Concert Review

Fridays on the Lawn 4 a resounding success

If you weren’t able to make it to Harris Field last Friday, then you missed out. In retrospect, the phrase “weather permitting” would have been grossly inappropriate.  (Well, the main reason for this is that had the weather been iffy,  the show would have moved to the Wolves’ Den, but what I mean to say is that the weather was as close to perfect as it gets.)
Chapel Hill trio Aminal took the stage first, a little after 6:30.  Just as expected, they proved true to form and lit the place up, and gained a couple hundred fans in the process.  Raleigh quintet Bright Young Things (who, by way of interest, features three NC State grads) finished the night off in grand fashion to an appreciative crowd and a pretty sweet sunset.
This show was the fourth installment of what will hopefully be a long line of many free on-campus concerts presented by the NC State Union Activities Board, the Inter Residence Council, and WKNC.

All photos were taken by Technician photographer Jordan Moore.

Concert Review

The Temper Trap puts crowd in a “Sweet Disposition”

This past Thursday, Cat’s Cradle was hosted two international bands, bringing in a large crowd.

The Kissaway Trail, a five-piece band from Denmark, started off the night. They made an effort to involve the crowd, especially in songs such as “SDP,” which is available for free download on Facebook. The band is set to release its album, “Sleep Mountain,” on April 20.

Photos Copyright Graham Bruns 2010

Austrailian band The Temper Trap- followed their set with a musical-like performance. Each song flowed right into the next, including favorites like “Fools,” “Down River,” and of course, “Sweet Disposition.”

The highlight of the performance was “Drum Song.”  The band jammed out and danced around, as did the crowd. Dougie, the vocalist, poured water on a floor tom and whailed out on it. With the changing lights behind him, it created an awesome visual to finish off the song.

The band finished off the night with an encore performance of “Science of Fear,” featured on the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack.

Concert Review

The Revival returns to Raleigh

This past Thursday, two amazing bands teamed up for a night of sheer entertainment in downtown Raleigh.

Sol Driven Train, a band from South Carolina opened up the evening on a rather unexpected tone – it appeared to be ska.  Yes, there was a trombone and a baritone sax, and both had very talented musicians attached to them!  I had wondered where ska had disappeared to in the past decade or so and was pleased to hear something familiar, but then the next song came and then the next…  It was ska, then blues, then Johny Carter-esque country, then something with a Latin feel, and the set finished with a near-ten-minute percussion finale in which every member of the band took to a drum for an all out battle of the beats.  I was utterly blown away.   How could the night have possibly gotten any better?

I have four words for you –  Holy Ghost Tent Revival.  Imagine if you can for a moment ragtime, bluegrass, and indie rock having a private party in a French Quarter hotel while your grandma’s gospel choir watched in horror through the keyhole.  The music makes you want to dance and sing, hands over your head, heels kicked up, shoes off without caring who sees.  Actually, if you were there, you might’ve seen me, but that’s beside the point – It seemed as if the walls actually pulsed with the banging rhythms of the banjo and the wailing combination of the horns and the harmonized vocals made the glass in the windows tremble.  New songs were on hand, and it’s clear that not only is the Greensboro-based group gaining melodic momentum, their writing is more interesting and creative than ever.

I was already a fan of Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and I think I become an even bigger fan each time I see them.  They’re certainly an act not to be missed, and I was fortunate enough this time to catch them with an opening act who certainly held their own.

Concert Review Local Music

LBLB Photos from April 8

Last Year’s Men

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

The Temperance League

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Concert Review

Major Lazer + Rusko + Sleigh Bells = dance party

Major Lazer’s North Carolina tour stop this past Tuesday at Cat’s Cradle proved to be one sweaty, non-stop dance party.

Sleigh Bells opened the show with a mix of loud, distorted guitar, blasted beats, and the yelping, chanting vocals of singer Alexis Krauss. The duo did a fine job warming up the crowd for what was to be a night of non-stop dancing and mayhem. They played a mix of blog favorites including as “A/B Machines” and “Crown on the Ground” and new tracks likely to appear on their debut album due out later this year.

Immediately after Sleigh Bells closed out their set, British dubstep artist Rusko took the stage to the sounds of a bass-maxed-out version of Petey Pablo’s “Raise Up”. From there, he cruised through crowd-pleasing remixes of Kid Cudi’s “Day ‘n’ Nite” and Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek”, in addition to original tracks such as “Woo Boost” and the Tupac-sampling “Da Cali Anthem”.

