Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year Celebrations in the Triangle

It's time to say good riddance to one year and welcome a new one.  The Triangle always knows how to party and the New Year is certainly no exception.  In addition to First Night Raleigh, there are some other great options for catching tunes and enjoying friends.

Relive the joys of Hopscotch and party to stimulating beats created by Body Games and T0W3RS at Kings.  The multi-instrumentalists of Body Games will keep you moving well beyond the drop of the acorn with heavy electronic textures and lurching beats.  Add in the whimsy of Derek Torres of T0W3RS and the result is a memorable New Year's Eve for the small cost of $12.50-$15. 


Big Something will keep things moving on Cabarrus Street at Lincoln Theatre.  Their dance-grooving space-rock anthems create an unforgettable experience perfect for celebrating a new year.  The band's unique mix of rock, jazz, funk, and reggae pushes out beats to please every lover of music.  Big Something will be supported by Big Daddy Love, a five-piece rock and roots band that creates a unique sound they refer to as, 'Appalachian Rock'.  The party starts at 8 and is well worth the $20/$25 ticket.


For the local rockers, The Pour House has designed a lineup that won't disappoint.  Corrosion of Conformity headlines the night.  Decibel Magazine stated that COC serves as, "a crucial stylistic lynchpin in the bridge between metal and punk" that "irrevocably reshaped crossover's sonic possibilities."  Supporting COC are two other heavy hitters, Bedowyn and Demon Eye.  These three bands will get you ready to kick some serious ass in 2015.  Show starts at 9 and $20/$25 will get you in the door with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. 


Of course we can't possibly forget that The Avett Brothers will celebrate the New Year in Raleigh with a performance at the PNC Arena.  These North Carolina favorites have been doing some intense touring all year promoting their latest release, Magpie and the Dandelion.  Ticket and traveling packages are available at the Avett Brothers website.         

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Get "Out of this World" at First Night Raleigh 2015

First Night Raleigh 2015 is "Out of this World" with plenty of activities and performances to support that theme.  The city is providing entertainment for the whole family with animal exhibits, ballroom dancing, and of course, the first night ferris wheel.  The music lineup does not disappoint with local and tour favorites serenading the crowd through the night.

The Brooklyn based Augustines will share their indie alt-rock sounds with the Triangle on the main stage in City Plaza at 10:30.  They are known for their high-energy shows with strong audience interaction, so they are sure to please.
The Triangle's own The Love Language will grace the stage at the Contemporary Art Museum at 8.  The Love Language shares the genuinely emotional writing of Stuart McLamb with the support of an equally impressive group of rotating musicians. 

The Barefoot Movement, one of our faves from The Bluegrass Festival, will return for First Night.  Catch this down home bluegrass band gathered around one mic on the City Plaza Main Stage at 6:15 and again at 9 at the Church of the Good Shepard.  

There is an endless list of performances and activities to enjoy at this Artsplosure event, so be sure to check out the official First Night Raleigh 2015 website for a complete schedule. 

Photos courtesy of: firstnightraleigh.com

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Younger Brother Productions Presents the Winter Soulstice Show at The Pour House

Younger Brother Productions is presenting the Winter Soulstice Show at The Pour House this Friday, December 19.  Laura Reed will headline the event with support from Asheville's River Whyless and Raleigh's own Season and Snare.

2014 has been Laura Reed's year with the release of her full-length album, The Awakening, just being one of her many accomplishments.  Another highlight was the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at the New York Knicks and New York Rangers games.  Reed's music is infused with soulful blues meshed with infectious melodies.  The genuine lyrics in The Awakening express love, loss, and self-realization. 

Younger Brother Productions have partnered with The Raleigh Rescue Mission to collect goods for the Triangle community.  The organizations are encouraging the donation of two or more canned goods and/or gently-used coats for a $2 discount for admission.  The doors open at 9, the fun begins at 9:30. 

