Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Pour House Hosts Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars

Hope and optimism can spring from many situations, even a seemingly negative event such as war.  For Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, an unfavorable circumstance became one of opportunity and promise.  The band was brought together in 1997 when civil war forced Ruben Koroma and his wife Grace to seek refuge in Kalia, a refugee camp that bordered Sierra Leone.  While there, Koroma joined guitarist Idrissa Bangura (Mallam) and bassist Francis John Langba (Franco) in creating music to entertain fellow refugees. From there, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars was created.

While spending time at the Sembakounya Camp, the group was noticed by American filmmakers, Zach Niles and Banker White.  They were inspired by the musicians and the joy they brought to the refugees in times of despair and hopelessness. The filmmakers started to follow the band and documented their journey from camp to camp for the next three years, resulting in the film, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars.  It's a compelling story of perseverance, hope and the healing power of music. 

When writing their first album, Living Like a Refugee in 2006, it was unplugged, natural, and written while sitting around the camp fire.  Now, the band has released their fourth album, Libation, with producer Chris Velan.  According to the band members, the inspiration and purpose behind the album is to " respect to the dead; within the past ten years we have lost four members of the band, but we still feel that they are connected to us in everything we do, so we would like to pay respect to them."  The sound returns to the simplified acoustic instruments used in their first album, mixing the old with the new, creating an upbeat and positive vibe.  Each band member contributes to writing, so many different stories are told from varying perspectives.  Overall, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars wish to send, "messages of hope that will help people maintain peace in their communities."

Through the years, this group has had the fortune of sharing their powerful message to large crowds at festivals such as Bonnaroo, New York's Central Park SummerStage, and Japan's Fuji Rock Festival.  They have worked with and been supported by artists like Sir Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Ice Cube, Angelina Jolie, and U2.  One of their most memorable moments was opening for the legendary Aerosmith at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut to 12,000 music lovers.

The success has been great for this group, but they don't plan on stopping any time soon.  They are looking forward to releasing a fifth album next year and intend on sharing their message of peace, hope, and harmony through their music. To learn more about the and purchase their album, visit their website

Raleigh is fortunate to have such an inspirational group playing at The Pour House Thursday, May 1.  The supporting artists for the night is the Senegalese band, Kaira Ba. To read more about this charismatic group, check out our previously posted profile.  The doors open at 7:30 and the show starts at 8. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Local Spotlight: Jack the Radio Plays Band Together NC

 This Saturday, May 3, Band Together will throw their main event of the year with headliners Daryl Hall and John Oates and special guests, Robert Randolph and the Family Band.  Band Together is an organization focused on raising money for several different charities with the help of volunteers, sponsors, and board members.  They use music and fun to lift up our community by providing extra funds where needed; this year the funds will go to the community schools of Durham and Wake Counties.  Band Together refers to themselves as "the mullet:  business (and social good) in the front, party in the back."

In March, four local bands competed at Lincoln Theatre for the opportunity to open for Hall and Oates at Walnut Creek.  The last band standing was Jack the Radio, a southern-indie rock band based in the Triangle.  The group consists of A.C. Hill (vocals, acoustic guitar), George Hage (vocals, electric guitar, mandolin, keys), Danny Johnson (lapsteel, baritone guitar, keys, vocals), Chris Sayles (bass, vocals), and Brent Francese (drums).  The Triangle Beat spoke with the group about their experiences as a band, their latest album, and opening for the legendary Hall and Oates. 

The Triangle Beat:  How did the band come together?

Jack the Radio:  A.C. and George met while attending NC State University.  The two lived together for part of a summer and during that time started writing and recording. They released an EP in 2005 but took several years off to pursue other projects.  In 2009, the two started writing again and brought in drummer, Brent Francese and a bassist to fill out the sound. In 2010, after playing a show with his former band, we brought in Danny Johnson on lap-steel and later keys and baritone guitar.

TTB:  Who/what are your strongest musical influences of the band? 

JTR:  Early on we were heavily influenced by bands like Spoon for their musical and rhythmic pulse and instrumentation. Also local boys, the Avett Brothers for their passionate roots sound and use of acoustic instruments.  

As our band developed and we added members the sound evolved.  We were influenced by the soul and rhythm and blues of bands like the Black Keys and the Raconteurs, and even the sounds and tones they created.  Our members have all played in other groups with varying styles over the years which creates a great dynamic in our approach at times.

TTB:   How would you describe your latest album and how does it compare to previous albums?

JTR:  Our latest release, Devil In Here was released in August, 2013.  We approached this album in a unique manner, which made it completely different from our other releases.  It allowed us to explore a lighter side and reach a new audience who may not relate to our louder-swamp-rock sound.  The album was recorded live and unplugged with a string section on the majority of the songs.

