Concert Review

XX Merge Night One: July 22

I arrived to the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro about ten minutes after the 7:15 pm start time of the first night of Merge Records’ 20th anniversary music festival, aptly named XX Merge. Walking into a already-packed Cradle, a trio of bass, drums, and guitar greeted me with a mixture of Pavement melodicism, Pixies-like noise, and the tightness of bands like Slint. Being one of the few Merge bands I didn’t recognize by appearance, after their set, I asked a guy next to me who just played. “Pure,”  he responded. Pure, a band from Asheville who released just one 7" single on Merge Records in the early 90’s before disappearing, provided the absolute perfect kick-off to what was sure to be a night of great music and immediately turned me into a fan (anyone got a copy of that 7"?)

Nearly right after Pure’s half-hour set, I noticed Lou Barlow, of Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh fame, take the stage to begin setting up for his set as Pure was tearing down. Barlow, who released an album of understated folk-pop titled Emoh on Merge in 2005, played a quiet, acoustic set, treating us to a couple songs off of his next album for Merge, Goodnight Unknown, due out this fall.

Next up was the country-tinged indie rock of newer Merge signees Oakley Hall. Seven members strong on stage, the group played a sometimes raucous, sometimes poppy set of songs that felt like a 70’s AM radio station’s signal interfering with a college station’s.

The Clientele were the next band on the bill. One of my favorite Merge acts, The Clientele played a set of their signature twilight indie rock that was as pretty as violinist/keyboardist Mel Draisey, ending with a driving performance of “Bookshop Casanova” that had the entire crowd moving.

I may be one of the few people who thinks that The Magnetic Fields live are superior to The Magnetic Fields on record. Don’t get me wrong, I love the records, but live, playing all acoustically, the songs take on an intimacy and beauty that just isn’t quite as strong on record. With a mere 40 minute long set time (this is a band that played two sets with an intermission last year at Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall), the band played crowd favorite after crowd favorite, including “California Girls,” “The Book Of Love,” and my personal favorites “I Don’t Believe You” and “Papa Was A Rodeo.” Singer Stephin Merrit’s deadpan humor was present as ever, trading quips with pianist/vocalist Claudia Gonson. When told they only had a minute left, they decided to play the humorous minute-long “Punk Love” to close out the set. It was a fitting exclamation mark to a fantastic set.

Coming on next were Raleigh’s own Rosebuds. If you’ve never seen The Rosebuds live, you owe it yourself to catch them sometime. I’ve seen them more than a few times and they’ve never put on a less-than-stellar show. Opening with one of my favorite songs (and the song I had stuck in my head prior to their set), “Drunkards Worst Nightmare,” the band charged through a set full of songs from all four of their long-players, from the dancey synth-pop of “Get Up Get Out” from Night of the Furies to the hauntingly beautiful set-closer “Nice Fox” off the recent Life Like (including, as always, audience participation on the refrain “And it don’t mean nothing at all.”)

From the merch table in the back selling Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band shirts to the drum kit with the words “The Mystic Valley Band” emblazoned across the kick drum, it was apparent who the night’s headliner was from the moment you stepped into the Cradle. These days, instead of playing confessional folk songs, Oberst is busy playing raucous country-rock. Backed by a five-piece band, Oberst took the stage in a wide-brim cowboy hat that wouldn’t be out of place in an old western. Oberst played a generous hour-and-a-quarter long set consisting solely of material from his two Merge albums, last year’s self-titled record and the newly-released Outer South. Backed by a five-piece band, it was a nice way to end the first night of XX Merge’s festivities and get people excited about the remaining four nights.

More coverage and photos of the other four nights are on their way, so check back soon!

Concert Review

NIN|JA, A tour which left a hole

Trent Reznor has decided to hang up the Nails. After 20 years of touring and making music, on the twentieth anniversary of Pretty Hate Machine, Trent has decided that it is time for Nine Inch Nails to stop making music and touring. Before embarking on the aptly named, Wave Goodbye Tour, he said, “It’s time to make NIN disappear for a while. What this tour meant to me, was one last hurrah.”

The emotion and energy shown by Trent was astronomical. He, and the rest of the members of the band made it a show I will never forget. From me screaming at the top of my lungs, and dancing in my seat to songs like “Wish,” “Survialism,” and the epic closure “Head Like A Hole.” I will never forget the goosebumps I got upon hearing “The Fragile,” “Le Mer,” and the haunting but beautiful “Hurt.” It’s a sad day to see them go, but hopefully they will grace us with their presence sometime down the road with an album that will blow us away, and show us why Trent Reznor is one of the greatest musicians of all time. Until that time comes, I will always remember the show, and the pain in his voice as he sang “You can have it all, my empire of dirt. I will let you down, I will make you hurt.” As NIN left the stage, I was still in awe of their show and all I could do was wave goodbye.


  1. Home
  2. Somewhat Damaged
  3. Wish
  4. March of the Pigs
  5. Piggy
  6. Metal (Gary Numan cover)
  7. I’m Afraid Of Americans (David Bowie cover)
  8. Head Down
  9. Burn
  10. Gave Up
  11. La Mer
  12. The Fragile
  13. Non-Entity
  14. The Downward Spiral
  15. Survivalism
  16. Suck
  17. Hurt
  18. The Hand That Feeds
  19. Head Like A Hole (with Eric Avery)
Concert Review

Band Together, June 6

As someone who has worked more than a dozen on-air fundraisers, practically begging for the telephone to ring, I wholeheartedly agree that the best way to raise money is through a rocking concert. WKNC does it through our annual Double Barrel Benefit and so does Band Together NC, a local non-profit whose mission is “to raise funds and awareness for select charities through events that showcase and support musical talent.” Since its formation in 2001, Band Together has raised more than $635,000 for Triangle charities.

Band Together’s latest effort took place Saturday, June 6 with Chatham County Line, The Rosebuds and Rusted Root performing on the Lincoln Theatre Street Stage. Band Together alumni HOBEX closed out the evening with a set inside the Lincoln. reports the Band Together committee presented a $108,000 check to the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood just before Rusted Root took the stage.

Chatham County Line performs at Band Together, June 6, 2009. Photo by Jamie Lynn Gilbert.


Chatham County Line took the stage at 6 p.m. I could hear the beginning notes of “The Carolinian” as I rushed to the blocked off area of Cabarrus Street between Blount and Wilmington in downtown Raleigh. The Lincoln Theatre street stage was against the Wilmington Street side, with the Silent Auction area, requisite Budweiser beer line and Southern Season Catering trailer leading to Blount.

With the banjo, mandolin and guitar players crowded around the microphone and the bassist two steps behind, the mic stand could have just as easily read WSM as Chatham Co Line. The Raleigh-based quartet makes appearances on Americana, Blues and Co. as well as during our daytime format, with their album IV. The set list included newer tunes “Chip of a Star” and “Whipping Boy” and older ones like “Route 23.” The crowd was a little thin when the band began, but filled in as the set wore on, prompting one of the band members to compliment the crowd for being much better than the one there 15 minutes prior.

The Rosebuds on stage at Band Together, raising money for the Lucy Daniels Center. Photo by Jamie Lynn Gilbert.


Indie pop rockers The Rosebuds were the evening’s second act. Guitarist Ivan Howard led the crowd in a sing-a-long on “Nice Fox,” encouraging the crowd to yell so loud they could be heard in Fuquay. The decibel level didn’t get quite that high, but the crowd seemed genuinely engaged, swaying as they repeated “and it don’t mean nothing at all.” The Raleigh duo has a sparse performance schedule this summer, but will be at the Duke Gardens this Wednesday, June 10th.

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.

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

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.

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.