To get warmed up for this soultastic show, check out Laura Reed's cover of  Muddy Waters' "I Be's Troubled":

Friday, December 5, 2014

Forecastle Fest 2015 Presale

 Forecastle 2015 Presale Begins Friday, December 5 at Noon EST
Limited number of specially priced weekend passes available
LOUISVILLE, KY – Just in time for the holidays, The Forecastle Festival will host a special presale on Friday, December 5 at noon EST through ForecastleFest.com. Louisville’s three-day festival celebrating the best in music, art and environmental activism is set to take place July 17-19, 2015 at Louisville’s Waterfront Park.
A limited number of general admission weekend passes will be available for $129.50 plus applicable fees. General admission travel packages, which include lodging at the Brown Hotel or Seelbach Hilton, will also be available beginning Friday. Full ticketing options, including VIP, payment plans and single day tickets, will be revealed in early 2015 along with the festival lineup.
Exclusive fan hotel rates for the festival weekend are available now. Visit ForecastleFest.com for a full list of pricing and locations.
For the latest news and updates from Forecastle Festival, visit ForecastleFest.com, Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the Forecastle newsletter.
Forecastle is held at Louisville’s scenic, 85-acre Waterfront Park. Since 2002, the Festival has featured musical guests including Outkast, The Black Keys, Jack White, Beck, My Morning Jacket, String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, The Smashing Pumpkins, Widespread Panic, The Avett Brothers, Pretty Lights, Sleigh Bells, Spoon, DEVO, Band of Horses, She & Him, Big Boi, Girl Talk, A-Trak, Sleater-Kinney, Umphrey’s McGee and many more. The festival also highlights the best of bourbon country with the Bourbon Lodge, an interactive experience more featuring more than 10,000 square feet of bourbon-focused activities and tastings.
*Information Courtesy of Forecastle Festival, AC Entertainment, and Big Hassle

Friday, November 28, 2014

Have a Two Night Stand with Mandolin Orange

The members of Mandolin Orange, Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin, are celebrating being home this Thanksgiving with a two night show at Cat's Cradle.  The band is fresh from a European tour with Chatham County Line.  They will have an intimate, fully seated duo set tonight and a standing-room only show on Saturday with additional musicians.  Be sure to check out our previously posted interview with Emily

All shows have sold-out, so if procrastinator describes you, get creative and start searching for some tickets.  The Friday night show starts at 8 with opener Leif Vollebekk, while Saturday night begins at 9 with support from Mike Compton and Joe Newberry.  In the meantime, enjoy Mandolin Orange's cover of "Porcelain Doll" by Chatham County Line.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Generationals Add Tour Dates and Drop New Video

In the midst of an already massive North American tour, New Orleans’ Generationals announce the addition of live dates through January and February of next year. Hitting Nashville, San Diego, Austin and many more. The indie-pop wizards continue their quest to leave no city unturned by their impossibly catchy melodies, synth hooks and unassuming talent.

Built up with layers of rhythm, computer noises, RZA beats and poppy vocals, the Generationals’ 4th LP Alix, released this fall, is a good-smelling, subtly sexy blend of time-warp senselessness. In keeping with the distinct spirit of the record, the band previously released their mini-film take on Alix track “Gold Silver Diamond,” and today, to share a sense of the electric atmosphere and life their tunes take on live, they share the live video for “Would You Want Me,” recorded in their hometown of New Orleans.


Comprised of band members and friends since high school Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer and produced by Richard Swift (The Black Keys, The Shins, Foxygen), Generationals fourth studio album Alix, (out now via Polyvinyl Records) gives a tangible sense of the co-captains’ history, revealing itself as perhaps the band’s most confident record yet.

Catch the Generationals at Local 506 in Chapel Hill on December 2 with the support of Lowell.

