Concert Review

Josh Ritter @ Cat’s Cradle May 30

I was able to see Josh Ritter on Saturday night at Cat’s Cradle and the show was amazing! The crowd had a lot of energy, and so did he. If you weren’t able to catch the show, check out this recording from the Internet Archive.

Concert Review

Murdoc’s Local Music Photo Blog: May

Ok so it is June… but it isn’t my fault that May kicked ass. I mean seriously. I graduated from NC State, saw my family, and went to some of the best local shows I have been to in a while.

I had planed to attend several big shows in the weeks following graduation, however, I was sadly only able to make it to 3 shows featuring 8 bands. But what great shows they were.

Click on any picture to go to the full Gallery

May 15th: Cat’s Cradle: Hey Euphony, Whole Wheat Bread, MC Chris

This show was a mystery for me going in, because I was not familiar with any of the acts; also, I had never been to Cat’s Cradle before.

Hey Euphie is a pop punk band based out of Durham

Now on to reason I was interested in the show- Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Bread is based out of Jacksonville, Florida. The band plays what they like to call Dirty South Punk Rock, an awesome blend of hard punk rock with hip hop style.



May 20th: Cat’s Cradle: Maylene and The Sons of Disaster, Clutch

I had looked forward to this concert for months because Clutch has been one of my favorite bands for the last few years. Native to Maryland and with more than 10 albums to their credit, Clutch passes through the Triangle roughly once a year; and unfortunately does not allow photography at their shows. This year’s show, while fun, was a bit of a disappointment from previous times I had seen them. The mosh pit broke out fast, but disappeared just as quickly as it had started, the lead singer didn’t have much to say to the crowd, and it was difficult to see the band due to an unusually tall audience. I dare to say metal/hard rockers Maylene and The Sons of Disaster put on a better, higher energy performance.

May 27th: The Pour House: Black Skies, Caltrop , Colossus

This show featured some of the best Raleigh has to offer in hard rock and metal, and I hate myself for not realizing what pocket I had put my camera in. It wasn’t until Colossus took that stage that I realized that I hadn’t left my camera at home.

Black Skies is from Chapel Hill and was celebrating the vinyl release of Hexagon (5/26/09).  I look forward to seeing more this band in the future because I’m not entirely sure about how much I enjoyed the performance. Part of it was the stage presence of the band, part of it was the annoying buzz that was feeding into the mix from a bad cable. However, I do encourage people to check out their music none the less.

Caltrop, also from Chapel Hill, is the embodiment of local music history with members having been part of Hazerai, Pegasus, El Sucio, The Ladderback, and Valient Thorr. Caltrop produces a hard rock jam band feel that just oozes potential. The band’s LP, World Class, lives up to  its’ title fully.

To finish the night, Colossus performed to a disappointingly small crowd, but kicked ass anyway.


So in 3 weeks time, I saw 4 local bands and 4 non-local, nationally touring bands. Beleive me, the local bands certainly held their ground and put forth some great acts; and not all of the national acts were that great. Going to these shows made me think about the nature of concerts, and to a certain extent, music itself. Perhaps the biggest difference between great music/concerts/bands and everything else, is the experience one walks away with. A show by a great act makes the audience walk away pumped up,  or full of memories and opinions of what they just experienced; a show by a not so great act does not. Part of why this is, is the reason people go to the show in the first place, and part of it is the showmanship of the band. When I went to see Hey Euphony, Whole Wheat Bread and Clutch, I walked away feeling as though I had experienced something. However, if I hadn’t stayed for Colossus, and had simply gone home after seeing Black Skies, I may not have felt the same way.

Part of what causes this differentiation in experience lies on the individual at the show, and the other part lies on the shoulders of the band. Colossus, Whole Wheat Bread, Hey Euphony, and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster showed up to perform; not to simply play a gig, but to rock out and have an awesome time. Now this isn’t to say that the other bands didn’t; perhaps the crowd just wasn’t into it, or came to see someone else.

