, they’ve got a classic summery sound that leans more in the direction of emo than punk and with distinct post-hardcore roots.

Cover for “Calling the Dogs” by Citizen

While I wouldn’t consider the music “moshable” per se, it’s definitely good music to nod your head to.

“Calling the Dogs,” Citizen’s latest LP, is a contemporary take on shoegaze and indie rock.

Consistently upbeat and occasionally beachy, the album is exactly the kind of music I’d imagine coastal hipsters drink IPAs to at bonfire get-togethers.

While the album only gives me subtle shoegaze or emo vibes, it’s an interesting representation of the band’s stylistic development since their early 2012 album “Split.”

Some of the LP’s tracks, like “Dogs,” take on a gritty post-punk slant akin to Viagra Boys. Others, like “If You’re Lonely,” lean more towards indie rock.

Narrow Head

Where Citizen’s music is fast and upbeat, Narrow Head traverses swirling rivers of molasses.

Slow, grungy and riddled with distortion, the music of Texas-based Narrow Head is an echo of the 90s in some places and a glimpse into an unseen future in others.

Cover for “Far Removed” by Narrow Head

With their most recent albums and LPs all having been released in the same year, 2020, it’s unclear where the band will be sourcing their setlist materials.

All that’s guaranteed is that the music will be perfectly smokelike, its hard rock edge blunted by the ambience of the concert hall.

Modern Color

I’ve mentioned Modern Color on this platform before.

Of the three performers at this show, I can guarantee Modern Color will be the moodiest.

Cover for “From the Leaves of Your Garden” by Modern Color

If their setlist pulls at all from their 2021 EP “Now, Life is Living You,” the audience will be transported by a swell of pure emotion — yearning, melancholy and other abstract feelings — as soon as the first song starts.

Based in California, Modern Color defines itself as alternative rock, post-hardcore and punk. While I see their discography as more post-punk than punk, there’s a strong post-hardcore influence throughout.

Of the three bands, I think Modern Color will bring the most raw energy to the stage and audience.

Concert Preview Local Music

November & December Local Shows

Hey y’all. Hope you’ve been keeping up with local shows in your neighborhoods wherever you’re from, and if you’re a part of the Triangle area, then I know there’s been a lot of great performances out here lately.

A couple months ago I made a post about shows in September in the area and I want to return to that style of post to update anyone that cares about interesting shows in the Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill area.

Chapel Hill:

  • Local 506 has a large number of upcoming shows including an “Emo(ish)” cover show on November 4th, Satan’s Satyrs w/ Magick Potion and The Magpie (a local band I’ve talked about before) opening for them on November 14th and Bask w/ Wailin’ Storms (a local band) on December 15th.
  • Cat’s Cradle (another indie music staple in the Triangle area) has Nation of Language performing on November 9th, Slaughter Beach, Dog plays on November 14th, Angel Olsen is making an appearance on December 9th and the first annual Holiday Hootenanny featuring Callous Daoboys, 68 and Johnny Booth on December 16th.


  • In Durham’s The Fruit, there are a number of musical and non-musical events happening like a monthly flea market on November 5th and December 3rd; there’s a 90’s Rave on November 18th; also, there’s Auntie Boy and Jooselord will be present on the same night (not sure how that works), but Jooselord is a local talent with tons of hype and fun.
  • The Pinhook also has many exciting musical talents and non-musical events like a Queer Movie Night featuring “Beetlejuice” and “To Wong Fu” on November 7th. Performing the next night is a Queer Country lineup with karaoke, line dancing and live music. Also, Rosie Tucker performs on November 13th.


  • And in Raleigh we have a few cool venues too. At The Ritz The Front Bottoms play on November 7th.
  • At Raleigh’s Pour House we have Crawford & Power (a lil’ country for ya) on November 12th, Late Notice and a slew of opening bands on November 16th and axelone w/ Max Gowan and Cor De Lux on November 27th.

Hope this light list of interesting performances can pique your interest. There are many bands and artists I’ve failed to mention, but these seemed the most interesting to me. Enjoy my bias.

Concert Preview

Screaming Females: Concert Preview 10/27

My excitement is immeasurable, and it’s all because I get to see one of my favorite bands of this year next week. Screaming Females will be in Durham on October 27 playing at Motorco Music Hall. They’ll be joined by Lip Critic as the opener.

Screaming Females hails from New Brunswick, NJ and they’ve been releasing music since their first album, “Baby Teeth“, in 2006. I think I started seriously listening to this band two years ago when I was making a funky, crunchy DJ set, and I haven’t been able to get enough of their sounds since.