Generationals Headlining National Tour Dates

12/2: Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 %
12/3: Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s %
12/5: Toronto, ON @ The Garrison %
12/6: Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB%
12/7: Allston, MA @ Great Scott %
12/9: Columbus, OH @ The Basement %
12/10: Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight %
12/11: Athens, GA @ Caledonia Lounge %
1/13: Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone ^
1/14: Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall (Tomorrow Never Knows Festival)
1/15: St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House ^
1/16: Champaign, IL @ Mike N Molly's ^
1/17: Kalamazoo, MI @ Bell's Eccentric Café ^
1/18: Newport, KY @ Southgate House Revival ^
1/19: Nashville, TN @ High Watt ^
2/4: Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
2/5: Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy & Harriet's
2/6: San Diego, CA @ Casbah
2/7: Santa Barbara, CA @ SoHo Music Club
2/10: San Antonio, TX @ Limelight
2/11: Austin, TX @ The Parish
% = w/ Lowell
^ = w/ ELEL

*Photo Credit: Arkasha Rabut
*Information courtesy of Girlie Action Media, Marketing, and Management  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lucero Announce Tour with Ryan Bingham

Memphis country punk-rockers Lucero are gearing up to co-headline an unforgettable spring tour with Ryan Bingham, kicking off on Feb 17th in Ashville, NC. Catch them live and experience the raw, foot-stompin’ energy the band brings to the stage. Tour dates run through March, and presale tickets will be available this Wednesday here for Fan Club Members. If you want even more reasons to see the band live, be sure to check out their first-ever live album, Live From Atlanta, available now via Liberty & Lament/INgrooves.

“Each person makes Lucero their own thing,” says front man Ben Nichols. “Everyone identifies with us for completely different reasons. For one reason or another, Lucero becomes a very personal band.” But the one thing that seems to unify Lucero fans of all kinds is the band’s all-or-nothing live show, and Live from Atlanta, thoroughly captures that.

Whether you’re in the drunken couple, one of the drunk and rowdy beardos, or the stage-diving punk rocker, Lucero is a band that absolutely everyone can enjoy. Be sure to experience their extraordinary stage presence live at Cat's Cradle on February 18 or at one of the spots below. 

Tour Dates w/ Ryan Bingham:

1/15 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall**
1/16 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall**
1/17 – Chicago, IL – Concord Music Hall**
2/17 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
2/18 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
2/19 – Charlotte, NC – Visulite Theatre
2/20 – Charleston, SC – Music Farm
2/21 – Jacksonville, FL – Freebird Live
2/22 – Tampa, FL – The Ritz
2/24 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
2/25 – Atlanta, GA – Buckhead Theatre
2/26 – Birmingham, AL – Iron City
2/27 – Jackson, MS – Hal & Mal’s
2/28 – New Orleans, LA – Tipitinas
3/02 – Baton Rouge, LA – Varsity Theatre
3/03 – New Braunfels, TX – Greune Hall
3/05 – Austin, TX – Austin Music Hall
3/06 – Dallas, TX – Southside Ballroom
3/07 – Houston, TX – House of Blues
3/09 – Chattanooga, TN – Track 29
3/11 – Richmond, VA – The National
3/12 – Wilmington, DE – The Queen
3/13 - Baltimore, MD -Baltimore Sound Stage
3/14 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
3/15 - Cincinnati, OH - Taft Theatre
3/21 Atlantic City, NJ The Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival**
**Non Ryan Bingham Show Dates

--Courtesy of Girlie Action Media, Marketing, and Management

Friday, November 14, 2014

Barn-Storming Fun with Scythian

The immigrant rock band Scythian are making their way to the Triangle once again.  This Celtic-based band mixes rock, bluegrass, and Ameriana for a fresh and energetic sound that leaves everyone dancing.  Scythian is no stranger to the Triangle area, having made previous stops at Lincoln Theatre and bringing down the dance tent at IBMA's Bluegrass Festival, they will grace the Cat's Cradle stage this Saturday, November 15.

