Archives for category: Music Maniac

1a8a3857The Hibernian Restaurant and Pub has two locations in Wake County: one location in North Raleigh and another in Cary. Both locations have events and live music during the week. I took a trip to the Cary location to take in live music in the warm, cozy atmosphere that the venue offers. The venue is a comfortable place to sit down, enjoy great food and beverages and listen to fantastic local bands, and especially in the fall and in the winter to warm up.

1a8a3851Check out live music at the Cary location on the weekends, featuring music from talented local bands (playing covers and originals). The layout has an intimate feel with private booths, tables around corners and plenty of seats to enjoy the live music from. Wherever you sit, the music is always at a comfortable volume. Be sure to check out the “library” section with a fireplace while you’re there!

1a8a3845The Hibernian Restaurant and Pub has a large variety of draft brews to choose from and specials every day, along with a late night menu to attend to your late night cravings. Lonerider Brewing Company and Aviator Brewing Company brews have been spotted on draft at the pub! The dinner menu features Irish fare that includes corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash and more. The late-night food menu features mouthwatering items such as “cattleman’s nachos,” a pub burger, black bean burger, bacon cheddar pub chips and more. See full menus here.

1a8a38251a8a3834Both locations have many events every month, which you can find here! For a full schedule of Greater Raleigh live music events, check out the music calendar at visitRaleigh.com! With so many events going on at so many music venues, Greater Raleigh has the most live music out of any destination in North Carolina.

All photos in this post contributed by Kristen Hill of Kristen Abigail Photography.

BBSignEvery second and fourth Mon. of each month, Busy Bee Cafe in downtown Raleigh hosts the PineCone Bluegrass Jam in its event space called The Hive.

hiveThe Hive is the bar above Busy Bee Cafe. It offers local craft beers from Carolina Brewing Company and Big Boss Brewing Company to enjoy while you listen to the various musicians that are featured there.

hive2The PineCone Bluegrass Jam is an event organized by the PineCone, Piedmont Council of Traditional Music. PineCone is a downtown Raleigh-based non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, presenting and promoting all forms of traditional music, dance and other folk performing arts. Since the organization’s founding in 1984, it has hosted concerts, jam sessions, a bluegrass radio show on the 94.7 QDR radio station, youth music camps, workshops, consultation services for emerging artists among other events to help make the community aware of traditional music. The organization is sponsored by the City of Raleigh Arts Commision and the North Carolina Arts Council.

hive3The Bluegrass Jam runs from 7-10pm and is open to musicians of all levels and ages. PineCone developed the event to offer a practice mechanism for musicians (of all skill levels) and to entertain the customers in local restaurants. The Bluegrass Jam was originally formed in 2006 and was held at Big Boss Tavern, but moved to Busy Bee Cafe a few years ago. The Bluegrass Jam is lead by Doug Pratt, who primarily plays dobro, and David Hedrick, who plays acoustic guitar. For more information and to learn how to sign up for the Bluegrass Jam group, you can visit PineCone’s website here. If you’re not a musician, be sure to hear great bluegrass music at these jams. You’ll hear some very impressive and talented musicians play!

hive4PineCone, Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, hosts many events, which you can find here! For a full schedule of Greater Raleigh live music events, check out the music calendar at visitRaleigh.com!

Written by Kristen Hill. All photos in this post contributed by Kristen Hill of Kristen Abigail Photography.

1a8a0587Schoolkids Records, was the first indie record store in Wake County and remains an active part of the music scene, even in this age of digital music.

1a8a0566Owner and manager Stephen Judge has seen the store become a historical business throughout its 40 years of operation. Stephen, a North Carolina State University grad, worked at Schoolkids Records while he was in college, and after spending some time managing bands he returned to the store due to his love of the area and to help support the local music scene.

