Thursday, March 20, 2014

WKNC announces Fridays on the Lawn lineups

It goes without saying that two of my favorite things in the world are free food and free music. When the two come together for three special nights then all of the woes and stresses of life suddenly seem worth it. Okay, so that may be a little bit over the top, but it's still pretty damn close to how excited I am about this spring's Fridays on the Lawn lineup. Every semester WKNC, N.C. State's student run radio station, puts on a handful of free concerts on the titular lawn at Harris Field on N.C. State's campus. The past few events have been displaced due to construction on Witherspoon Student Center, but alas the event has returned back to it's home on the corner of Dan Allen Dr. and Caites Ave. and this spring has one of the most impressive lineups in recent memory.

On Friday, March 21, T0W3RS will be headlining the free event alongside openers White Cascade. Recently T0W3RS has become the talk of the Triangle, going into showzilla mode with the new solo set-up. The band was previously best known for their psych-leaning indie rock, but since the beginning of 2014 the band has shrunken back to the solo guise of Derek Torres. But despite the truncated lineup, T0W3RS' sound is bigger than ever. Torres' new live act boasts an unparalleled stage presence amongst the region, he's meticulously crafted an entrancing set filled with disco infused rhythms and inundating melodies that linger in your head for days. The sense of showmanship is usually worth the price of admission alone, but when the show is free AND includes some Jimmy John's to boot, there's no reason not to check it out. Openers White Cascade will ease fans into the evening with some heady shoegaze-inspired tunes that will serve as an excellent soundtrack to soak in the sun and celebrate the beginning of spring.

On Friday, March 28, Gross Ghost will be taking over the lawn with openers Cat Be Damned. Allegedly set to debut some new tunes, Gross Ghost will be bringing a high-energy set filled with fuzzed out semi-garage rock anthems. While the band's instrumentation never gets too complicated, the sense of symmetry amidst the melodies and instruments is enough to hook the listener in and leave them in a daze, singing along to songs that they never even knew. Song structures may be simplistic, but Mike Dillon's lyricism is nonetheless poignant, combining hard-hitting emotionalism with driving rhythms and the occasional nonchalant punkery together for an immensely enjoyable time. Openers Cat Be Damned kick off the evening with a sly twist to the folk rock formula, combining the lyrical prowess of bands like Built to Spill with the dynamism of experimental college rock and the simplicity of folk music. Oh and how could I forget that there'll be free burritos from Moe's?!

Lastly on Friday, April 11, J Kutchma and The Five Fifths will close out the series with what's sure to be a raucous night of roots-leaning rock n' roll. It's hard to put the intensity of Kutchma into words, he's a showman cut from the same cloth as Springsteen with the intensity of a punk rock frontman. One minute the frontman can be seen gently strumming his acoustic and crooning into the microphone over pastoral landscapes, but the next he's dropping to his knees and swinging his guitar wildly whilst beating his chest and shouting to the sky. Kutchma's lyricism is simultaneously intensely personal and insanely relatable, a line that many songwriters struggle to tow. While the openers for this date have yet to be announced, Kutchma alone is reason enough to pull yourself out to Harris Field and soak in some of the free sounds of some of the area's finest local musicians.

Each event will kick off at 5:00 and last until 7:00, with food being available on a first come first serve basis. Maybe I'm a bit biased due to my involvement with the station, but I can proudly say that Fridays on the Lawn is one of the most enjoyable events that local fans can take in. When the weather cooperates what's better than plopping a blanket down on the grass, eating some free food and supporting your local music scene. Absolutely nothing in my book.

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