Almost immediatley following the Bluegrass Festival, Scythian headed to Ireland with 90 of their fans.  This trip was a celebration for ten years of making music, reaching fans, and creating a party everywhere they go. We caught up with Joey Crosby of the band to hear about their trip and find out what's next for Scythian.

The Triangle Beat:  What were some of the highlights of the Ireland trip? 

Joey Crosby:  Our Ireland tour was magical. Traveling for a week with 90 of our fans, we played at some of the coolest venues in the country, including an undiscovered country dance hall called the Lake House in the wilds of the southwest coast.  It's mentioned in “Paint This Town” on the new album, so it was surreal to be able to bring our fans to a place we’ve been singing about all summer. Many people there, fans and locals alike, thought it was one of the best nights ever. Just an amazing event in an authentic old world setting with incredible people--including our friends in the Irish band, Socks in the Frying Pan. I'd love to return to the place, and it's also inspired us to think about doing a barn-storming tour in America.

We also played the Roísín Dubh, Galway’s storied music venue, where we were joined by the incredibly talented band and our good friends We Banjo 3. Sharon Shannon, the legendary Irish folk musician and button box player graciously joined us to surprise everyone by performing "Galway Girl," which she co-authored with Steve Earl.

We surprised our fans with a flash mob style surprise show on the ferry boat that crosses the River Shannon, all covered by a major radio station. So every day of the trip there was an expectation of surprises and a spirit of adventure. In Dublin, our gig was part of Amplify, Guinness’s annual music festival, which gave us some great exposure. I'd say there's a good chance we keep doing these trips. 

TTB:  How do fans in the States differ from those in Ireland?  

JC:  The Irish embraced our high-energy take on their traditions, merged with our gypsy and Americana influences. I think we brought them a reinvigoration of their own traditions. When Sharon Shannon came out on stage, the crowd in Galway went wild and we could tell people were amazed that such a national legend had joined. So we saw enthusiasm build, which gave us a ton of energy. 

Our last show in Dublin at the Mercantile was packed to the brim with locals. We had a great opener with us there, Corner Boy, which definitely brought in a great crowd. Our new album has some Ireland-inspired songs on it, and it was invigorating that the Irish people have received our music so well. We made many new friends and of course the Irish were amazingly hospitable to us--a pleasure to work with and to entertain. 

TTB:  How was your experience of playing the Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh?

JC:  We love playing in North Carolina. Much like the Irish people--and maybe even more so--Carolinians seem to have a true appreciation of roots music and music you can dance to. And they know how to dance, as a friend of ours from Wisconsin observed recently. So it was an electric atmosphere at the IBMA Dance Tent in October. The community of fans and artists that attends that festival is extraordinary, and we’re thrilled to be returning to the area with the Cat's Cradle show and are pumped about giving everyone a "shine-fueled, fiddle-flying hoedown," as the Bluegrass Situation graciously described our music. 

TTB:   You all have been extremely busy with touring and recording.  What is the plan or next goal for the band? 

JC:  After our Cat’s Cradle gig, our next stop is our annual show at Washington, DC’s 9:30 Club. DC is our home base, and this will be the first time many of our fans there have heard Jump at the Sun, our new album, live, so we’re ready to give them an incredible show in what is one of our favorite venues. 

For more about Scythian, check out our previously posted interview with lead singer Danylo Fedoryka.  To see this magic live,  join us at Cat's Cradle this Saturday for a rip-roaring party. It's guarenteed to be a dance-filled night with Kaira Ba supporting and Scythian bringing it home.  Find ticket information and venue details at the Cat's Cradle website.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Senegal Meets Ireland at Cat's Cradle

Diali Cissokho and Kaira Ba will be supporting Scythian this Saturday, November 15 at Cat's Cradle. Come out to Carrobo for an eclectic evening of African music, tradition, and culture meshed with the Irish "barn dance rock" of Scythian.  Check out our previously posted spotlight and interview with Cissokho himself.