1a8a0569Schoolkids Records keeps about 50 percent of the store stocked with vinyl records. More people are buying digitally, but a demand for vinyl records has recently been growing. On Record Store Day this year, the store had about a two-hour wait line full of customers waiting get into the store to shop for albums and to celebrate the day. Schoolkids Records stocks the largest selection of vinyl records in Wake County. They support music of many genres, including alternative rock, indie, bluegrass and metal, with as many albums as possible coming from local musicians. The staff is knowledgeable about new music arrivals, performances in the local area and what to recommend to fans of just about any genre. Their friendliness also makes you feel at home as you browse the large selection of music.

1a8a0576A large handful of local musicians, such as Once and Future Kings, Jack the Radio and Chatham County Line, stock Schoolkids Records with their albums, so the store is a great place to find great local music. Throughout the store, there are many places to sample new music and give bands that you may have never heard of a listen before you buy an album. 

1a8a0570“Well-known musicians such as Robert Plant, The Avett Brothers and Mutemath have made Schoolkids Records a stopping point if they are touring in N.C.,” says Stephen. Bands such as Delta Rae (Raleigh natives), Best Coast and Bad Veins have played on the stage in Schoolkid’s Records as the store hosts in-store performances.

1a8a0581Schookids Records has been around since 1973 and has seen cassette tapes, vinyl records and cd’s come through its store. Schoolkids Records is a contributor to the first successes for well-known bands such as Superchunk, Ryan Adams and Ben Folds. Schoolkids Records is also one of the founders of The Coalition of Independent Music Stores.

1a8a0575The store also buys used CD’s and vinyl records. When they receive popular albums, it is common for them to post online about the record being in stock. Stephen mentioned that he has seen some used albums sell as quickly as 10 minutes due to the power of their Facebook page.

1a8a0594Schoolkids Records is proud to sell tickets to some concerts that will be at local venues such as The Ritz, Lincoln Theatre and King’s Barcade. They also list new albums that will be coming to their store and local shows coming up.

Written by Kristen Hill. All photographs contributed in this post by Kristen Hill of Kristen Abigail Photography.

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Tir na nOg Irish Pub
in Moore Square hosts diverse crowds as it offers different events everyday. Sun. is the PineCone Irish Jam Session, Mon. is comedy night, Fri. and Sat. nights offer local Celtic and Irish music and/or local DJ’s. Local Band-Local Beer is every Thurs. night, starting at 9:30pm. WKNC 88.1 and Younger Brother Productions book North Carolina musicians to play on the Tir na nOg Irish Pub stage as music lovers enjoy N.C. craft beers. Big Boss Brewing Company and Aviator Brewing Company are among the large selection of draft and craft beers the venue has on tap. The bar is in the center of the pub with friendly and knowledgeable bartenders awaiting beer lovers.

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Tir na nOg Irish Pub’s layout was thoughtfully planned out as the stage area is separated from the restaurant seating so that you can also enjoy the delicious Irish- and European-style food on the pub’s menu.

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This past Thurs. Eddie Taylor from the band Cousins, Jews and Catholics and Octopus Jones all shared the Tir na nOg Irish Pub stage.

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Octopus Jones
is a four-piece band from Raleigh. They like to call themselves a psychedelic, boogie rock band. Their instruments, including synthesizers and electric guitars, create a sound that gets their audience dancing as much as the band.

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Octopus Jones has been together since 2010 and is made up of Danny Martin on lead vocals and guitar, Tyler Morris on guitar and vocals, Clay Carlisle on bass and Darrin Cripe on drums. Their first album was released in 2011 and is called “Treat Yourself.” They’re releasing their new album in the next few months! Danny’s outgoing personality encourages the audience to cheer with “spirit fingers” and excites them enough to want an encore. They perform about once a month in Raleigh, so if you’re looking for a different music experience, be sure to check them out! You can find their live schedule here.

Tir na nOg Irish Pub has different musicians and you can find their event schedule here. For a full schedule of Greater Raleigh live music events, check out Music Mania on visitRaleigh.com!