Earlier this year, Screaming Females released their newest album “Desire Pathway“, which I have enjoyed so much over the past few months. The album’s well produced and now contains some of my favorite tracks they’ve made.

It opens with “Brass Bell“, a magnetic track featuring the lead singer’s, Marissa Paternoster, amazing voice and some of their most addictive guitar sounds from Paternoster as well.

Lately I’ve been listening to “Let Me Into Your Heart” on constant loop. It starts a little slower, but pucks up the pace, transforming into a rock n’ roll giant wall of sound.

I don’t know too much about Lip Critic, but their EP, “Kill Lip Critic“, is noisy and will be a perfect thing to get hot and sweaty to. The opening track destructs and builds momentum beautifully.

While y’all can probably see I’m brimming with excitement her, that doesn’t mean you can’t be too. As of writing this, there are tickets available to purchase for the show in Durham, which is only the first stop of a long Fall tour.

Band/Artist Profile Concert Preview

Concert Preview: Xiu Xiu

October is proving to be a great month for live shows.

In the aftermath of midterms week, I’ve been keeping an eye out for the local musical happenings. The latter half of this month promises an awesome assortment of live shows, some of which I may attend myself.

Among them is an upcoming performance by Xiu Xiu on October 19 at Kings.

What is Xiu Xiu?

Named after the 1998 Chinese drama film “Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl“, Xiu Xiu is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Jamie Stewart.

Xiu Xiu band member Jamie Stewart in Aarhus Denmark 2017, uploaded by Hreinn Gudlaugsson, licensed CC BY-SA 4.0

The band’s sound is esoteric and bleak, unspooling into sprawls of distortion. There’s a heavy air of pessimism and melancholy throughout, though with a more industrial (think Throbbing Gristle) than gothic slant.

Xiu Xiu hit the airwaves in 2002 with the release of “Knife Play,” an 11-track album of experimental desolation.

Stewart’s vocals are consistently plaintive, his lyrics blunt and sobering. The instrumental arrangement oscillates between rhythmically restrained — receding into the background amid simple drum beats — and wholly unleashed.

Jamie Stewart de Xiu Xiu, Adventures in Modern Music 2004, uploaded by Seth Tisue, licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

Xiu Xiu’s second album, the 2003 release “A Promise,” also contributed to the band’s acclaim.

Produced in the aftermath of the death of Stewart’s father, “A Promise” can be interpreted as a depiction of personal despair.

Xiu Xiu went on to release 11 more studio albums as well as three cover albums, two compilations and two EPs.

Their most recent release, the 2023 album “Ignore Grief,” will likely feature in their upcoming performance.

While I haven’t had the chance to peruse the entire album, what I’ve listened to thus far has been nothing short of chilling.

There’s a dark, borderline obsessive cynicism in this album; an ice-cold horror slant that rings perfect for the bittersweetness of October.

Band/Artist Profile Concert Preview

Concert Preview: Deeper/Godcaster

As we near the halfway point of the fall semester, — some of us walking, some of us lumbering like wounded animals — the necessity for distraction and/or stimulation abounds.

For me personally, the monotony of the daily grind (waking up at 7 a.m., riding the Wolfline, walking to class, rinse and repeat) compounds in a strong desire to Go To Shows.

Photo by Evgeniy Smersh on Unsplash

The biggest challenge for the average show-goer (aside from a litany of counfounding variables surrounding money, transportation and our ongoing(?) public health crisis) is knowing when and where shows are happening.

As somebody who has missed several shows already this year, I’m choosing to use my platform for the public good.

This upcoming Saturday (September 30), rock bands Godcaster and Deeper are playing live at Durham’s Pinhook at 7:00 p.m.

Where will you find yourself this weekend?


Godcaster is an art rock sextet based in Brooklyn, New York.

As part of their ongoing “Like a Heartache in Your Head” American tour, they’ll be making a stop in Durham this Saturday.

How can one best describe the sound of Godcaster? The band has breadth, spanning a wide range of sounds and sensations across their discography.

Cover for “Long Haired Locusts” by Godcaster

Comparable to Black Midi, Godcaster delivers tracks ranging from saccharine sweetness to guttural fervor, pivoting between energies with dizzying abruptness.

While some Godcaster songs inspire visions of sprawling meadows and fawns drinking from babbling brooks, others pass by in a whirlwind of dionysian frenzy.


Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Deeper is an idyllic post-punk band sounding straight out of the garage.