It is for this reason that I ask everyone that goes to support local music, to be active at it. Don’t just go to a show to have a couple beers, hang out, or just b.s. around: Go to the show to have an experince. Get into the music, the people on stage, and the people around you. For the love god, dance, hand bang, jump around, or whatever else comes to mind. Just don’t stand there with a stick up your butt and bounce your head like a bobble head doll. One thing that bands like Colossus, Red Collar, and other local bands excel at, is bringing the audeince to the edge of thier comfortable “chill” zone and pushing them into having an awesome time.

Concert Review

HFQ Block Party

The past weekend at the Nighlight in Chapel Hill were owned by Holidays For Quince, a local community record label that boasts some of the best bands in the triangle.  This was the first ever Block Party for HFQ and eleven different bands played the three nights. (just a quick note, all pictures below were taken by Mike Gray)

Night 1
Friday night was a first for many.  Not only was it the first night of the Holidays For Quince first ever block party, but it was also a debut CD release show for HFQ’s newest artist, Liza Kate, in addition, it was the Nighlight’s first evening with a liquor license.  Needless to say it was one hell of a show.

Embarrassing Fruits was first on the bill and kicked through most of their songs from their First Time EP.  The crowd was small at the start but by the end of their set the place had filled up.  Embarrassing Fruits is actually off of Trekky Records and not HFQ, which made it all the more apparent that this was as much of a community event as anything, and not just to highlight HFQ’s amazing group of bands (a couple of bands from HFQ are playing at TRKFest in June as well).  Plus, you have got to love EF for their “non-ironic mustaches and vintages T-shirts.”

It was only Mount Moriah’s second show ever, but this mixmash of some of the Triangle’s best local bands stole the night with some beautiful tunes and fantastic musicianship.  I think I found my new favorite band in the area and look forward to the next time they play.

Liza Kate went on next with a spectacular intimate set.  It being her CD release party I had only heard her earlier that night on the Local Beat and had never seen her before, but was pleasantly surprised with her beautiful whispery vocals over top reticent acoustic guitar.  Jenks Miller sat in for a few songs on electric and Heather McEntire sang on one song as well.  Overall, the intimate setting the Nighlight provides allowed for Liza to really connect with the crowd, and her witty entertaining comments during the breaks kept the crowd in.  Her new album off of HFQ, Don’t Let The Dogs, is one of my favorites so far this year after only one listen through.

Max Indian went on last.  Being off of Trekky Records, like the Embarrassing Fruits, they too were welcome friends.  Having seen them only about 6 or 7 times before (and never not enjoying seeing them) I decided to skip out for the night and get some rest for the radio early the next morning.  (Sorry fellas).

Night 2
Night 2 was another fantastic night for local music.  In The Year Of The Pig went on first.  People, until you see them live, then the phrase 
“melt your face off” holds no meaning.  ITYOTP really can rock your mind (and ears) into oblivion.  Their smashing duo drums overtop distorted guitar and bass took this ITYOTP n00b to a whole new level.  After 30 minutes of mind bending music, I began to feel sorry for Dave Cantwell’s drumset, but I suppose it was for a good cause.  Man, what a way to start the night.

Oh, and after their set they filled everyones bellies with some delicious homemade tacos.  

 (no pictures from ITYOTP as they played in complete darkness, very cool though)

Not be be outdone, the Curtains of Night went up next and kept the show heavy with their unique brand of female duo death metal.

The Moaners held the third slot of Night 2 and delivered on their usual bluesy americana vibe.  Their last song of the night, one which I did not recgonize, with Melissa on saw and Lauren on acoustic guitar was truly captivating.  Most of their setlist sounded like new material to me, so I either need to remind myself of their discography or even better, look forward to a new album sometime in the future.


Night 3
Night 3 was one for the ages.  Screaming Females to center stage to start the show.  Ive never seen a performance quite like this band from New Jersey put on.   Shredding guitar, pumping bass, head banging drums.  What a set.  If you havn’t seen this band, they are a MUST.  After they were done some of the people I came with and myself sat in silence for a moment to take it all in.  Speechless.