Written by Kristen Hill. All photos in this post contributed by Kristen Hill of Kristen Abigail Photography.

1A8A8011Southland Ballroom, in the Glenwood South downtown Raleigh district, welcomes Music Maniacs looking for live music. The venue is located right behind ComedyWorx off of N. West Str. and holds about 350 people.

When I walked into the venue I felt like I was walking into a warehouse. Once you pass through admission, you enter into a large room with a bar lining a long wall and a few booths for comfortable seating around a table to enjoy drinks from the bar. The bar features craft beers from Carolina Brewing Company, Lonerider Brewing Company and Big Boss Brewing Company and a large selection of mixed drinks. The venue also has some outdoor patio seating.

1A8A7996The venue has a rustic but casual feel with intimate lighting and a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. And the stage is lit up with many colorful lights to spotlight the musicians perfectly.

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1A8A8002Southland Ballroom mainly hosts touring bands of the electronic, folk, bluegrass and punk genres. On Thurs. they welcomed Gaelic Storm to their stage, which stopped in Greater Raleigh on their current U.S. tour.

1A8A7960Gaelic Storm is a Celtic-rock band that consists of Patrick Murphy on lead vocals, Steve Twigger on lead guitar and vocals, Ryan Lacey on percussion, Pete Purvis on bagpipes and Kiana Weber on violin.

1A8A7983Gaelic Storm originated in Santa Monica, Cali., when Patrick and Steve collaborated starting in 1995. They started their music career by playing for friends, but then appeared in the movie Titanic (1997) as a Celtic party band, which increased their popularity, triggering them to start recording their music.

1A8A7989Gaelic Storm has produced nine records containing ballads and anthems that tell stories about their memories of their homes in Ireland. The group has diverse backgrounds in music which has lead them to incorporate different instruments in their shows such as mandolin, Irish whistle and accordion. The band highly encouraged their listeners to sing and clap along with their songs during their show. Southland Ballroom was an excellent venue to experience Gaelic Storm, with its laid back feel, top-notch sound and entertaining lighting.

Southland Ballroom has music almost every night of the week and hosts many great bands like Gaelic Storm. You can check out their schedule here. For a full schedule of Greater Raleigh live music events, check out Music Mania on visitRaleigh.com!

Written by Kristen Hill. All photos in this post contributed by Kristen Hill of Kristen Abigail Photography.

ImageThere’s no doubt that Taylor Swift is one of today’s most popular and talked-about pop, rock and country music stars. And there’s no doubt that PNC Arena has hosted many of the hottest musicians in history, and has also impressed thousands of Music Maniacs with its superior design and sound. Fri. night, six-time Grammy-award winner Taylor Swift’s “wow”-factor Red Tour, her fans and the 20,000-seat PNC Arena collided. The connection produced an unforgettable night of live music that will go down as an exceptional highlight in Greater Raleigh’s live music history.

Taylor Swift 6(See more of our Taylor Swift with special guest Ed Sheeran PNC Arena concert photos below)

I’ve seen stellar concerts at PNC Arena from Billy Joel to Katy Perry, and there’s no experience like seeing your favorite artists fill a 700,000-sq.-ft. venue with their stellar live shows. On top of the massive setting and big sound, even as Taylor Swift said herself Fri. night, crowds at shows in N.C. are some of the loudest, craziest and most wonderful. There’s no concert experience like a concert experience in N.C. and in Greater Raleigh.

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Photo courtesy of PNC Arena

Fri. evening, I made my way to PNC Arena as early as possible to soak in the scene. I saw that crowds of Taylor Swift’s fans had already arrived donning red clothes, in spirit of the Red Tour’s red theme. And since the arena permits tailgating, I heard fans blasting Taylor Swift’s tunes from their vehicles and I could smell grilled hot dogs and hamburgers in sections of the parking lot (see PNC Arena’s policies for more information on tailgating at the venue). But as the show’s 7pm starting time drew nearer, Taylor time drew nearer. The arena filled with fans.