TTB:  How do you feel about having the opportunity to open for Hall and Oates? 

JTR:  It's a huge privilege to be able to perform on one of the biggest stages in the region with newly inducted Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Hall and Oates and of course the incredibly talented Robert Randolph and the Family Band.  We have to thank the amazing team at Band Together for putting on such an epic and charitable event and for the opportunity to connect with thousands of local show goers.  As the local boys, we hope to make NC proud.

Photo Credit: Jeff Reeves

TTB:  Who is the main songwriter for the group? What is your process for songwriting?

JTR:  Generally George and A.C. will bring song ideas to the band.  It could be anywhere from an idea for a riff or a more fully planned out song that already has melody and lyrics.  From there George and/or A.C. will get the vocal melodies and lyrics together and the band will work on additional instrumentation for things like lap steel, keys and bass parts.

We've definitely had songs that worked out great the first time and came together pretty seamlessly, but we've also had songs we've been working on for years that have only recently made sense for the band.  But that seems natural for us.

TTB:  What have been some of the most memorable highlights in your musical journey so far?

JTR:  In 2005, we started out writing music for ourselves.  It was really to see if we had the ability to get these ideas in our heads translated to (digital) tape. We were recording ourselves on an out of date desktop computer and writing digital drum loops.  That lead the sound to grow from being a duo into getting full band ideas down.  

Listening back to the songs we hit a point where we realized this wasn't just for our ears and a few of our friends' ears and we decided to create our debut, full length, Pretty Money and released it out into the world in 2011.  

TTB:  What would you like the public to know about you and your music?

JTR:  We our proud to say since then we have released another studio album, Lowcountry, as well as a live/stripped down album, Devil In Here, with the DVD, Live at Amplified Art.  Our music has also been licensed on several national and international radio commercials and TV spots since 2011.  Hearing 3 of our songs for the first time on television on a single episode of Anthony Bourdain's: No Reservations was for sure a surreal moment for the band. 

TTB:  How did you come up with the name, Jack the Radio? 

JTR:  Before the band started, George had a list, or more of a brain-dump, of band names.  "Jack the Radio" was the one he kept going back to and ultimately became the name of the band when he and A.C. first started writing together.  At first it was more of a call to action, but later the name developed into a character or metaphor Jack, the Radio who the band battles with music.

TTB:   What are your goals and hopes for your future as musicians? What will come next for Jack the Radio? 

JTR:  We are constantly writing and we are currently working hard in the studio tracking for the next release.  We are discussing the idea of releasing a split album or perhaps an EP or two in the next year.  We are also continuing to play regionally and focus on publishing and licensing our music in film, radio and television.

Join in the fun this Saturday while supporting the community schools of Durham and Wake Counties.  Ticket information and band information can be found at the Band Together website.  They are always looking for volunteers, so get involved, enjoy great music, and help the community.  Don't miss Band Together NC 2014!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

CHVRCHES Interview

In 2011, the three members of CHVRCHES came together to create electro-pop music with lyrical depth.  They decided to take a chance and release their music via the internet, nervous about the way it would be received.  They quickly learned that there was no need for such nervousness because their new music was welcomed with warm acceptance.

Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty have since released their first full album, The Bones of What You Believe.  The group has traveled all around the world, sharing their music and working with other incredible artists.

Lead singer, Lauren Mayberry, took some time to chat with The Triangle Beat about their first album, most memorable moments, and hopes for their future.

The Triangle Beat:  The group has hit recent popularity with some pretty passionate fans. How do you react to having such loyal fans suddenly?  Does it ever get a bit overwhelming?

LAUREN MAYBERRY:  We have been very lucky to have had so much support from fans, especially online when we first became 'a real live band', rather than a writing project between the three of us in the studio. Most people are really respectful and polite, and it's cool to see that our band appeals to lots of different kinds of people and crowds are always varied, from middle-aged guys who loved synth pop the first time round to teenagers.

TTB:  You all have been touring around the world to plenty of different places.  Would you say there is a difference between fans and their reactions in different parts of the world?

LM:  We have been lucky to play so many different places this early in our career, and it's great to see different places and make notes on where you'd like to go back to when you're not working... There are subtle differences between crowds depending on the culture but music is a thing that can often communicate regardless of the native tongue, I think. 

TTB:  What changes have you had to make to your songs when preparing them for a live performance? 

We worked hard making sure that we could translate the studio sound live and now have a pretty solid rig and gear set up so we haven't changed the substance of the songs themselves. We try to make sure a live show is just that - live - and not a play back party where everything is just played off a laptop. We play as much as possible on the synths, bass and guitar, and then use Abelton Live for beats and samples. 

TTB:   Is there one main songwriter for the group or is it all collaborative?  Is there a particular process for writing?