Caltrop tore it up second with their overamplified driven sound and hard progressive rock.  Heavy metal heaven.  (Word is that they may begin recording an album soon, after writing songs all winter, and plan on touring in Europe- kickass!)

Last, but obviously the headliner for the whole 3 nights, was Bellafea who launched into their set with enthusiasm only they could muster for such an already overhyped crowd.  I had not seen them in ages but was pleasantly surprised to see them just as amazing as ever before.  Their punk rock attitude never ceases to entertain.  All hail Bellafea!

Concert Review

Photo Bloggings: Duo-Fest 3 4/18/09

Curtains of Night were the last band of the evening, starting around 12:30.  By the time they played I, and I assumed everyone else, was completely exhaused.  Its a shame that every time Ive seen this band its been after about 21 hours of being awake.  It was completely worth the physical exhaustion, they really delivered on the heavy rock action.

For the last three years, the good people at Bull City Headquarters, Durham’s community bicycle co-op/art space/occasional concert venue, has presented the Duo Fest, which showcases a diverse variety of two-person bands.  This years Duo Fest was last Saturday, and I must say it was amazing.  From the country tinged folk of Sequoya, to the intense sludge metal of Curtains of Night, the one-day festival had a little something for everyone.  It was almost too much rock and roll for one day; there were fifteen bands playing for about nine hours.  Even though I arrived about an hour late and sadly missed Battle Rockets and most of Sawteeth McTweedy, by the end of this epic day of constant musical stimulation I was totally exhausted. But, it was more than worth it to stick around to the end.

I, not being much of a writer, will not go into great detail on the fantastic show most of you missed, instead I’ll just post a bunch of pictures.

Curtains of Night

Veelee does some pretty impressive indie pop, I hadnt heard this band before seeing them, but I got a copy of their demo so expect to hear them on WKNC soon.

DC punkers Trophy wife rocked pretty hard.

Trophy Wife

Trophy Wife

All Your Science is always mind-blowing.  Its amazing how good two People, one guitar, and three drums can be.

All Your Science

Beloved Binge

Another highlight of the show was the Saint Peter Pocket Veto.  I hadnt prevously heard of this band, but I should have.  They did loud and fast instrumentals, a bit like the harder type of post rock or shoegaze.

The Saint Peter Pocket Veto



Victor Victor Band came all the way from Pennsylvania.  They have sort of a bluesy rock and roll sound with great lead guitar.

Victor Victor Band


Fortress of Swatches


Scientific Superstar

Concert Review Local Music

Photos: Pink Flag and Whatever Brains Local Beer Local Band 3/26/09

Pink flag was first, as always they rocked hard.  Pink Flag may well be the best Triangle area band to see live; I’ve never seen this band off their game, in fact they seem to be a little better every time I see them.

Princess played guitar on one song.

so Betsy played bass,

Whatever Brains played second, and dare I say they rocked too hard, so hard in fact, that I still can’t hear right.

Concert Review

Murdoc’s Local Music Picture Blog #4-ish

So after a short blogging hiatus, I have returned with my fourth installment to the Local Music Picture Blog. My hiatus does not mean that I didn’t attend any shows, I was just having an allergic reaction to my computer… or something like that…which seems to be carrying over to this post, as the posting of pictures just does not want to work for me 🙁 . But don’t worry, you can see all my pictures clicking on my name and then clicking on Pics.

But anyways, last Thursday, I went to The Brewery to rock out with The Pneurotics, Pink Flag, River City Ransom, and The Dry Heathens, and rocking out is exactly what went down.