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I love the arena’s design as even at sold-out shows, like Fri. night’s, the concourses never feel cramped. There’s plenty of space to shop for tour merchandise and to grab a bite to eat. A nice variety of food and beverage is offered with more than 50 outlets to choose from. Fine dining is offered at the Arena Club Restaurant, perfect for dates, celebrations and more and casual dining is offered at outlets including N.C. BBQ Company, Fire It Up! Grill Stands, Market Place and more. Fuel up with delicious food and drink for a night of dancing and singing!

Concessions 1Tour merchandise is always fun to shop, and sometimes tours even have special displays. Taylor Swift’s Red Tour had displays showing off many of her outfits worn on awards shows, previous tours and music videos (her dress from the 2012 ACM Awards, her dress from the 2012 AMA Awards and the outfit she wore in the “Mean” music video and also during the Speak Now World Tour).

When I made my way to my seat, friendly ushers and staff pointed me in the right direction. I’m always impressed by the Southern hospitality and helpful nature of the staff at PNC Arena. And the noticeable camaraderie between its staff creates an even more positive, family-like atmosphere where you can easily feel at home.

The concert kicked off right at 7pm with Casey James, known for his American Idol days and for his singles including “Crying on a Suitcase” and “Let’s Don’t Call It a Night.” Casey James’s voice and his deep, warm Fender Stratocaster sounds rang through the arena along with the sounds of his full band, which included a pedal steel player on a Mullen pedal steel, a drummer, a keyboardist and a bassist. Being the Music Maniac that I am, I was intrigued by Casey’s slide guitar playing when he rocked his electric resonator guitar for his song “Drive.”

Casey JamesAfter Casey James’s set, the stage was set for singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran, known popularly for his hit “The A Team” and virtuoso songwriting skills. No band or accompaniment was present for the set—just Mr. Sheeran, his guitar and a loop pedal.

Ed Sheeran 1With the acoustics in the arena and the fullness of his playing and sound, Ed Sheeran filled the entire venue with his full voice and guitar, playing on his Martin LX1E electric acoustic.

Ed Sheeran 3Ed Sheeran laid out percussion parts and beats on his guitar and used his Boss loop pedal to loop the beats, which made it sound like there was a full band on stage. With the arena’s enormous sub-woofers and sound system, when he hit his guitar in the right place, it sounded like he hit a bass drum. At one point, he explained to the audience how his loop pedal worked. He connected greatly with the audience so when he urged the audience to sing along, the fans followed and the audience became a chorus, which sounded beautiful throughout the arena.

Ed Sheeran 2He also mentioned the great time he was having in Raleigh! Ed Sheeran played songs including “Give Me Love,” “Lego House” and “The A Team.”

Ed Sheeran 4Soon after Ed Sheeran’s satisfying and entertaining set, the moment came that the Taylor Swift fans had been waiting for. The massive stage was completely set for Taylor Swift’s production and energy was buzzing with everyone’s eyes fixated on the stage. Lenny Kravitz’s rendition of The Guess Who’s “American Woman” began to blast through the venue’s sound system (appropriate as Tom Petty’s “American Girl” was the song played right before the 2011 Speak Now World Tour shows) and upon ending, in capital, red letters, the word “RED” appeared on the screens on the stage. The crowd erupted in screams and cheers. The screens lifted into the air and Taylor’s silhouette could be seen on a massive red drape hiding the majority of the stage. The drape fell and the cheers grew louder as Taylor appeared. The first song started and she made her way down the stage and to the catwalk that extended into the middle of the arena floor.

Taylor Swift 1Taylor Swift kicked off the night with her song “State of Grace” and went into hit after hit, the crowd screaming and singing along to each song.