Following a brief intermission at the end of Rusko’s set, Major Lazer main men Diplo and Switch took to a table of CDJ’s and laptops at the back of the stage. The lazer lights came on and the party wouldn’t let up for another hour-plus. With hype-man/MC Skerrit Bwoy bouncing around the stage in his colorful mohawk and a bikini-clad dancer pulling moves that looked like something a gymnast might do in a strip club, the crowd went absolutely insane. People were bouncing. People were dancing. The whole crowd was swaying. Foam lazer-guns were thrown into the crowd. As the duo mixed their way effortlessly from Major Lazer hits “Pon De Floor” and “Keep It Goin’ Louder” into tracks they’ve produced individually, Skerrit Bwoy and the dancer took to pulling off moves straight out of the “Pon De Floor” video (warning: NSFW). The chemistry between the two was obvious, both wearing ear-to-ear grins the entire time.

I had heard that the show was supposed to run until 2 a.m., but was cut short after a guy fell and busted his head open , which was evident due to the pool of blood near the back of the room. Regardless of whether or not the show was supposed to go on for another two hours or not, Major Lazer brought what is likely to be one of the best-remembered dance parties the Cradle has ever seen.

Concert Review

The Big Pink rock Cat’s Cradle

After winning an NME award last month, The Big Pink embarked on their North American tour, and were so kind as to give Carrboro’s own, Cat’s Cradle, a visit.

Playing tracks off of their latest album “A Brief History of Love” the band started off their set with fuzzy synthesizer and heavy guitar tracks.

Without taking any breaks the band went from one excellent track to the next. Their high energy intro included such songs as “Too Young to Love” and “At War With the Sun.”

The band then transitioned to slower songs from their latest release. The crowd enjoyed songs like “Velvet,” “Crystal Visions,” and “Love in Vain.”

As the set progressed they eventually started to take a break to thank the audience. At one point during the set he said he felt so much love in the room he wanted to “Fuck out all of our brains.”

The band then gave a special treat to the audience by playing some new songs that have yet to be released. Easily the highlight of DJ Ones’ night was drummer Akiko Matsurra and Milo Cordell, whom both played amazingly.

The band finished off an already amazing set with their hit song “Dominoes” which had the packed Cat’s Cradle jumping unlike ever before. The highlight of the night for DJ Mollypop came when the energy that had been building and flowing throughout the venue during the set reached its ultimate zenith during “Dominoes." All in all, The Big Pink put on an amazing set which featured some of their best tracks, and tracks we’ve never heard before. For the fans of The Big Pink, these guys are a great to see live!

Concert Review Local Music

LBLB Photos from April 1

The Height

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Nuclear Power Pants

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Lonnie Walker

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Concert Review

The Road Went On Forever…

…and that party, it still hasn’t ended.

Oh, listeners of Americana Blues & Co – you know how I love me some Robert Earl Keen.  The man was back in town, hitting the Lincoln to play for the usual crowd of drunks, fun-lovers, and good-time aficionados.  In fact, it appears the NCSU student body president Jim Ceresnak is a fan.  I didn’t know he was right behind me until my helpful brother informed me after the show.

But, on to the show!

Sons of Bill opened up and, like last November, showed that they can hold their own.

These are a group of good ol’ boys from Virginia with a sound that pulls together influence from outlaw country with a dose of Gram Parsons.

When REK and his band came on stage, the audience was in for a big surprise.  They played a lineup of lesser-known, lesser-played songs.  The people expecting him to tear through No. 2 Live Dinner looked a little confused and certainly didn’t know the words, but some (like me) were thrilled to hear some favorites that we thought we’d never hear live.  (Mine is “The Raven and the Coyote,” by the by.)

The best part of a Keen show, in my opinion, is just letting go and having fun.  This is a band of seasoned pros who know how to put on an excellent show.  Next time you’re in town, give ‘em a try.  I know I’ll be there.