The Pneurotics are an alt rock based out of Chapel Hill. Their 2008 release, Forty, is relaxed alt. rock which features a few slight folk music nuances. Most of the show, however, was performances of material that will be released on the yet to be named album they intend to release in the fall of 2009. The new material is solid, driving, guitar heavy rock’n roll, and I for one can not wait til fall to get my hands on the cd. The Pneurotics next show is The Johnny Cash Bash at The Pinhook. They will be paying tribute to Johnny Cash with The Tender Fruit, Gambling The Muse, and Bull City.

Pink Flag… where to start? Pink Flag is a three piece, all girl, pop punk /grunge rock extravaganza that is based out of Durham. Now I have to be honest here, the first time I listened to  Introducing Pink Flag & The Homewrekers, I was ify about it. But having seen Pink Flag live, I do have a new appreciation for the album. And anyone that thinks they are the stereotypical, all girl bands are bad or ok at best, type of outfit; go see them live and they will destroy your brain with awesome. All the girls can play and sing great, as shown when they switched out their instruments and vocal roles. Their next show will be tonight at the Relay For Life Benefit at Local 506 with I Was Totally Destroying It and Lake Inferior. Pink Flag will also be featured at WKNC & Tir Na Nog’s Local Beer, Local Band night on March 26th with Whatever Brains.

River City Ransom, third to take the stage, is a five man, pop group based in Raleigh. RCR’s performance was perhaps the most laid back of the night. The group’s Myspace claims the groups is Punk, but I think they are straight Indie Rock. We’ll have to wait and see what direction they choose to go in as the group as just recently added a few members. River City Ransom’s next showing will be at the Reservoir on March 23rd with The Dry Heathens and Dark Knights of Camelot.

The Dry Heathens were last on the night, and the Durham based, indie punk,  group showed up to kick ass as usual. This makes the third time I’ve seen them and I am pretty sure they get better each time. If you can not make it to their show on March 23rd, I suggest you make it to the second night of Viking Storm (the Hammer No More The Finger’s CD release celebration weekend) when they play with The Beast, Deleted Scenes, The Future Kings of Nowhere, and Hammer No More The Fingers. The show will be  freaking awesome  and worth every penny. And if you can’t make either of those shows I encourage you to listen to The Dry Heathens first releases, First Contact With Ground, because it is a truely great album.

Hopefully next week I will have pictures  in the picture blog, but in the mean time, don’t forget to check out The Rock Report and catch a great local show!

Concert Review

Submit Your DBB 6 Photos!

If you were one of the hundreds of people I saw at DBB6 taking pictures of the bands and the crowd, we would LOVE to show off your pics online.  Please send any digital copies of pictures to  All pictures will be credited, and if you have a website please include that in the email as well!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Pour House the last two nights to help make this years Double Barrel Benefit the best ever!  It was truly a legendary show and we were happy so many of you could make it out!

Be on the lookout for more upcoming post-DBB blogs in the next couple of days as we wrap everything up.

Concert Review

Recap: Rosebuds, Megafaun and Love Language at Cat’s Cradle

Saturday night at Cat’s Cradle was perfect. I trudged through last week, snow and school and all, and what was really getting me through was knowing that on Saturday, I’d get to see The Rosebuds and just dance it out.

Every time I see The Rosebuds, it reaffirms my theory that Kelly and Ivan are actually the coolest people on earth.  It’s so obvious that they give it their all, and that’s why as a result their shows are always really fun. Saturday was no exception. I won’t go into great detail about their set, because if you weren’t their it will just make you feel jealous and bummed out, but rest assured, they put on an excellent show, complete with pink Christmas lights and a very confused little dog who appeared on stage during the encore.

The Rosebuds, photo by Mike Alston

The Rosebuds were great, but they’re always great. What made Saturday night so especially awesome was that it was a great show from start to finish.

Lately I’ve been really loving  The Love Language, who started off the night. They are all so energetic and cute, I saw them at the Local 506 back in December and had been looking forward to seeing them again ever since.  Even though they apologized several times for having colds, they did not disappoint. If they hadn’t mentioned it, I don’t think I would’ve suspected that they were not feeling up to their A-game. I highly recommend checking out their MySpace, because every last one of their songs is spectacular.