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Taylor Swift 5Her production filled the entire arena, with a main stage with the catwalk, a stage she performed several songs near the back of the arena (including a duet with Ed Sheeran on their hit single “Everything Has Changed”), a “floating” stage that “flew” through the arena and more. PNC Arena was the perfect fit for a production like this, with its four-level seating making every one of Taylor’s stages easy to see.

Throughout the night, Taylor went from full band, to solo, to parts where she explained the meaning of the songs she was about to play. Throughout it all, she created an intimate setting where she could connect with her fans. She would reach into the audience to shake her fans’ hands and give Red Tour guitar picks to them. And before one of her songs, she sat at her red piano and explained to the audience her passion for writing lyrics that she genuinely feels, and that she’ll sometimes writes songs between the hours of 2am and 5am about deep emotions and thoughts.

Each song featured a theatrical, visual theme, with one song having almost a “Nutcracker” theme with the dancers dressed as life-size, wind-up toys that entered the stage from a giant, old-fashioned toy box. Another song featured a masquerade ball theme.

The concert ended with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” as Taylor Swift, her band and her dancers rocked circus-themed costumes with Taylor appropriately dressed as the ring master. Confetti flew threw the air, dancers walked about on stilts, Taylor wailed with beautiful vocal runs and high notes and the song was even extended as the closing number came to an end. The arena, the concert, the artists, the fans, the atmosphere and the sound all created an unforgettable night of live music.

PNC Arena is a place where you can experience artists bringing their theatrical visions and dreams to life all while filling the arena with their music. And you’ll always feel the Greater Raleigh vibe at concerts at the arena with the staff’s Southern hospitality, N.C. barbecue to dine on, fun Southern energy and North Carolina State University and Carolina Hurricanes NHL hockey team visuals throughout the venue.

Check out the upcoming shows and events coming to PNC Arena here, including Michael Bublé, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake and more.

Music-mania-web-header-2With the tremendous amount of live music events going on, Greater Raleigh has the most live music out of any destination in N.C. Check out the live music calendar at visitRaleigh.com to start planning your music-filled getaway.

1a8a6973The Pour House Music Hall, located in the Moore Square Art District in downtown Raleigh, has brought together great musicians from all over N.C. and the U.S. over the past fifteen years. If you’re a Music Maniac catching live music in Greater Raleigh, this venue is definitely a “must-experience” for visitors.

The Pour House Music Hall is known not only for its large amount of support for local bands, but also local breweries. The venue offers local brews that they regularly have on tap, such as beers from Big Boss Brewing Company, White Street Brewing Company and Lonerider Brewing Company. There are usually one or two bartenders available to refill your glass as you listen to bands in all kinds of genres.

1a8a6971Last Sun., The Pour House Music Hall hosted a few of the many musicians that came to Raleigh for Hopscotch Music Festival 2013. The venue held an after-party that brought together area bands like The Chit Nasty Band and Nuclear Honey to rock the stage.

1a8a6848Gray Henderson, one of the lead vocalists and guitarists of Nuclear Honey, describes The Pour House Music Hall as being a centrally located venue in downtown Raleigh with a dive bar feel. The environment is friendly and suits about 100 fans. On the first floor, it has some bench seating and a few tables and barstools arranged closer to the bar area.

1a8a6867The venue also has some standing room around the stage for a different view of the band and for easy access to the second floor, which features an open view of the first floor and stage and two pool tables to entertain in between sets.

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1a8a6901Gray also mentioned that Nuclear Honey has performed about five or six times at The Pour House Music Hall because of the staff, the stage, the sound and the atmosphere. He also explained, “Adam Lindstaedt, the owner, is attentive to bands that he hosts in his venue and Jac Cain, the production manager and sound engineer, provides great sound for bands that play and for concertgoers.” The venue rocks a loud sound system, but the tones are not harsh to the ear, making it a great venue for music fans take in the musical textures and musical colors that many of the bands offer.