LM:  The songwriting is a three-part collaboration. No one ever comes into the studio with a completed song; we write everything in the studio together. We'll usually start with a beat or a sample or a new sound and then get an instrumental sketch of the song, before adding a vocal melody and lyrics last.

TTB:  Who are the band’s strongest musical influences?

LM:  The Cure, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, 1980s movie soundtracks and lots of stuff in between. 

TTB:  You have played quite a few festivals at this point.  Who are some of the bands that you have enjoyed watching perform?

LM: It's been great to see bands we love playing at festivals when we get a chance to. Arcade Fire at Coachella was a highlight, as was St Vincent and David Byrne when we saw them last year.

TTB:  How did you come up with the name CHVRCHES?

LM:  The 'V' is actually a Roman 'U', and it's based on the logo design that our friend Amy Burrows made for us when we first started the band. Amy does the designs for all our LP and single covers, as well as the band merch too.

TTB:  What can we expect next from CHVRCHES?
LM:  We'll be playing a lot of festivals over the summer and continuing to tour whilst hoping to get a bit more time to write new material in the breaks...

The Bones of What You Believe is now on sale, visit the CHVRCHES' website for more information about the band and to see their full tour list. CHVRCHES will be playing a sold-out show at The Ritz on Monday, April 28, with support from The Range.  Doors open at 7, the show starts at 8.  It'll be a great start to the week!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Merlefest Spotlight: Mandolin Orange

As a part of The Triangle Beat's coverage of Merlefest 2014, our next spotlight is of a band that calls the triangle their home.  Based out of Chapel Hill, Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin combine their musical talents and amazing voices to form Mandolin Orange.  The band has been on tour for the past few months and will return to North Carolina to join the all-star lineup for this year's festival.  Emily recently spoke with The Triangle Beat about the anticipation of playing at Merlefest.

The Triangle Beat: This is Mandolin Orange's first time playing at Merlefest.  What does it mean for the band to be a part of this year's festival?

Emily: I remember going to the festival when I was 11 and even then I could tell that Merlefest was a special place. There are people that go year after year and they truly love every aspect of Merlefest and we are excited to be a part of it all this year.  As a festival, Merlefest is a staple event in North Carolina and it means a lot to be sharing the stage with so many of the greats in the music industry.

TTB: When will you be playing at Merlefest?

Emily: We will actually be performing three times at the festival.  On Friday we are playing from 6:30-7:15 on the Americana Stage.  Saturday will be really special when we get to take part in the midnight jam with other artists like the Steep Canyon Rangers and Della Mae. That should be a really unique experience.  Then on Sunday we will be performing on the Cabin Stage from 11:00-11:30.  

TTB: When playing a new venue or event like Merlefest, what do you hope people take away from hearing you play that might not be familiar with Mandolin Orange?

Emily:  Well I think anytime you are playing in front of a new audience, you hope that they are able to engage in your songs and that they care about what you provide musically.  It's always nice when you get a chance after shows to meet someone that heard you for the first time and they share about their experience.  Throughout our years of playing together, it is that positive feedback that has driven us onward and upward in our music.

TTB:  With both you and Andrew being from North Carolina, what has this past year been like getting the opportunity to tour all over the country?

Emily:  It has been a very busy year for us.   Until this year we had primarily stayed on the east coast, but this past year we've been able to play all over.  We just played our first shows in California as a part of this tour and we got a great reception from people all along the way.  There is nothing like coming back home though and playing at Merlefest is going to be a perfect ending to our tour.

TTB: Once you've finished your tour, what kind of things does Mandolin Orange have planned for the future?

Emily: As a band, we are always looking for new challenges and opportunities.  When we started playing together in 2009, our mentality was to always have something new to strive for and that mentality has guided us to where we are today.  That being said we are hoping to have a solid European tour in the near future and we would also like the opportunity to play other major music festivals like Merlefest.  

Mandolin Orange's most recent album, This Side of Jordan, was released in the fall of 2013.  In the days leading up to the festival, be sure to check out Mandolin Orange and stop by to see them while at Merlefest. You can get more information on Mandolin Orange by visiting their website at

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Merlefest Spotlight: Nu-Blu

The Triangle Beat is excited to announce we will be covering Merlefest 2014 live on Friday, April 25.  This year's lineup promises to be one that you don't want to miss, so get your tickets now at

In anticipation of the start of the four day festival, The Triangle Beat will be spotlighting several area bands performing next week.  Our first feature is on the Siler City based bluegrass band, Nu-Blu.  The band features Carolyn Routh on vocals and bass, Daniel Routh on guitar, Levi Austin on banjo, and Austin Koerner on the mandolin. In a recent interview, Carolyn spoke with The Triangle Beat about the band's own excitement to be playing Merlefest.