Oh, and Megafaun. They’re from your backyard. These guys seriously rule. Much like The Rosebuds, they were very in touch with the crowd. I like feeling like a show is interactive, so I give them points for initiating an elaborate singalong during which they divided the crowd into three sections with three different singing parts. Bonus points also for burning incense during their set, and for their very long, very manly beards.

Bradley Cook of Megafaun, photo by Mike Alston

Long story short, Saturday night at Cat’s Cradle was totally awesome. There is such a wealth of local music in the Triangle, and I think that’s something that we’re all really lucky to be a part of. This music comes from your neighbors, you know? Whenever I’m listening to these bands and thinking about how much they rule, that’s what really blows my mind about it all. This music comes from my neighbors.

Concert Review

The Sign of Evil Existence

Rotting Christ

Rotting Christ is one of my all time favorite bands in the metal world. I have been to all of their Lucifer Over America tours, which have been their only American tours as well as own all of their cds. I have guitar picks from both shows as well as autographs and photos from all of the band members. I got to both shows about 3-4 hours early.  Needless to say, I am a fanboy of Rotting Christ. However these guys are one of the purest and truest metal bands in the scene. They put so much emotion into both their studio work as well as their live shows. The band members treat all their fans like they were truly brothers and sisters. I have been honored to sit down and talk with Sakis, the lead vocalist, rythmn guitarist, and founder of the band.  He is one of the nicest guys I have had the chance to meet in the metal world. The show, at Volume 11, was top notch. I didn’t much care for the opening bands, even though I was excited to see thr opening band Epicurean, they disappointed vocal wise. Their singer couldn’t seem to hit the notes that he sang on the album, he was very badly off key. Mantic Ritual I had never heard going into the show, but they played some good old fashioned thrash metal. However none of these guys mattered because I was front and center for the band I had been waiting since they announced they would be touring here again, Rotting Christ. If you are a true metal head, you need to experience this band live. They are truly masters of their craft writing such beautiful music and heavy lyrics. They played with so much energy that the crowd was acting just as crazy as they were. They played a multitude of tracks from many albums, though most of their tracks came off the recently released Theogonia. They played, what I considered their single and probably best track, “King of a Stellar War”. They also touched on my favorite all time album of theirs, Thy Mighty Contract, and played “Turn All Sufferings Into Plauges” and “Sign of Evil Existence”. Truly this show was a sign of evil existence as we were shown metal in it’s purest form. Anyone should go see Rotting Christ just because they are one of the greatest metal bands out there.


The Sign of Prime Creation
Kervanos Kivernitos
Athanatoi Este
Enuma Elish
King of a Stellar War
The Sign of Evil Existence
Transform A Suffering Into Plagues
The Fifth Illusion
In Domine Sathani
Phobos Synagogue

Non Serviam


Concert Review Local Music

It May Not Be Metal, But You Can Still Head Bang If Ya Want.

Welcome to my first installment of the (at least biweekly) Local Music Picture Blog!

A Tin Djinn and Goner rocked out WKNC & Tir Na Nog’s Local Beer, Local Band last night (1/08/09), and if you weren’t there, you missed something great. The night started off with A Tin Djinn who lost a lot of their equipment recently in fire, but it didn’t stop them from jamming out with a strange mix of music that can only be described as truly unique. I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to get up and dance or sit back and chill with a cold brew. And if you can get past the polka-dot jump suit, face paint, and trench coat combination, A Tin Djinn may be the band for you.

A Tin Djinn: If you were to take The Pixies and Queen, extract their DNA and then cross breed them in some strange animal orgy, you would get A Tin Djinn. Think mellow, not quite hard rock… hard rock.

Goner: Think a high energy funk-tastic rock show, that urges you to get up and move. Goner has played Local Beer, Local Band several times now and they bring a set full of energy and excitement that you can’t help but want to get up and thrash around to, even though it isn’t the type of music you associate encouraging mosh pits.