Concert Review

Didn’t make it to ULTRA? Neither did I…

After a 12-hour driving marathon from Raleigh to Miami, my heart was broken to find that due to forces beyond my control, I wasn’t going to make it to Ultra. What is Ultra? Ultra is one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world. Attracting huge names like Benny Benassi, Crystal Method, Infected Mushroom, Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold, ATB, Groove Armada, Eric Prydz, Orbital, LMFAO, and more. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed about not being able to go. Well, not for long…

You see, when you get hundreds of great DJs together in a city like Miami, something wonderful and magical happens in a certain place that you would normally never find me – clubs. With these DJs in town, clubs suddenly have access to some of the best DJs around who play some of the greatest music you will ever hear. I’ve picked out a few shows that I really enjoyed and thought would be worth sharing.

One of the first shows I attended featured the duo of Armand Van Helden and A-Trak. Together, known as Duck Sauce. These guys complemented each other’s style perfectly. Their set began with a solid beat that you could feel and easily move your body to. It featured the typical funky house music with a kick of groovy disco and just a dash of hard hitting bass. I felt like there was a little bit of back and forth between the two DJ’s styles but the songs were mixed together so well it was hard to tell. The rest of the night kept the theme of electronic house with alternating DJ’s. I enjoyed this show more than I thought I would considering I’m not the biggest house fan.

Another show I attended featured Annie Mac and DJ Mehdi. Annie Mac has a show on BBC Radio 1 which makes her pretty much a big deal. The bar was set high, and she did not fail to disappoint. The mixes between songs and genres that she had in her set kept the audience thoroughly energized and entertained. She didn’t leave a song on for too long or too little- she somehow always found the perfect balance that kept the movement of the entire set moving fluidly. Furthermore, she managed to get sounds from house to dub step to disco to mix together in a way that kept everything from getting boring or too repetitive. I think I love her.

Below is video of her dub step segment found on Youtube.

DJ Mehdi is a personal favorite of mine so I was pretty excited to see him live. His performance did not fail to disappoint me either. He ended up trading off between some other DJs throughout the night but when I did catch him tearing up the boards, it was typical Mehdi. He had the fantastic funky hip hop with some great clean sounding synths that kept an amazing upbeat feeling that I’ve grown so fond of.

Below is a video from youtube of a portion of his set:

Despite the fact that I didn’t get to attend the almighty ULTRA Music Festival, I still was able to have an amazing time being blasted by electronic music from fantastic DJs. But most importantly, I was exposed to an entirely new atmosphere that you just can’t get in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. Seeing DJs of this caliber live is something that has to be done by an electronic fan at least once in their life. To see the energy that a good DJ can bring out of a crowd is amazing, to feel the 25 ft speaker bass humming through your body is face melting, and to be a part of the entire movement of energy that flows through the entire venue from DJ to music to audience back to DJ is almost spiritual.  That’s something you just can’t get from those white iPod ear-buds.

Concert Review

Deerhunter puts on an interactive show at the Cradle

As Bradford Cox took the stage to set up his equipment Sunday night cheers roared from a packed house. Cox’s grins spread from ear to ear.  Deerhunter headlined the Cat’s Cradle Sunday night as a side show from their current tour with Spoon. They used this occasion to explore some new songs, play some older ones, and generally just have fun.

Deerhunter opened up with Cryptograms from their 2007 album of the same title.  This was followed by two new songs, one of which was sung by lead guitarist Lockett Pundt.  Overall, the band played well.  They fed off the excited crowds energy for uppers like Hazel St. and Nothing Ever Happened, then eventually winded down gracefully for Calvary Scars.

The highlight of the show was in the final song of the set.  Halfway through Agoraphobia, Cox grabbed a youngster from the audience and brought him on stage to play to tambourine with the band.  This began what would probably be one of the most memorable shows this fan will ever have.  From playing with the band, to being carried on Pundt’s shoulders to being paid a hundred bucks by Cox to pull down Pundt’s pants on stage, this kid did it all.

As we left the venue Cox waited by to door to thank each and everyone individually for coming to the show.  The final touch on an intimate, memorable performance.

Set list:

  • Cryptograms
  • New
  • New (sung by lead guitarist)
  • Never Stops
  • Hazel St.
  • Little Kids
  • New (Revival)
  • Nothing Ever Happened
  • Microcastle
  • Operation
  • Calvary Scars II/Aux Out
  • Cover Me > Agoraphobia
  • Encore: Fluorescent Grey