The Triangle Beat: Is this the first time for Nu-Blu playing at Merlefest?

Carolyn: This is our first time playing Merlefest and as the landmark bluegrass festival of North Carolina, we are very excited to be a part of this year's lineup.  We will actually be performing twice on Friday, once on the Americana Stage from 12:15-1pm and again on the Plaza Stage from 6:15-6:45.  

TTB: As North Carolinians, how did Nu Blu get started and where did the name of the band come from?

Carolyn: Growing up I always had a love for music.  I remember as a young girl when other girls were doodling their names in notebooks, I was doodling song names and band names that I thought sounded good.  One of those names just happened to be Nu Blu.  At the time I was not a bluegrass fan, but as my love for music continued, it would end up being a perfect name for what is now our band.

As for the members of the band, I met Daniel, who is now my husband, in late December of 2000.  We shared in our love for music and ambition to make a career out of playing music from the beginning. After playing local street festivals and small town venues for the first few years, we added Levi to the group in 2006, who was only 14 years old at the time.  As we continued playing, Austin began filling in as our mandolin player only to become full time soon after.

TTB:  Playing at events like Merlefest, it is great exposure to people who might not have heard your music before.  What do you hope for someone to take away from hearing Nu-Blu play?

Carolyn:  For me personally, I feel like some people have a perception that all bluegrass music is the same and that turns them away from actually listening to the music.  With this in mind, we want those fans to be able to say, "You know I've never really liked bluegrass, but I really like what you are doing." At the end of the day, we don't want to be defined by a genre.  If a fan is enjoying the music, it doesn't really matter what genre it is.

TTB:  What are the goals Nu-Blu has moving forward as a band?  Can we expect another album soon?

Carolyn:   We are in a great place as a band right now.  Playing professionally has allowed us to make so many great connections and provided us with opportunities that you could never anticipate.  For example, we just played our first show on the gulf coast and we've now played all over the country and even Canada.  With this success, we hope to continue to mature both as a band and in the sound that we create.

As for an album, we just recently went back into the studio to start the recording of our next album.  It was originally set up for us to go back into the studio in December, but we didn't actually get to start until March.

TTB:  What can listeners expect to hear from the new album compared to previous recordings?

Carolyn:  Well with this album, we didn't really try to be different in our approach to the music but I think the maturity of the band allows for a different sound and emotional experience for listeners than previous recordings.  For me personally, it is all about creating an emotional experience for the individual and with the collection of songs we have selected for this album, I think it will be one that can provide that for our listeners.

If you plan on making it to the festival this year, make sure to add Nu-Blu to the list of bands you need to check out.  Prior to the festival, you can get a preview of Nu-Blu and additional information by going to their website at  Stay tuned for more band spotlights leading up to the start of Merlefest 2014 and we'll see you there.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Final Hopscotch Lineup Update

The Final Hopscotch lineup was announced today and the masterpiece is complete!  The finalized performance schedule will be released in July.  VIP passes are nearly sold out, so act fast!
The newly added artists are:
  • clipping
  • What Cheer? Brigade
  • Vaadat Charigim
  • Jason Lescalleet
  • Ka
  • Circuit de Yeux 

De La Soul will play on the City Plaza Stage.  This is the first time a third main stage has been used for this event.  De La Soul will perform on Thursday, September 4.  VIP and 3 day wristbands are still available.

The Hopscotch fest is taking place September 4-6 in various spots throughout downtown Raleigh. The initial lineup for the event was announced today and it includes some notable acts like St. Vincent, American Aquarium, Mastodon, and Sun Kil Moon.  See the full lineup poster below:

VIP and 3-Day wristbands are on sale now at the Hopscotch website. Tickets for individual days will go on sale in June. 

All Hopscotch Club Shows +
2 City Plaza Headlining Shows +
Priority Access to Club Shows +
Opening Night VIP Reception on Thursday, Sept. 4 +
VIP Tote Bag

All Hopscotch Club Shows +
2 City Plaza Headlining Shows

Forty more bands are still to be released, stay tuned for festival updates.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

New Politics Interview

New Politics will be headlining the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in Raleigh tomorrow, April 13.  They will usher in the racers as they complete the challenging marathon or half marathon run.  Lead vocalist, David Boyd, took time to speak with The Triangle Beat about their journey to success, the culture shock of coming to America, and hopes for the future.

New Politics is comprised of three talented musicians:  David Boyd (lead vocals), Soren Hansen (guitar, bass, vocals, keys), and Louis Vecchio (drums).  Hansen and Boyd decided to make the huge move from Denmark to the United States after winning a contest that propelled their careers.  Originally, the third member and drummer was Poul Amaliel, but after spending some time in the U.S., he opted to move back home.  Soon after, Louis Vecchio of Long Island, NY auditioned by sending the two remaining members a video of him playing "Back that Ass Up" by Juvenile.  This caught the attention of Boyd and Hansen and the trio became the official New Politics.