My first encounter with the band came back in 2020 with their album “Auto-Pain.”

Cover for “Auto-Pain” by Deeper

Oscillating between the realms of indie rock and post-punk, “Auto-Pain” is a great place to start exploring the band’s discography.

Charmingly youthful and upbeat, Deeper’s music paints a vast mural of pleasing rhythms and beats that fill the chest like bees in a hive.

Final Thoughts

I’ll be dragging my baby brother to this gig on Saturday (so expect a concert review in these next few weeks) as part of my plan to help him speed run his “pretentious music boy” phase.

Whether or not this is possible remains to be seen.

But I’m excited for the opportunity to share this experience with him and to, for just a couple hours, fill my brain with jilting guitar instead of academic journals.

Keep an eye out for more concert previews, which I will be hopefully releasing in a more timely manner than this one.

Blog Concert Preview Festival Coverage Local Music Miscellaneous

Hopscotch – This or That: Main Stage Guide

Promotional logo for Hopscotch music festival 2023, including date and location of the event.

It’s that time of year again, when thousands of music-lovers take to the streets of Raleigh to vibe with some seriously class acts, whatever the weather. Yes, 13 years after its debut, Hopscotch Music Festival is back (Sep. 7-9), with main stages at Moore Square and City Plaza, and dozens of stellar acts across the city.

With over 120 acts performing, even the choosiest of playlist-makers can find something to enjoy over the three day event. From rock to rap, post-punk to country, indie, folk, and more, diversity and inclusivity is truly the name of the game.

However, as with every festival lineup worth its salt, a dilemma lies in the inability to put oneself in more than one place at a time. City Plaza and Moore Square are only half a mile apart, but those steps rack up quickly if you’re planning on trekking back and forth between every few sets.

While the truly determined festival-goer could yo-yo between main stages and catch every set, the best intentions don’t always pan, out so it’s best to know your must-sees in advance. To help plan your musical voyage, here’s a look at the main stage lineups:

Thursday (Sep. 7)

Smooth Haze vs. Alt. Edge

Moore Square:

On Thursday afternoon, Moore Square opens the festival with a mellow haze of rock, jazz and psychedelics. A trio meant to be, Sam Evian, Mild High Club and King Krule embody that chill, late summer, “almost the weekend” feeling.

City Plaza:

Summer is also ending over at City Plaza, but with a bit of an edge, as brooding, post-punk takes the stage with Raleigh’s own Truth Club, followed by similar hints of angst from alt-rock groups, Palm, and Alvvays. Late-90s icons, Pavement, follow suit, closing the alt-rock set in style.

Friday (Sep. 8)

Urban vs. Country

Moore Square:

All things country take the stage on Friday at Moore Square. Sunny War brings modern folk-blues, and Neon Union epitomizes that all-American country sound. Cut Worms and Margo Price add pop and rock slants to the genre respectively, with a singer-songwriter angle.

City Plaza:

Raleigh native, Pat Junior, leads the urban parallel happening at City Plaza. TiaCorine builds on Pat Junior’s pure, simple, rhythm and flow with dreamy beats, while Digable Planets bring retro to the party in the style of 90s hip-hop and jazz. Rapper, Denzel Curry, completes the lineup with his signature emotional style.

Saturday (Sep. 9):

Emo vs. Indie

Moore Square:

Saturday is the host with the most with both main stages kicking off at at an earlier time of around 1pm. Max Gowan play emo, indie tunes to his hometown at Moore Square, before Quasi picks up the pace a little with alt-rock, indie hits. 90s emo heavyweights, American Football define the emo mood of the set with electric guitars and pining vocals.

Things get louder when Sunny Day Real Estate introduce prog rock energy to the lineup, and alt-rock, genre-changing, Dinosaur Jr. round off the set.

City Plaza:

Singer-songwriters start Saturday at City Plaza, with the soft vocals of Chessa Rich and the country twang of Florry. Anjimile adds a hint of melancholy to the mood, before ESG shake things up with post-punk and house.

Singer-songwriter, Soccer Mommy, brings rock and gentle vocals to the set, before the dreamy vocals and beats of indie sensations, Japanese Breakfast, close the festival.

More Info:

Having a better idea of the headliners might make planning a little easier, but with acts like these and almost 100 others playing smaller venues across the city, deciding where to be might just take a little more time. Check out the official website, Instagram, Facebook, X (f.k.a. Twitter) and the official Hopscotch app for more information on the lineup and the latest event updates to best Hopscotch your way around Raleigh next week.

