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Show Review: Local Band Local Beer – Phil Cook & His Feat w/ SumnerJames

Phil Cook & His Feat

Two side projects shone bright on Thursday at Tir Na Nog, as Phil Cook and James Phillips shed their usual full-time bands for a more stripped down and intimate performance for the weekly Local Band Local Beer.  James Phillips (of Bombadil) made his first solo outing with the help of Elyse Thebner (Some Army, JKutchma & The Five Fifths) to fully flesh out his minimalistic electronic act inspired by his stay in Oregon earlier this year.

A far cry from his work in the quirky folk act of Bombadil, Phillips’ set up consisted of a laptop from which to blast beats and an array of synths to produce the dense soundscape that sets the somber yet hopeful tone of his solo work.  Joined by fellow local musicians like Stuart and Daniel of Bombadil and Christy Smith of The Tender Fruit, Sumner James transitioned surprisingly well for a debut live act.  Closing with the album’s lead-off single of, “Home”, James was borderline shouting his heart out on “Losing his mind” in the state of Oregon.  These tunes can be just as therapeutic to the listener as it evidently was for Phillips, much like the deep emotion and soul poured into the mostly instrumental tunes of Phil Cook.

Phil Cook is usually just accompanied by his feet on percussion, but with the addition of Yan Westerlund (brother of Megafaun drummer Joe Westerlund and regular drummer for Bowerbirds) on drums, the fans at Tir Na Nog were treated to a tight and blues driven performance from a vastly underrated local act.  In a mostly electric set, Phil Cook jammed out on open tunings that were oozing with emotion, notes were being bent to his will and captivating concert goers to move and shake like an old revival show.  From instrumental blues jams to a rootsy lullaby sung for his young son, Phil Cook displayed his breadth of talent with dobro jams and a strong sense of musical connectivity with Yan who provided simplistic yet driving rhythms for songs he was mostly unfamiliar with.  For a low key show from local side projects, these two acts displayed vast amounts of talent and promise, making for a fantastic way to spend a Thursday evening.

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DJ Highlights

Local Beat Preview 8/31/12

It’s that time of the year again. The weather is beginning to cool at night, hurricanes are on our horizon, NC State football is starting up and what is it that I smell? Ah, the fresh scent of one of the greatest music festivals in the nation right here in our own back yard. Hopscotch Music Festival is next week, September 6-8, in downtown Raleigh and everyone around is excited and geared up for this third annual event.

This week on the Local Beat I am going to be joined once again by Grayson Currin and Greg Lowenhagen, Co-Director and Director of Hopscotch Music Fest, for the first hour of the Local Beat. Grayson and Greg have been hard at work for the past year and we are going to take a behind the scenes look at what they have been up to and talk about this massive festival that is about to hit our streets. Over 250 bands playing the official Hopscotch and unofficial day parties and tons of other exciting events all jam packed into 3 days. Tune in at 5pm to hear some great conversation with the minds behind the music and madness.

At 6pm I am introducing a new(ish) group to my listeners: The Toddlers. The Toddlers have actually been around for a couple of years, on and off, but did not solidify a lineup until about a year ago. With that momentum they have been playing shows around the state and are currently scheduled to play a show Saturday night in Winston-Salem at Krankies with Birds of Avalon, a Hopscotch day party next Friday at Deep South, and an official Hopscotch show at the Hive. Also, check out their Kickstarter campaign that is up and running to support their new album.

For the final hour of the program I am welcoming back a dear friend, James Phillips, drummer for Durham based band Bombadil. Aside from being a fantastic musician and lyricist and working with groups between here and Portland, James has taken the leap from folk music into electronica for a new solo album, 29 Days, under the alias Sumner James.  In support of the release that happened this past Tuesday Bombadil is playing a show Saturday evening at the Cats Cradle with Massachusetts band You Won’t.

As always, the fun starts at 5 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.! Be sure to follow the Local Beat on Twitter or Facebook and download tons of free local music on our ReverbNation page!