Boyd stated that the move from Denmark to the U.S. proved to be culturally shocking.   However, the group loves the American idea that hard work pays off because they have been working non-stop for the past four years.  When Hansen and Boyd first arrived in New York, they were living off of ramen and barely had enough money to pay their rent.

Stress and panic took over at times, but they channeled those feelings to create genuine music.  Their second album, Bad Girl in Harlem, is all about that struggle.  It pans over the past three years, telling stories of missing home, meeting new people, and living unforgettable experiences.  Boyd admits that there is in fact, a bad girl in Harlem, "...there are probably several of them, actually," he jokes, but "Harlem" is based on his experience with one particular bad girl.  New Politics thrives on taking those every day events and turning them into catchy, fun, and danceable tunes.  

A New Politics show offers an endless amount of energy and enthusiasm.  Boyd has been dancing since he was very young and he tries to incorporate his skills into the show as much as possible.  It isn't unusual to see him doing full back flips on stage as he did on a Late Night with Seth Meyers show recently.  Although dancing is a strong love, music always comes first in his life, it's been his escape for several years.  All three members contribute to writing their songs, so Bad Girl in Harlem combines the experiences of each band member.  

How does the future look for New Politics?  Pretty golden, actually.  The group is constantly touring, trying to reach as many fans as possible.  They will begin their summer tour with Paramore and Fall Out Boy in June, which hits Raleigh on July 22 at Walnut Creek.  Before touring though, they have some time off in New York and hope to write material for a new album.

Catch them live tomorrow, April 13, at Raleigh's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.  They are set to take the Red Hat Amphitheater stage around 10:30 as the runners approach the finish line.  It's free to the public, so come on out, cheer on the runners, support the community, and rock out to New Politics.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Lone Bellow Performs at Lincoln Theatre

The theme of Wednesday night at Lincoln Theatre was: "expect the unexpected."  From the moment The Lone Bellow took the stage, the trio of Zach Williams, Kanene Pipkin, and Brian Elmquist provided an energetic and unforgettable performance for the nearly sold out crowd.  After driving through the night from Brooklyn, NY, the band opened with "Won't You Come Back to Me," as a preview of the dynamic harmony the band utilizes in most songs from their first self-titled album, The Lone Bellow.

As for the unexpected events of the evening, it all started with a cover of the John Prine original, "Angel From Montgomery."  While the music faded, Williams requested a member of the audience to join the band on stage only to appear with his girlfriend seconds later. After a quick adjustment to the microphone and pulling a ring from his pocket, the band gave way to the young gentleman getting down on one knee and asking for her hand in marriage.  As you might have guessed, the proposal was quickly accepted, to which the crowd emphatically applauded.  Then as the newly engaged couple exited the stage, Williams challenged every man in the audience to find someone special to dance with as they played, "Looking For You."  Within moments the majority of the crowd was clinging onto someone and slow dancing as the the band continued to play.  It was certainly unlike any other scene from a live performance.

The surprises only kept coming as the band played popular tracks from their first album, such as "You Never Need Nobody" and "Tree to Grow."  As they announced their final song of the evening, Williams and Elmquist broke into a playful cover of the Boyz II Men hit, "End of the Road."  Despite the popular 90's R&B song being quite a contrast to the typical folk sound of The Lone Bellow, the trio made it their own, much to the crowds delight.  As an encore, "Teach Me To Know" made for a fitting end to the evening as the members of the band graciously applauded the crowd for their energy before taking their bow to exit the stage.  The show provided everything you would hope for and more to those that came out for The Lone Bellow's first appearance in Raleigh.  If you get the chance, make plans to catch them when they are back in town, but in the mean time, check out their website for music, news, and more at

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Bands Added to the Merge 25 Lineup


Fifteen new bands have been added to the already impressive Merge 25 lineup.  The schedule for the festival is listed below with the new bands highlighted.  