Band/Artist Profile Concert Preview

Max Gowan Artist Profile + Hopscotch 2023 Performance Info

About the artist

Max Gowan is a North Carolina based artist who has released six solo albums. He has also worked behind the scenes filling a multitude of roles in the music production process for other artists.

This collaborative process has become a large part of his musical work. He has been credited on albums by groups and artists including fuvk, Infinity Crush, Laptop Funeral, and computer science. More about his work in Mixing, Mastering and Audio editing can be found on his website.

Solo Work and Production Attitudes

The best parts of Gowan’s recorded music would arguably be its unique atmosphere and sonic nuance. These qualities are a product of the artist’s attention towards each track in the arrangement/recording process.

In an interview with Max Gowan for the WKNC 88.1 FM podcast “Off the Record”, the artist explained,

“Technically I guess you could call my music singer songwriter, but it’s very focused on instrumentals. I am big into riffs if you will.”

Listen to the “Off the Record” here on

This focus on creating interesting instrumentals is not just limited to the guitar. Rather, it is omnipresent in his recorded music. One of my favorite examples of his intriguing instrumentals would be the percussion on his track “Bad Breeze” off his 2017 album Far Corners.  

The percussion consists mostly of a single looping sample that seems to be a recording of a single flexible object smacking against a surface.

The combination of the sound’s unique timbre, omnipresence and rhythm is uniquely alluring and strangely calming. During the song’s choruses, additional layers of percussion are added to create nuance in an otherwise consistent atmosphere created by the looping sample.

The unusual sound persists throughout the entire track until the fade out of the song begins.

Gowan’s focus on instrumentals has led to the creation of recorded music that is interesting and complex while remaining pleasing to the ear.

Hopscotch 2023 Performance

Max Gowan will be performing in Raleigh, North Carolina during Hopscotch Music Festival on September 9, 2023 at Moore Square. More information about the festival can be found on the festival’s website.

-Daniel Turk

Concert Preview Miscellaneous

K-Pop Bash at Ruby Deluxe

I’ll be the first to admit I had a K-Pop phase– my “kpoop” playlist remains a staple of my Spotify profile even though I’m no longer trading photocards of my favorite idols. K-Pop is ever-growing and the fanbase of the many groups that make up the genre is only getting bigger.

There’s a lot of opportunities for K-Pop fans to interact with music and communities online, but due to the global reach of many K-Pop groups, opportunities to see favorite artists are few and far between and are usually only found in big cities with expensive, nosebleed-seat tickets.

Citizens of Raleigh– fear not! K-Pop is coming to Ruby Deluxe in the form of a K-Pop Bash being put on by local DJ and music producer Rusty later this month. I asked Rusty a few questions about his event to get some information about what to expect for this first-of-its-kind event.

What is the K-Pop Bash?

“K-Pop Bash is a brand new monthly event that I’m hoping to expand in North Carolina. Our aim is to bring a K-pop filled night to fans while providing a safe space while dancing their favorite music, and meeting new people.”

Who are some of the artists you’ll be playing?

“A few of the artists we’re going to play are groups like BTS, Blackpink, Seventeen, NewJeans, TXT, NCT 127 and Twice. Honestly, there’s so many groups we’re hoping to play, I hope people come and find new songs and groups to enjoy. I personally enjoy finding hidden gems within the genre.”

Will this be a regular/monthly event?

“The aim is to make this a monthly event, so I’ve been working on getting an event booked for each month. July 20th is our first and we have another one in August, which we’ll announce a bit later.” 

What are you most excited about for the Bash?

“The thing I’m most excited for is seeing how this event can grow. These kinds of events really only happen because of community and so far I’ve been amazed out how excited everyone is for this kind of event.”

The K-Pop Bash will take place at Ruby Deluxe in Raleigh, July 20 at 10 p.m. More information about the event can be found at this link. If you’ve wanted to have a BTS dance party somewhere other than your own bedroom, now’s a great chance.


Concert Preview

Concert Preview: Joyce Manor & Teens in Trouble

Joyce Manor is a pop punk band from Torrance, California.

I was 14 or so when I was first introduced to Joyce Manor by someone I probably considered cooler than me. Their 2016 album “Cody” was the first new album from the band that I was able to listen to as the singles dropped and I’ve considered it to be one of my favorite albums since then.

Joyce Manor will be at Cat’s Cradle with Teens in Trouble on June 26 as a small pit stop on their tour with Weezer. Tickets are currently being sold for $25, and more show info and ticket access can be found at the Cat’s Cradle website.