Kaira Ba is a guitar and experimental kora dance band founded by Senegalese griot musician Diali Keba Cissokho.  He brought together band mates, John Westmoreland (guitar), Jonathan Henderson (bass), Austin McCall (drums), and Will Ridenour (percussion).

Cissokho was raised in Senegal by a long line of griot musicians.  In West African culture, a griot acts as a storyteller, advisor, and praise singer by playing the kora, a 21- or 22-stringed bridge-harp from West Africa, and singing songs.  This title has been passed down from generation to generation since the 14th century.  Cissokho's mother and father both hail from a long line of griots, telling stories of celebrations, marriages, births, and other significant village events.

After meeting his wife, who is from Pittsboro, NC, Cissokho decided to settle locally and share this griot tradition with the Triangle.  Eventually, he met his current band mates and realized that they could create their own unique music by mixing modern instruments and sounds with that of the Senegalese traditional kora.  Now they are Kaira Ba, which is a Mandinka phrase meaning "peace and love" or "the great peace."

The Great Peace is a lively masterpiece that covers historical events of Senegal and modern day concerns.  It begins with "Mbolo" (Unity), with percussion heavy beats and an optimistic rhythm.  The lyrics discuss the significance of having allies and friends in our lives.  Kaira Ba sends the message that people cannot be successful completely on their own; more can be accomplished with unity and working together with the lyrics, "No matter where you are from or who you are, we need to come together."

"Talibe" (Our Lost Boys) comes from a melody borrowed from Cissokho's late mother, Mossu Keba Diebate.  He wrote lyrics to match the melody that discusses orphaned children in Senegal. Through his lyrics, he's calling out to the Talibe as a reminder that all children should be honored and provided for.

Other ideas shared by Kaira Ba give helpful reminders for all people in their everyday lives.  "Yur Mande" (Compassion) talks about using compassion and understanding with those we meet.  Cissokho says, "Everywhere you go, you have to take compassion with you.  People aren't given wealth in order to keep it.  You must share it."

While the lyrics send some powerful messages and cultural stories, the support of the instrumentals provide an upbeat, positive vibe.  Ancient West African sounds are meshed with a modern voice to create a whole new sound not typically heard.  All of these elements combine to create a fusion of blues, jazz, and rock-n-roll.  The hopeful dance grooves  make this album appealing to those from all cultures and languages, truly uniting people through the magic of music.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Haw River Ballroom Presents The Lone Bellow

The Haw River Ballroom has quickly become one of North Carolina's premier music venues, located just minutes outside of the Triangle in the town of Saxapahaw.  Maintaining just under 2,000 total residents, this quaint town has music lovers making the short journey into the country to witness performances from some of today's finest acts.  This week promises to provide much of the same as The Haw River Ballroom presents The Lone Bellow on Wednesday, November 5.

The trio of Zach Williams, Brian Elmquist, and Kanene Pipkin got their start in 2010 out of New York and soon after became known as The Lone Bellow.  It wasn't long after that the group decided to start touring and released their self-titled debut album in early 2013.  Since then, The Lone Bellow has continued to build upon their success by bringing their inspiring and soulful message to the stage as they relentlessly tour across the states.

Recently, Kanene Pipkin spoke with The Triangle Beat about The Lone Bellow's upcoming show at The Haw River Ballroom and more:

The Triangle Beat: Is this the bands first time at Haw River Ballroom?  If so, what have you heard about the venue?
Kanene Pipkin: This will be our first time at Haw River Ballroom, and we've heard great things about the venue and the town.  There's always a sense of excitement when you're coming to play a new town for the first time, when you have no idea what's in store for the evening, and the music culture of the room is a mystery to you.

TTB: For those who may be hearing you for the first time at HRB, what can they expect from a Lone Bellow performance?
KP: We have a pretty intense, dynamic show.  Lots of emotions and sweat.  The guys sweat a lot so be prepared if you are the kind of concert goer that likes to stand close to the stage.

