Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hear Here: February 28 - March 7

Justin Lacy & The Swimming Machine
Last week was jam-packed with fantastic shows and this week showcases much of the same.  Sometimes within the Triangle we'll see a particular city jam-packed with shows while the rest are left to twiddle their thumbs or make the drive up I-40, but every now and then there's that one week where the entire area is filled with incredible performances.  You can welcome that particular conundrum this week.

With a raucous show from Spider Bags at Slim's kicking off the week and a sold out performance from Alt-J at Cat's Cradle, this week runs the gamut of musical genres.  Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill are getting equal amounts of lovin' from both touring acts and local favorites, so make your way out to a show this week!

Show of the Week: Onward, Soldiers w/ Wiley Hunter & The Cazadores and Justin Lacy & The Swimming Machine @ Kings Barcade on March 2

Thursday, February 28
Spider Bags w/ Flesh Wounds & DJ Suggadelic @ Slim's in Raleigh
  • Two of the areas finest punk acts are going to be packed into one of the Triangle's finest clubs for gritty, high-energy shows.  Needless to say this show is going to be incredible.  Spider Bags solidified their spot in 2012 as one of the local powerhouses, receiving high acclaim from national publications like Pitchfork, Shake My Head was release that boosted Spider Bags to the glory that they deserve.  I finally got to see their southern blend of punk rock at Double Barrel Benefit earlier this month and suddenly understood why this band has received the acclaim they have.  The energy was bouncing across the stage, much like the band, as they powered through an engaging set filled with sing-a-longs and wild antics.  Spider Bags' fans are a dedicated bunch, exerting just as much energy as the band when taking in their frenetic live performance.  Flesh Wounds couldn't be a better opener either, I got the chance to see them in a crowded Berkley Cafe at Hopscotch last year and saw much of the same that I did at Spider Bags, but with far more grit.  Flesh Wounds give fans exactly what they want, no frills balls-out punk rock with jaunting rhythms and fast-paced melodies.  Slim's is at its finest when it's packed in tightly and filled with the brash tunes that we'll see on display on Thursday.  A fantastic way to kick off this batch of shows.

Friday, March 1
Efterklang w/ Nightlands & Onoheim @ Kings Barcade in Raleigh
$10 in advance/ $12 day of
  • While downtown Raleigh will be filled with First Friday attendees, Kings will be home to the dreamy folk sounds of Denmark's Efterklang.  Efterklang is a band filled with ethereal textures and gorgeous melodies, their sound is exquisite and refined with a knack for awe-inspiring musical moments.  This six-piece group is touring in support of their 2012 release, Piramida, one that is filled with musical adventure that takes the listener on an emotional and aural roller coaster, exploring a vast musical pallet with satisfying results.  Efterklang is joined by Nightlands, the solo project of Dave Hartley from The War on Drugs.  Nightlands is fresh off of the release of their second full length, Oak Island and it's a release that gives a humanized feel to the recent influx of glitchy, electronic music.  Hartley adds romanticized lyrics tinged with nostalgia to vast electronic backgrounds, making for an alluring listen that is capable of striking chords with its listeners.  I'm giddily excited for this show, Efterklang is a band I've been dabbling in for a few years now.  However, the anticipation I have to see Nightlands' live show usurps all of this Efterklang hype.  Friday at Kings is gonna be good.  Real good.

Saturday, March 2
Onward, Soldiers w/ Wiley Hunter & The Cazadores and Justin Lacy & The Swimming Machine @ Kings Barcade in Raleigh
$5 in advance/$7 day of
  • Holy god, what a stacked lineup.  Onward, Soldiers provides a captivating live show that makes their impressive studio recordings look weak and underdeveloped.  Onward, Soldiers put on a passionate live show that's capable of making attendees stand back and revel in the chemistry that these members have together.  Sean Thomas Gerard delivers vocals filled with intensity and emotion, leading his group of soldiers in a unified march to musical glory.  However, the openers are no push over either.  Wiley Hunter's take on Americana may be more restrained than Onward, Soldiers but that doesn't mean that it's any less impressive.  Hunter has a Springsteen-esque swagger to his songwriting, he wears in influences on his sleeves and there's no shame in it.  Wiley Hunter writes songs filled with honesty and integrity, delivering both in large helpings at his live shows.  Justin Lacy & The Swimming Machine is without a doubt this show's highlight for me though.  This Wilmington outfit will be making their Triangle debut with this show, but I'd expect to see a lot more of this orchestral gypsy punk group in the near future.  Justin Lacy commands this troupe of horns and strings with precision and power, delivering vocals that can be as guttural as they can frail.  Expect wonderful things from this show!