Wednesday, July 23, at Baldwin Auditorium, Durham, NC
  • Lambchop performs Nixon
  • Mount Moriah
  • William Tyler
Thursday, July 24, at Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
  • Superchunk
  • Reigning Sound
  • The Rock*A*Teens
  • The Clientele
  • Telekinesis
  • Eleanor Friedberger
  • Amor de Días
  • Hiss Golden Messenger
Friday, July 25, at Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
  • Destroyer
  • Wye Oak
  • The Mountain Goats
  • David Kilgour & the Heavy 8s
  • Imperial Teen
  • Hospitality
  • Saint Rich
  • Vertical Scratchers
Saturday, July 26, in Carrboro, NC (outdoor party) $59 through June 1 / $65 thereafter
  • Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Caribou
  • Teenage Fanclub
  • Bob Mould
  • Mikal Cronin
  • Ex Hex
  • The Love Language
  • The Music Tapes
Full festival passes are sold out, along with Friday's Cat's Cradle show.  Some tickets are still available for Thursday's show at Cat's Cradle, but there is a purchasing limit of 2 tickets per customer.  Several tickets are still available for Saturday's outdoor party in Carrboro.  Tickets for Wednesday's show at Baldwin Auditorium will go on sale Tuesday, April 22 via Duke Performances

More bands will be added to the lineup, so stay tuned for more information. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2014 Benefit for Interact

InterAct of Wake County is a private, non-profit, United Way agency that offers support and safety for victims of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault.  NC Local Music presents the 7th annual Benefit for InterAct at Waverly Place in Cary.  Join this event on Saturday, April 12 from 3-11 to support this cause and hear original local music from:
          --Adam Pitts & The Pseudo 
          --Jason Damico & The New Blue
          --Mysti Mayhem
          --Crissie McCree
          --Houda Idrissi
          --Rebekah Todd
          --The Red Vibes
          --Emma Dean
          --Pisces Rising
          --Becca June
          --Hannah Ruth

General admission is free for the event.  VIP tickets provide covered seating and refreshments and may be purchased for $100.  For more information, visit the NC Local Music website.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Brewgaloo 2014

Brewgaloo 2014 is about to take place on April 26 and the event promises a fun mix of local beer and live music.  Stop by Raleigh's City Plaza from 2-10 for this free event.  Thirty-five North Carolina breweries will be featured at the event including Aviator, Natty Greene's, Big Boss, and Carolina Brewing.

 Setting the scene for enjoying great beer are several bands. Check out the official lineup:

     ~City Plaza stage
          2:00 - 3:00            Matty Begs
          3:30 - 4:30            New Reveille
          5:00 - 6:00            Acoustic Manner
          6:30 - 7:30            Chit Nasty
          8:00 - 10:00          Sensory Expressions
     ~Capitol stage     
          2:30 - 3:30            Outside Soul
          4:00 - 5:00            Atomic Rhythm
          5:30 - 6:30            Laura Reed
          7:00 - 8:00            Inflowential
          8:30 - 10:00          Black Cadillacs

     ~Courthouse Steps           
          2:30 - 5:30            Mickey Mills and Steel
          6:00 - 9:00            Adam Pitts

Taster Cards can be purchased for $5 with five 3 ounce pours or 5 beer tokens for $25.  Food trucks will also be on hand including Hibachi Xpress, American Meltdown, and Only Burger.  

Enjoy some tasty NC beer and live music to support buying local in Raleigh.  For more details, visit the Shop Local Raleigh website.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Brushfire Stankgrass Headlines The Pour House's Free Beer Fest After Party

This Saturday, tons of locals will gather in Moore Square for the World Beer FestThe Pour House is making sure that there is no need for the party to stop there.  Starting at 4 (doors at 3), this always rockin' venue will host the free Beer Fest After Party with Crank Arm Brewing Company beer on special.  Check out the performing bands and times below:

     --4:00 - The Deluge Music
     --6:15 - Moral Support
     --8:30 - The Southern Belles RVA
     --10:30- Brushfire Stankgrass

Headlining the show is Asheville's own Brushfire Stankgrass.  The group mixes electronic music with jazz and bluegrass to create a completely unique sound.  They spend a lot of time touring through the south and sharing their sound with new audiences. Brushfire Stankgrass is known for energetic performances that keep people coming back for more.  The group is comprised of Ben Saylor (banjo, vocals), Will Saylor (guitar), Danny Iannucci (bass), and Micah Thomas (drums).  The Triangle Beat spoke with Brushfire's Ben Saylor about the band's success and future goals. 

TTB:  How did the band come together? 

SAYLOR:  Will and I have been picking together since we were very young. Our mom was a violin teacher, so we each started violin at the age of three. From there, we picked up banjo and guitar at the ages of 10 & 12.  We started to pick up bluegrass gigs in the early 2000's and our own original act sort of spun out from there.  We added a drummer in 2005.  Micah has been with the band since about 2008.  Danny joined full time late last year.

TTB:  Who are the strongest musical influences of the band? 

SAYLOR:  A great variety of influences are reflected in our music.  If I had to pick a songwriting influence it'd probably be John Hartford.  Our rhythm section is strongly influenced by jazz fusion artists like Weather Report.  Will displays a large southern rock influence on guitar, along with flat picking bluegrass heroes like Tony Rice.  A lot of unexpected influences play in - we listen to a tremendous amount of classic hip-hop and even electronica.  