1a8a6952Nuclear Honey has been together since the fall of 2011 when Gray Henderson and Reaves Greer, the other lead guitarist and vocalist, brought their talents together as a duo. They recorded their first album in 2012 but decided to bring on a more full sound with Michael Day on keyboard, Kenan Jernigan on drums and Webb Bostic on bass, making up the band they recorded their first full-length album with, which is titled “Nobody Panic.”

1a8a6926The band is intriguing to listen to and entertains throughout the entire set with a good variety of Southern rock and rock sounds and moods. The band features soothing instrumental solos throughout the set and the albums. The energy is very upbeat and you’re likely to be enticed to dance with their infectious rhythms.

1a8a6908Nuclear Honey mainly performs in Raleigh, so I’d highly recommend catching them at their next show! And The Pour House Music Hall hosts many bands of different genres almost every day of the week! You can check out its schedule here.

For a full schedule of Greater Raleigh live music events, check out Music Mania on visitRaleigh.com!

Written by Kristen Hill. All photos in this post contributed by Kristen Hill of Kristen Abigail Photography.

Kings Barcade in downtown Raleigh is recognized for being a melting pot for entertainers: musicians and comedians combined. Kings Barcade is located on the top floor of a three-story building at 14 W. Martin St. The venue is partnered with Neptunes Parlour, which is an underground bar that features a different DJ every night. And on the second floor, Garland just recently opened to give you an outdoor place to eat before you enjoy the show up at Kings Barcade.

The crowd that Kings Barcade attracts is a quirky mix, which coincides with the way that the venue is set up. The venue has a lot of fun decorations and paintings on the walls that give the venue an artistic, creative feel.

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Fans have a chance to experience a more personal setting with the artists because the venue has a capacity of 100. The stage has hosted well-known artists such as Rob Delaney, The Avett Brothers, The Felice Brothers and many local musicians since Kings Barcade opened back in 1999. Kings Barcade also has a small corner when you walk through the doors where you can purchase merchandise and interact with the musicians.

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While enjoying the live music, the Kings Barcade bar holds about 20 seats around it and offers a variety of mixed drinks and craft beers, including brews from Fuquay-Varina’s Aviator Brewing Company. The bartenders are very friendly and are knowledgeable about the beers that they have on tap!

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Sat. night, Raleigh artists Saints Apollo released their album “We Are Ghosts.” Chris Hendricks, also from Raleigh, opened the evening and got the crowd ready to hear the new sounds that Saints Apollo had prepared. Together, Kings Barcade and Saints Apollo packed the house with all the promoting that both the venue and the musicians did by posting eye-catching posters around town and by publicizing the performance on Facebook and Twitter.

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Chris Hendricks is a pop and rock artist and usually performs with a five-piece band, but Sat. night he performed an acoustic set with Calin Nanney, who is also another local musician. You may recognize Chris’s voice as his song “Noise” was the theme song for the Carolina Hurricanes NHL hockey team during their 2011-2012 season. Earlier this year, Chris released his most recent album “Meant to Survive,” and at the show he performed all the songs from that album, plus a few other songs. During a brief interview with Chris, I asked him if he is planning on recording a new album soon, and he explained that right now he is writing a lot of music but has no plans to record again in the near future. Although, he did say that he loves performing for live audiences, and especially in Raleigh because he gets to share the stage with other bands that are supportive of his music.

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Saints Apollo contains five people: Jonathan Koo on lead vocals and guitar, Autumn Brand on violin and vocals, Kaitlin Grady on cello and vocals, Rachel Broadbent on keyboard and vocals and Andrew Fetch on drums. The group was formed in Raleigh and has been together since 2011. The band collaborates to write all of the songs they perform and they primarily fall into the indie, pop and folk genres, much like Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band or Mount Moriah. Sat. night, the band invited a few of their closest fans and friends up on stage for their first song “Hashin’ it Out” to dance in the background and to get the rest of their fans to put on their dancing shoes. Jonathan carries a strong folk tone throughout all of their songs while Autumn, Kaitlin and Rachel bring in lush harmonies with their voices and instruments, and Andrew adds the catchy beat that will keep your feet tapping along with the songs.