Bombadil w/ Christy Smith & Magician Michael Casey @ Cat's Cradle
$10 in advance/ $12 day of
  • Bombadil shows are always some of the most joyful experiences one can have at a live show.  When you combine the live quirk of Bombadil with the gorgeous simplicity found within Christy Smith's (The Tender Fruit) music and top it all off with some live magic, you've got the recipe for a...magical night *ba-dum-tsch*.  In all seriousness though, Bombadil's live experience is one that's capable of inducing moments of sheer joy and sorrow all within minutes of each other.  A solo performance from Stuart with "What Does It Mean" is capable of inducing tears while "Cavaliers (Har Hum)" will have you struggling to wipe the smile off of your face.  Bombadil's live shows are a treat, an experience that everyone who loves local music should have at least once.  A packed Cat's Cradle will make for a magnificent way to spend your Saturday night.

Sunday, March 3
Waxahatchee @ Duke Cofeehouse
  • Waxahatchee is the breathtaking simplistic folk project from Katie Crutchfield, better known for her work with P.S. Eliot, a fantastic folk-punk group that was heavily defined by the fragility and anxiousness found within the lyricism of Crutchfield.  This sense of honesty and sincerity is hard to find in music, Crutchfield sheds all pretensions to provide listeners with an experience that feels more like a diary entry than a song shared with droves of fans.  I've only been to one show at Duke Coffeehouse, but I drove two and half hours to see Andrew Jackson Jihad and it was worth every minute of it.  Folk-punk bands like these find themselves with listeners that are dedicated and passionate about these bands because they touch on topics that many musicians are afraid of.  Folk-punk displays a sense of humility and self-awareness that creates a strong connection between listeners and artists, and Waxahatchee is the perfect example of this.  Don't be surprised at the concert goers singing their hearts out to every passing song, because that's what makes these artists as fantastic as they are.  This is going to be an incredible show at a venue that's vastly under utilized.

Tuesday, March 5
Alt-J w/ Hundred Waters @ Cat's Cradle
Sold Out

  • Towards the end of last year it became hard to turn your head without hearing something about Alt-J.  Whether it be detractors complaining about the band's supposed lack of innovation or the followers screaming their praises on high, somebody was always going to have something to say about this breakout English quartet.  Drawing comparisons to indie-gods like Radiohead, Alt-J's psychedelic swirl of sounds pulls influence from folk, trip-hop, rock, and much more to produce a unique blend of music that beckons the listener to delve deeper.  Opening act Hundred Waters is another group that's innovating contemporary music, producing a folk-tronica sound that's grabbed the attention of dub-step megastar Skrillex, leading to the band being signed to his label, OWLSA.  I can't express how upset I was when I went to buy a ticket for this show and saw it was sold out.  Utterly devastated.  However, a ticket to Bonnaroo easily calmed my nerves (but not my wallet) in regards to an Alt-J live experience.  To those of you with tickets to this show, know that I hate you.
Drive-By Truckers w/ The Whigs @ Haw River Ballroom
$22 in advance/ $25 day of
  • If you've yet to attend a show at Haw River Ballroom then just go ahead and do yourself the favor.  One of North Carolina's finest venues, Haw River is a gorgeous and inviting venue that's attached to the finest convenience store/restaurant that you'll ever stumble upon.  The expansive venue has two levels of seating for your comfort and a massive standing room floor that makes for an incredible view with a packed house.  As Drive-By Truckers roll through I'd imagine you'll see just that, as this iconic alt-country group has amassed countless die-hard fans throughout their seventeen year career.  Going through various lineup changes over the years, their current touring lineup is as tight as ever.  Their on-stage chemistry permeates throughout the crowd, the joy can be seen on Patterson Hood's face as he belts out anthemic southern rock tunes with a commanding presence.  Fellow Georgian's, The Whigs will be joining Drive-By Truckers,  bringing their southern take on garage rock to the Haw River stage.  The Whigs' overdriven rock tunes play out like highway soundtracks, making for the perfect transition into the seasoned rock vets that will close out the night.

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