TTB:  Who would be the ultimate artist for you to tour with?

SAYLOR:  Teaming with an established act like Railroad Earth and Yonder Mountain would be ideal for what we're trying to accomplish.  Down the road, it'd be great to show up on some festival bills with some of the big names that are touring right now, like Outkast.
TTB:  Who is the main songwriter for the group?  What is your process for songwriting?
SAYLOR: I am the main writer.  Songwriting comes at different times, sometimes after hours of playing music, sometimes instantaneously.  Lately I have been writing a lot of music using voice memos on my phone while driving.  It's a great way to capture lyrics or melodies that pop into my head.  I've written entire songs by compiling voice memo journal entries.   

TTB: What would you like the public to know about you and your music?

SAYLOR:  We have an awesome live show.  We really take pride in distinguishing our music from other "newgrass/jam" groups that are on the scene today.  Some of the sounds we create using Moog analog electronic effects on our instruments are extremely unique.  Some of the effects I run my banjo through are "firsts" for the banjo.  Ultimately we want people to come expecting a groundbreaking experience at the live show, while simultaneously expecting to hear some great songwriting. And lots of improv, of course.  

TTB:  What are your goals and hopes for your future as musicians? What will come next for Brushfire Stankgrass?

SAYLOR:  We want to play festivals.  Lots of them.  Other than that, we're hard at work on our next studio album and we hope to continue to craft award-winning albums that we can be proud of that change the course of musical history.  Our new album just spent its third month in the top ten on Relix/!


Brushfire's latest album, Microclimates, can be purchased now on their website.  As stated in a recent press release from the group about the album:

     This carefully crafted studio release makes use of many layers of sound, including strings, horns,
     and even some field-recorded nature sounds like crickets, cicadas, and thunderstorms from 
     Southern Appalachia.  There's even somewhat of an environmental call to action theme
     throughout the lyrics: "I don't want to have my bones lying in the sand of some alien looking
     landscape, it's worth it for our sake to change." The use of analog electronic processors for banjo
     and guitar, the electronic effects never before used on a banjo, help to create their very distinct
     sound.  Microclimates was self-produced, and features several locally well-known musicians,
     including an appearance by Phillip Barker of Town Mountain. 

Brushfire Stankgrass will take the stage around 10:30 this Saturday. Come out to The Pour House for a full day of sun, great music, and tasty beer.  Don't forget, it's a free event, so that leaves more money for beer!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

American Authors Show Review

The scene encountered at Cat's Cradle this past Sunday was not one that was expected for such an early show start.  It was merely 7:45 and the venue was already packed from one wall to the next, all the way back to the bar.  All of these people were crowded into the club to see three upbeat bands: Oh Honey, Wild Cub, and American Authors.

Oh Honey took the stage first.  This duo, comprised of Mitchy Collins and Danielle Bouchard, call Brooklyn, NY home.  Just as their name suggests, they are harmonious and sweet, bringing a positive energy to their set. They shared a few beautifully crafted original songs with comfort and ease and then bid farewell for the evening.

Next on the stage was Nashville based, Wild Cub.  For one member of the group, this was more than just another show, it was a hometown gathering.  Guitarist Jeremy Bullock grew up in Raleigh and attended UNCW; the local support was obvious as the band took the stage.  Bullock joined forces with songwriter and composer Keegan DeWitt to create this band, along with drummer Dabney Morris, bassist Harry West, and Eric Wilson on the keys.  Their hit song "Thunder Clatter" appears on Youth, the group's debut album and is played in rotation on SiriusXM's AltNation.  The band has made some major appearances at SXSW and on Jimmy Fallon.  On stage, the quintet shares a natural chemistry with one another and exudes a contagious enthusiasm.  They genuinely interact with the crowd while performing their danceable songs. Sometimes openers are easy to ignore, but this was not the case with Wild Cub.  Instead, they revved up the crowd, got everyone moving, and built more anticipation for the headlining artists.

Brooklyn based band, American Authors performed at The Kid's Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday and flew the red-eye to give the Triangle an unforgettable show.  Common sense hints that the members must have been exhausted, but there were no signs of this on stage.

The group broke into "Luck", a song that expresses that guilty struggle of growing up and leaving family behind.  The tune hits home for most listeners with lyrics, "Some birds aren't meant to be caged" reminding us all that we must fly from the nest in order to lead our own lives.  Even though this song discusses an inner struggle, it still manages to give off a positive vibe and hope for an independent future.  This sentiment is further expressed with their next song, "Believer."  This track is first on their new album, Oh, What a Life, and is one of their more popular tunes.  The crowd sings along as frontman Zac Barnett encourages them to sing into the mic and clap along to the quick beat.  The night rolls on with every song from the album being covered, including "Home" and "Trouble", plus a bonus cover of Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise."