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Kaitlin Grady, their cellist and one of the vocalists, mentioned that she loves performing at Kings Barcade because of the intimate setting and it allows her to be on the same stage as a lot of her favorite indie bands.

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The last time that Saints Apollo performed was in Mar. as they wanted to dedicate their free time to recording this past spring and summer, but they are very excited to be booking more shows for the rest of this year. Saints Apollo will be performing during Hopscotch Music Festival 2013 next Sat. at Tir Na NOg Irish Pub. The energy that the band gives out really invites the crowd to join in with clapping and singing along, and it is something you do not want to miss out on.

Check out other bands like Saints Apollo and more at Kings Barcade, with its intimate and energetic atmosphere. You can check out their calendar here.

Written by Kristen Hill. All photos in this post contributed by Kristen Hill with Kristen Abigail Photography.

North Carolina Museum of Art is known for displaying the highest quality of art in its world-class collection, including more than 30 Rodin sculptures. It’s also known for presenting some of the highest quality concerts and events in its Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater in the Museum Park. Mix an outdoor theater with an excellent artistic landscape and design, delicious food and drinks, live music and a film screening, and you have a setting that will intrigue both Music Maniacs and Creative Geniuses. Sat. night’s Summer Concert at North Carolina Museum of Art included a performance by the Cajun music-influence rock band Lost Bayou Ramblers and a screening of Beasts of the Southern Wild. And the tie-in between the band and the movie was perfect: Lost Bayou Ramblers recorded a song called “The Bathtub” for the film’s official soundtrack and included the song in their set! The event was exceptionally visually and sonically entertaining for myself and the entire audience! The whole experience, from start to finish, offered a wide array of visual and audible art.

ImageI arrived at the museum early so I could take in the scene. Walking down the pathway into the theater, you can get some great views of the Museum Park at North Carolina Museum of Art, a 164-acre park with a trail system with outdoor art along the way. I highly suggest to get to the venue about an hour early to walk through some of Museum Park!

ImageAs you make your way through the entrance of the theater area, you can see the gigantic museum building that’s full of galleries to your left and the amphitheater and outdoor movie screen (pictured below) straight ahead. Right when I walked in, my stomach starting growling as I took in the aroma of food cooking at the Iris, the Museum Restaurant, catering tent nearby. I took a peek at the food and beverages being offered. The venue offered house wines, craft beer, soft drinks and gourmet fare including grilled chicken sandwiches, white cheddar bacon burgers, catch of the day soft tacos and more. And since the night was New Orleans-themed, due to the Beasts of the Southern Wild screening later and the Cajun music-influence band about to play, the venue’s food special was shrimp po’ boys. Many attendees either purchased food or brought in their own food (the venue lets you take in your own picnic).

I made my way around the theater to take in the different views of the stage and the film screen. The lawn was full of blankets and portable outdoor chairs as the museum also welcomes you to bring in seating for comfort if you’re sitting on the lawn. The seats in front of the stage were also full of attendees who wanted to be close to the stage.

ImageThe concert started at 7pm sharp. Lost Bayou Ramblers cranked up and broke into a rocking song that influenced much of the crowd to start dancing. The constant pulse and Cajun music-influenced grooves caused more and more of the audience to move throughout the night, and by the time the show was coming to an end the area immediately in front of the stage was a complete dance floor. The infectious fiddle sound, mixed with swinging vocals, accordion, an electric bass, a full drum set, occasional lap steel and very well-written originals and traditional songs, kept the crowd glued to the performance all evening. Cheers and applause erupted throughout the night.