TTB: How has the band evolved in what has been a relatively short time since starting in 2010?
KP: We have been touring for about two years straight, so we have played a lot of shows and become a much better band.  We know each other so well, we've been through hell and high water together, and I think it shows in our writing and in our performing.

TTB: As a band or as an individual, what is the most rewarding part of gaining in popularity and getting to perform all over the country as The Lone Bellow?
KP: Touring full time is not easy.  We all leave our homes and families behind, and we constantly revisit our motivations for doing music professionally.  Every time someone comes up to me at a show and tells me that our music helped them through a difficult time, or that they played our song at their wedding, or that they are truly comforted and inspired by what we're doing with our lives, it reminds us why we're out on the road in the first place.

TTB: As musicians, what other artists do you draw upon as inspirations in creating your own sound?
KP: We try to draw from every genre that we personally enjoy, from Kris Kristofferson to Otis Redding to My Morning Jacket to Robyn.

TTB: What was the inspiration for the song, "Then Came the Morning," your newest released single?
KP: The song is about a defiant hope, and the vision was always to channel a lot of Vegas era Elvis and the gospel music we all grew up singing.

TTB: What are your goals as a band in regards to what will come next for The Lone Bellow?
KP: We want to continue doing good work for the right reasons, write great songs, become better musicians, provide for our families, all lifelong goals.  I lived in Beijing, China for a long time and I would personally love to get to take the guys there and play a few shows.

TTB: The last time Lone Bellow performed in the Triangle, you managed to get everyone to slow dance during one of your songs and covered Boyz II Men's, "End of the Road."  Are there any such surprises planned for your show at HRB?
KP: HA! We don't really plan any of that nonsense, but we always try to read the room and tailor each show for that night, for those people.  If the crowd seems like they might enjoy spontaneous 90's R&B covers, we just might oblige.  We're only human.

As a preview of the great things to come on Wednesday, check out the video of The Lone Bellow's most recent release, "Then Came The Morning."  Joining The Lone Bellow will be Foreign Fields and Kristin Diable.  Tickets are still available and more information on The Lone Bellow, Foreign Fields, and Kristin Diable can be found by visiting The Haw River Ballroom website.  Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Award Winning Jason Isbell Plays the DPAC

Jason Isbell took over the 2014 Americana Music Awards in September, winning the coveted titles of Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year.  The Triangle is fortunate to have this Americana crooner visit once again on Thursday, November 6, this time at Durham's DPAC. 

The Album of the Year, Southeastern, was released in 2013 and has been highly acclaimed.  Upon receiving the greatly deserved recent awards, All Eyes Media released the following statement:

"Southeastern (Southeastern Records/Thirty Tigers) is an artistic triumph on the highest level. Isbell courageously opened himself up and created his most personal work to date. Through his songs, Isbell articulates his deepest fears, failures, regrets and personal growth with poetic beauty and grace. "Do the things that scare you.  That's the good stuff,"  Isbell stated during his Song of the Year acceptance speech. Southeastern has resonated with so many as it has gone on to sell over 125,000 copies to date. The album has received an overwhelming about of support from the press."

Isbell has been touring since the release of Southeastern to constantly growing crowds.  The DPAC show will begin at 8 with the support of Sturgill Simpson.  For a schedule of events and ticket information, visit their website.  Watch Isbell perform the Americana Song of the Year, "Cover Me Up" on Austin City Limits and see all upcoming tour dates below:

Remaining 2014 Tour Dates

November 6 - Durham, NC - Durham Performing Arts Center
November 7 - Savannah, GA - Johnny Mercer Theater
November 8 - North Charleston, SC - North Charleston Performing Arts
November 12 - Atlanta, GA - Fox Theatre
December 31 - Louisville, KY - Louisville Palace Theatre
New 2015 Tour Dates
February 2 - Charlottesville, VA - Paramount Theatre
February 4 - Washington, DC - Lincoln Theatre
February 5 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre
February 6 - West Long Branch, NJ - Pollak Theatre at Monmouth Univ.
February 7 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
February 9 - Munhall, PA - Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
February 10 - Columbus, OH - The Southern Theatre
February 12 - Chicago, IL - Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center
February 13 - Kalamazoo, MI - Kalamazoo State Theatre
February 14 - St. Louis, MO - Peabody Opera House
February 15 - Des Moines, IA - Hoyt Sherman Theatre
February 17 - Kansas City, MO - Uptown Theater