At this point, Barnett takes a seat at the edge of the stage and asks if the crowd will sing the next song with him.  Of course, the group is happy to oblige.  He gets the crowd started with an a capella, "Hey ey ey ey ey ey!" First, the front row sings, then the rest of the fans join in with enthusiastic chanting.  The band members, James Adam Shelley, David Rublin, and Matt Sanchez, chime in with their instruments.  The sing along continues throughout the entire song, the crowd sings as one with Barnett.

The final two songs are the most energetic and upbeat of the album, "Hit It" and "Best Day of My Life." As with the entire set, the fans cheer, sing, and dance to these high-energy tracks with the encouragement of Barnett.  The group thanks the audience, bids farewell, and goes back stage.  Of course, the crowd chants for an encore.  Thankfully, the group doesn't disappoint and they finish the show with the same song that completes and titles their album, "Oh, What a Life."  As the title implies, this song reflects on the blessings in life, enjoying all events, positive and negative.  This is a fitting end for the show because this is the overall feeling American Authors leaves with an audience; have some fun, dance a jig and enjoy life.

Beyond the music and high-energy performance, this group was refreshing.  Even though they have had some rather large success recently, they were repeatedly thankful that people spent their hard-earned money on their show.  This is not the type of band that performs to make money, it was clear that they love being on stage for their fans and to share music that they believe in.

This was American Author's first sold-out show in North Carolina.  They are quickly rising to fame and will soon be selling-out much larger venues.  If you get a chance to see them, please do.  To buy their album or read more about American Authors, check out their website.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

North Carolina Music Festivals

With the start of spring and major music festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza months away, North Carolina has a number of music festivals in the upcoming weeks that are sure to satisfy all of your musical needs.  The Triangle Beat has you covered on who is playing when and where.


If you are looking for an opportunity to experience great music and coastal living, the Azalea Music Festival is the place to be.  Located in Wilmington, NC, this five day event is sure to provide visitors with a snapshot of what makes Wilmington one of North Carolina's most popular destinations.  The Azalea Festival is a celebration of Wilmington's rich history, local artists, and great music.  Known for bringing in artists like the Avett Brothers and Brad Paisley, this year's lineup is highlighted by a night of country music stars followed by a performance from one of the greatest rock bands and live performers today.  On Thursday, April 10, the country music trio of Justin Moore, Randy Hauser, and Josh Thompson will be taking the stage.  On Friday and Saturday, Widespread Panic will play a two-night show to conclude this year's festival.  Known as one of the greatest jam bands, Widespread Panic is sure to bring a performance to the Azalea Festival that will be unlike any other.  Ticket information and more can be found at


Located just miles outside of Chapel Hill, the Shikori Hills Grassroots Festival will get under way on April 17.  Known for being a musical escape from everyday life in the Triangle, Shikori Hill's lineup features a wide range of acts that will provide yet another great festival experience.  Highlighting this year's festival are the Indigo Girls, The Del McCoury Band, and Donna the Buffalo.  Other artists performing over the 4 days include Ben Sollee, Big Fat Gap, Phil Cook and The Guitarheels and many more.  In addition to the great music you'll find at Shikori Hills, there will be several local craft and food vendors to help you make the most of Shikori Hills. Ticket and festival information can be found at


Proclaimed as the synthesis of technology, art and music, Moogfest 2014 is set to provide a wide arrangement of entertainment for all those looking to check out Asheville during this five day event. Created in 2004 to honor the contributions to electronic music by Bob Moog, this year's festival is providing participants with more talent than ever.  Not only will there be a focus on great music by the likes of Kraftwork 3D, M.I.A, Pet Shop Boys, Dan Deacon, and Flying Lotus, this year features more opportunities for the exchanging of ideas through the inclusion of discussion panels, workshops, and film.  Moogfest offers a wide variety of ticket packages and day passes for those interested in being a part of what is sure to be a unique experience. For tickets and other information, check out


Originally started to honor Merle Watson in 1988, the MerleFest Music Festival is celebrating 25 years of great music this year.  Nestled in the hills of Wilkes county, Wilkes Community College serves as the grounds for this family friendly event. The festival will be host to over 130 different acts covering the span of the four day festival with several big name acts headlining each evening.  Starting with Thursday, the release of a bluegrass album this past year brings Alan Jackson to MerleFest as well as The Carolina Chocolate Drops and Holly Williams.  Friday is highlighted by the Steep Canyon Rangers, Keller Williams, and Old Crow Medicine Show.  Saturday features Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, who will be playing at Merlefest for the first time since 2008. Closing out the festival on Sunday will be a special performance by Merle Haggard, Jim Avett, Dailey and Vincent, and local artist Mandolin Orange.  Tickets for MerleFest are still available at