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I absolutely loved the mix of this band’s sound and the venue. The amphitheater stage is a work of art in itself. The lighting also made the stage a sight to see. The volume was perfect. It wasn’t too loud and not too quiet, and the wailing violin and lap steel tones came through very smoothly. And due to the size and space of the amphitheater, you could be right at the front of the stage and still hear every detail in the musical arrangements clearly (which was important for Lost Bayou Ramblers with their textured arrangements). The venue was naturally a good fit for the show and the showing of Beasts of the Southern Wild as vegetation and greenery can be seen throughout the venue. Not to mention, the weather couldn’t have been better. With the fall coming soon, there was a cooling breeze and a clear sky.

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ImageLost Bayou Ramblers played until about 8:20pm, and the crowd cheered for the band! The museum then announced that the film would begin at 9pm and the crowd made its way to the massive outdoor screen. The film began and the crowd became lost in the film.

ImageNorth Carolina Museum of Art presents concerts throughout the summer, and the next concert will feature the genre-crossing “little orchestra” Pink Martini. The Lost Bayou Ramblers and Southern Beasts of the Wild event was the last concert-plus-film-screening event of the summer, but be sure to check out the upcoming Pink Martini show to experience this excellent venue! Click here for more upcoming events. The museum also announced at the event that the museum will be showing classic car-related films like The French Connection and even Car Wash during the time that the Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed exhibition is on display, Oct. 12, 2013-Jan. 20, 2014.

Music-mania-web-header-2Greater Raleigh is full of great concerts and music events this summer. In the month ahead, visit the area for Hopscotch Music Festival 2013, SPARKcon 2013, International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass including PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass, Bluegrass Ramble and more and hot concerts at area venues.

With all of the events that are going on, it may come as no surprise that Greater Raleigh has more live music than any other destination in N.C.! Check out a full calendar of events at www.visitRaleigh.com/musicmania!

Tir na nOg Irish Pub
With a prime location on Raleigh’s Moore Square, Tir na nOg Irish Pub is part restaurant, part bar and part venue. You can catch a live band, typically of the Irish persuasion, there just about any night of the week. For the past several years, Tir na nOg has teamed up with WKNC, Raleigh’s premier college music station, on Thurs. nights for Local Band, Local Beer featuring—you guessed it—local bands on stage and a local beer on tap. Visit wknc.org/lblb for details.

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Sadlack’s Heroes
Located just across the street from North Carolina State University’s campus, Sadlack’s has a bit of a split personality. What appears to be a quaint sandwich shop by day transforms at nightfall to a raucous bar and music venue. Leave the kids at home and get your people watching on while you listen to local bands on the outdoor patio. A number of acts have gotten their start at Sadlack’s, so stop on by to see who could be the next big thing.

42nd St. Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill
One of Raleigh’s oldest restaurants, 42nd St. Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill has been shucking oysters since 1932. On top of the restaurant’s culinary draws, they also offer live music on Fri. and Sat. nights. You won’t catch any big name artists here (Bag O Boogie, anyone?) but it offers a fantastic soundtrack as you unwind with friends at the end of the week.

Aviator Brewing Tap House
It’s hard to resist the notion of an afternoon at the old train depot, drinking locally brewed beer while a live band plays. At the Aviator Brewing Tap House, you get just that. The sister establishment to the Aviator Brewing Company brewery down the road, the tap house serves up some of Aviator’s best brews (at a very precise 47 degrees F for optimal flavor) in the old Varina train depot, which dates back to 1903. Live music Thurs. through Sun. only enhances the atmosphere.

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Written by Valerie Marino, blogger: TriangleMusicblog.com

Greater Raleigh boasts a massive collection of great live-music restaurants. Browse through the visitRaleigh.com database to find a restaurant that suits you! More “must-mentions” are Irregardless Cafe and Busy Bee in Raleigh and Doherty’s Irish Pub & Restaurant and Hibernian Restaurant & Pub in Cary.

The shows don’t stop this summer. With the most live music out of any destination in N.C., you’re bound to find your groove in Greater Raleigh. Take in a summer of wall-to-wall music!

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