Joyce Manor

Joyce Manor’s most recent release was their album “40 oz. to Fresno” in 2022. Their most popular album, according to Spotify and the many Joyce Manor fans in my life, is “Never Hungover Again,” released in 2014 on Epitaph Records.

Joyce Manor has performed at the Cradle a number of times, including touring with Jeff Rosenstock and Modern Baseball. Their music is punchy and punky without crossing the bridge over to hardcore or pure punk. It’s like the type of punk that might be palatable to a larger audience, but still not everyone– essentially, pop punk.

Vocalist Barry Johnson has a trademark voice that sounds a bit like screaming without any of the vocal violence of screamo. It’s part of what makes the group so special, because they’re able to maintain a signature sound without becoming repetitive.

Teens in Trouble

Teens in Trouble is a WKNC favorite, especially after Double Barrel Benefit 19 earlier this year when they joined us for our annual fundraiser at Kings Raleigh.

Teens in Trouble is the perfect opener for Joyce Manor, because they’ve got indie rock to offer that is easily enjoyable without sacrificing inventiveness.

Vocalist and frontwoman Lizzie Killian described her band’s sound as “fuzzed out indie rock for dog people,” which is kind of a perfect descriptor. Reminiscient of music from Remo Drive and The Beths, Teens in Trouble should be a great opener for the show at the Cradle and will undoubtedly hype the crowd up before headliner Joyce Manor plays their set.

See you at the show!

— bel$

Band/Artist Profile Concert Preview

Phoneboy Concert Preview

Phoneboy is a three piece indie pop band from New Jersey. 

Their discography is toe tapping and inescapably danceable. High energy and radiantly positive, this band provide a youthful optimism to the music world. 

With much enthusiasm, Phoneboy is currently on tour and is coming to North Carolina on Tuesday Mar. 28 at Cat’s Cradle Back Room. Tickets are currently being sold for $18. For more show information and tickets, you can visit the Cat’s Cradle website.

Brief History and Successes

Emerging in 2018, this band was an instant internet success. In an interview with The Stute Magazine, band member Ricky Dana recalls the release day of their first single “Acid Girl”,

“I remember looking at my Instagram stories and seeing the whole thing was the color of pink and red because everyone was posting it. It was crazy. Friends from home, people from our fraternity. If we didn’t have that support, it wouldn’t have gone anywhere or gotten that exposure at all,”

gloss red mannequin in white sweatshirt with red background
“Acid Girl” single cover art by Phoneboy

From their immediate success, they have continued to gain traction. Their 2021 self-titled album “Phoneboy” greatly contributed to their momentum.

Tracks “1987”, “Hey, Kid!” and “Nevermind (feat. Justin Magnaye)” are just three of the many popular songs off the release. It is easy to hear why Phoneboy is such an immediate success– from one listen there is an instant feeling of positivity.

Phoneboy makes music that sounds like candy. It is sweet, stark and begs for another listen. This is especially apparent in track “1987”, it’s incredibly wholesome and bright. From backing guitar, drums and lyrics, this song effortlessly evokes a feeling of a happy summer day.

The positive energy heard throughout their discography will undoubtedly seep onto the stage.

Latest Releases

In their latest singles, “Ferrari” and “Runaway”, they hold onto a childlike, careless energy.

In an interview with Sweety High Magazine Phoneboy elaborates on the inspiration for the newest releases:

“‘Ferrari’ represents the lack of responsibility we had when we were teenagers, and how much we took that freedom for granted. We hope any kids that are transitioning into adulthood and feel like they’re drowning can listen to this track and feel a little bit less alone.”

In many ways this theme of childhood and freedom connects their entire discography. To be in the moment without impeding responsibilities.

“Ferrari” Music Video by Phoneboy

Although much of their discography has genuine themes and deeper meanings– It’s clear they don’t take themselves too seriously and they have a good time making their music.

They make music to evoke a good time away from the stress and screens of daily life, and they succeed in this goal without any bells or whistles.

“Runaway” Music Video by Phoneboy

This carefree energy is very clear in their newest music videos and cover art. I’m excited to see how the personalities seen in the videos and heard in the music translate to a live stage.

Concluding Thoughts

It goes without saying the Phoneboy concert will have fun, positive energy.

The core purpose of their music is to encourage the listener to be in the moment and live a little more carefree– I am excited to see and hear how they promote this purpose on stage.

Regardless, it will be a great event to get away from attention hording phones and dance the night away. See you at the show.