Sylvan Esso and All Hallows' Eve

Hundreds of people flocked to the Haw River Ballroom on the eve of Halloween for night one of two sold-out Sylvan Esso shows.  The electropop duo from Durham, NC have been touring with noteworthy bands such as tUnE-yArDs and Foster the People to promote their impressive debut album, Sylvan Esso.  Fortunately for locals, they were able to make a pit stop at their old stomping grounds for two unforgettable Halloween shows.

Skeletons, lights, and pumpkins decorated the walls of the ballroom while staff shared candy with the crowd. Guests felt the spirit of the season, donning masks, feathery headbands, and ghostly face paint.  With high audience anticipation, Sylvan Esso took the stage dressed as legends Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood.

Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn broke into their debut album with acceptance and excitement from the crowd.  Meath's intoxicating voice crooned through each hit, her body gyrated as though the music pulsed right through her.  Sanborn rarely took his eyes off his partner, listening to her every breath, never missing a cue.  The two have a provocative stage presence; it's fun, playful and endlessly interactive.

It seems obvious that the pair are only getting started.  They have existed for merely a year and have already received high marks for their captivating live performances and recorded masterpieces.  The album itself is artsy and bouncy, but unlike a lot synth-pop music, genuine emotion is ever so present and contagious.

For more Sylvan Esso, NPR streamed a June performance from Washington D.C.'s 9:30 Club.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lia Ices, Phantogram, and Human Disco Balls

Lia Ices, a dream-pop goddess,  took the Haw River stage as the opener for Phantogram.  Ices performed several of the tracks from her most recent album, Ices, which was released through Jagjaguwar.

Ices has a natural and engaging stage presence; her tone is mesmerizing with an impressive range.  The songs from Ices provide a span of sounds with middle eastern rhythms and trip-hop atmospherics.  Her live performance and catchy tunes create happy vibes and an upbeat mood.

The self-proclaimed "street beat/psych pop" duo, Phantogram, brought a high-energy and a visually-pleasing performance to the Haw River stage.  Phantogram, named after a type of optical illusion, consists of upstate New Yorkers, Sarah Barthel (vocals/synth) and Josh Carter (vocals/guitar).  The pair have a natural and contagious chemistry on stage that transfers to the audience.

Endless time and forethought have obviously been put into the duo's live performance.  The songs from their latest album, Voices, have been reworked to translate more effectively in the live setting; tempos have been changed, songs restructured, and Barthel intensifies her strong voice to sync cohesively with the synth-pop rhythms.

Aside from entrancing vocals, the band doesn't take the term "performance" lightly.  They increase the impact of their danceable beats with multi-colored lights and flashing strobes.  At one point, Barthel dons a sequined robe that reflects the light, transforming her into a human disco ball.

This type of music genre brought a different vibe to the scenic Haw River Ballroom, but it seemed to be well-received with a high-energy crowd and sold-out show.  Phantogram knows how to perform and please their audience with audio and visual surprises.  Seeing them live transforms their already energetic music, turning audience members into long-term fans. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Future Islands with Strings and Brass - 4AD Session

The endlessly impressive Future Islands released their five-track 4AD Session today.  Under the direction of Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, the session was filmed in London with the addition of a string quartet and brass section.  The masterpiece features five songs from their latest album, Singles, including "Sun in the Morning", "Doves", "Seasons", "Lighthouse", and "A Song For Our Grandfathers".  Enjoy the full session via the band's YouTube channel: