Archives for posts with tag: live music

North Carolina Museum of Art is a fascinating place.

Open to the public since 1956, the museum moved into its current 181,000-square-foot home, East Building, on Blue Ridge Rd. in 1983. East Building features a wide variety of rotating exhibitions.

2010 saw the $76.8-million construction of West Building, providing an additional 127,000-square-foot space to permanently house the museum’s collections. Those collections include an impressive display of European Renaissance paintings, Egyptian funerary art and international contemporary art.

They also include one of only two permanent Jewish art displays in an American museum.

The North Carolina Museum of Art sits on 164 acres, which it has turned into the largest museum art park in the country. The Museum Park contains a dozen sculptures, two miles of trails, picnic areas and the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater, which presents one of the greatest concert series in the state.

NCMA lawnThe Museum Park Theater is a welcoming outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of 2,500 people (500 reserved seating, 2,000 lawn). The venue sells four different canned beers and wine by the glass and bottle. The Museum Park Theater encourages visitors to bring outside food, blankets and chairs. Coming to a show? Be prepared to picnic!

NCMA stage
NCMA patioAs a courtesy to guests, the North Carolina Museum of Art sends out an email the day of the show answering most potential questions about the event.

On July 12, famed singer-songwriters Iris Dement and Loudon Wainwright III co-headlined the bill, the latest in a line of legends to have graced the stage in the Raleigh summertime. The heat of the day gave way to a pleasant evening, temperatures in the upper 70s with a mellow breeze meandering through the crowd as Iris Dement walked on stage at 8pm sharp.

Iris2Backed only by her Steinway grand piano and a chorus of cicadas, Dement’s mournful Southern-gospel-tinged vocals rang through the air, carried on the summer breeze like church bells in the Arkansas delta. Though she confessed to be in the midst of a mild panic attack, her passionate performance masked any hint of discomfort.

Iris1Dement’s 75-minute set included a few tracks off her 2012 release, “Sing the Delta,” such as “Mornin’ Glory,” “There’s A Whole Lotta Heaven” and the title track.  Her setlist also included “Our Town,” a crowd favorite from her 1992 debut album, “Infamous Angel.”

Iris4Recently, Dement became infatuated with the late-acclaimed Russian poet Anna Akhmatova and set nearly two dozen of her poems to music. On this night, she brought two of the poems to life, enhanced by Dement’s soulful country charm.

NCMA moonThe supermoon sat fat and happy over the left shoulder of the stage, and Loudon Wainwright III seemed determined not to let it outshine him. Bursting with energy belying his age, The Ol’ Loudo began his set with “High Wide & Handsome,” a tongue-in-cheek ode to both himself and noted banjo player Charlie Poole, men of large stature and larger-than-life personalities.

Loudon1Then the Durham-born folk singer did something uncommon in the world of touring musicians. He began to play new unreleased material. Seven of the 17 songs he unleashed on Raleigh were from his upcoming album, due for release in Sept. 2014. In fact, 16 of the songs played were recorded within the last decade. Loudon Wainwright III is set to release his 23rd studio album (not including three live albums). He’s been recording music for over 40 years. And he’s sick of playing the same old songs.

Loudon2But that’s okay, because a Loudon Wainwright III show isn’t about sing-a-longs. He mesmerizes the audience with stories and punchlines, and he just happens to carry a guitar. He’s a slightly neurotic and highly expressive actor who finds comfort on the stage. He’s a true entertainer.

As Wainwright approaches his eighth decade, his song motifs have evolved. He may not be singing about dead animals anymore, but he’ll tell you all about parking in New York City, the medications he’s taking, the pains of living in a dry county and death and decay.

Loudon3He’ll also tell you all about his father. Last year, he began performing a one-man show that exclusively pairs his songs with writings from his father, who was a highly respected LIFE magazine columnist. At his North Carolina Museum of Art concert, Wainwright recited all or part of three of Loudon Wainwright, Jr.’s columns, each followed immediately by a song: “Half Fist,” Peter Blegvad’s “Daughter” and “Man and Dog.”

When Loudon Wainwright III finished up his 81-minute set with a two song encore (“The Swimming Song” and “Unfriendly Skies”) at exactly 11pm, he bid the crowd a fond farewell, promising to Google the lyrics of “Grey in LA,” the last verse of which he forgot while playing. Music Maniacs would do well to Google both Iris Dement and Loudon Wainwright III. While they will not be visiting Raleigh again this year, there will be plenty of good music emanating from the grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art in the near future.


Schoolkids1 (3)In 1973, Schoolkids Records opened its doors to the music-hungry public on Hillsborough St. The vaunted business (lauded by both Time Magazine and embraced its role in the community, forever altering the musical tastes and lives of innumerable students and fellow Music Maniacs in the heart of the North Carolina State University campus district.

20140602_150641Forty years later, on Dec. 31, 2013, Schoolkids Records bid farewell to Hillsborough St., giving itself a special edition re-release at 2237 Avent Ferry Rd. The development of a new hotel resulted in the relocation. Though the old location will be missed, owner Stephen Judge and music fans, local and beyond, are excited about the new location.

“I saw the move as an opportunity to do what I want to do,” Judge said.

Judge’s vision included draft beer, a larger space, a sleek stage and a massive, easily accessible parking lot.

In Oct. 2013, we profiled the Hillsborough St. location and discussed the history of Schoolkids Records. Let’s take a look at its newest incarnation.

The Bar

Schoolkids1 (2)Beer and music form a natural partnership. For years, Judge wanted to sell beer at the store.

“That’s always been on the periphery here,” Judge said. “We’ve always had that kind of opportunity, but this move forced it to happen. It’s awesome.”

Judge sees beer as a way to loosen people up and promote camaraderie.

“You get people sitting around, talking about records, talking about music, talking about the music scene here and national bands that are coming through,” Judge said. “You can feel this magic happening. Other customers feed off it – the whole bar filled with people, blasting music, drinking beer.”

Schoolkids Records offers four draft brews, including local standout Big Boss Brewing Company, and a few cans. Judge plans to expand the draft selection and wants to keep local beers in constant rotation.

Schoolkids1The bar itself contains a bit of Judge’s own history. He decorated the counter with band photos and ticket stubs from concerts he’s attended.

The Stage

Schoolkids1 (5)The old Hillsborough St. location had a stage, but the new stage is more visible throughout the store.

The Avent Ferry Rd. stage, like the rest of the store, gives insight to Judge’s life. Band posters he collected over the years and old Cat’s Cradle schedules advertising Nirvana and Pearl Jam playing in the same week dot the wall behind the stage. His décor helps facilitate conversation among shoppers who might see a poster or ticket stub from a show they also attended.

Schoolkids Records hosts live music (local and national acts) quite frequently. Check the website for a full list of upcoming shows.

The Space

Schoolkids1 (6)Schoolkids Records now occupies about 1,600 square feet, a significant increase from their previous address. The expansion gives shoppers more selection, in addition to freeing up the stage and bar area.

The shop sells a wide variety of new and used vinyl and CDs. Vinyl accounts for an astounding 70 percent of sales, a nationwide trend that Judge expects to continue.

“The people who bought vinyl before and now buy vinyl again are elated that it’s back. The kids who are buying it for the first time, it’s the coolest thing in the world. It’s not just collecting. It’s not just a fad. They’re spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on turntables. So we’re seeing major growth there.”

The Parking

20140602_150703You get the picture.

The Future

Five months after the move, Judge and his small staff feel at ease in their Avent Ferry Rd. location. The future is bright for Schoolkids Records.

“I started working here in 1990, and I started shopping here in 1985 when I was old enough to drive,” Judge said. “This place has been important to me, and it’s always been on Hillsborough St., but if I were to dwell on what used to be and not look to the future we would have been out of business a long time ago.

“For me, it’s about looking forward to what the next 40 years are for the store, and Hillsborough St. doesn’t quite fit into that equation. It’s a shame, but I’m very happy here. This is a great opportunity.”

Schoolkids Records is located in the Mission Valley Shopping Center, sharing a building with Waffle House and Planet Smoothie.

It’s open 10am-9pm, Mon.-Sat. and noon-7pm, Sun.

May 1 was another beautiful and quiet spring day. Downtown Raleigh welcomed summer skirts and polo shirts. Tir na nOg bustled with activity for its Local Band – Local Beer series. The iconic acorn sculpture provided more photo ops for outgoing university seniors. The sun began to set, creating a fiery collage of color against the darkening blue sky. Oh, and international touring sensation Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars snuck into downtown Raleigh to play The Pour House Music Hall.

Pour House barDespite a documentary, appearances at massive music festivals (such as Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and New York’s Central Park SummerStage), an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show and opening for Aerosmith in front of 12,000 screaming fans, this roving band of African musicians arrived with little fanfare to promote their most recent album, “Libation.” They were joined on the bill by Pittsboro-based Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba.

For those unfamiliar with The Pour House Music Hall, you’ve been missing out. The Pour House Music Hall boasts the greatest draft beer selection I’ve ever encountered in a concert venue. The club lives up to its name by offering 30 drafts, including Big Boss Brewing Company, White Street Brewing Company, Crank Arm Brewing and Lonerider Brewing Company. Its liquor selection’s not too shabby either.

Pour House tapsAs we’ve recently written about the perks of The Pour House Music Hall on the blog, I won’t go into detail here. Click here for more information regarding this amazing concert venue.

Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba began the show shortly after 8pm. Hailing from Pittsboro, N.C., this two-year-old band is one of the few N.C.-based bands specializing in West African music. Diali Cissokho, a Senegalese griot , fronts the band. He’s backed by a fellow Senegalese percussionist and four talented North Carolinians.

Diali 1Cissokho plays the kora, a 21-string harp/lute hybrid well known in West Africa. His delightfully intricate jams were accentuated by the snarling yet jazzy riffs played by electric guitarist John Westmoreland. Their overlay, punctuated by a strong bass line and rollicking rhythm section, produced high-energy African dance music influenced by funk, soul and American rock ‘n’ roll. Their 40 minute set ended far too quickly for my taste, but the growing crowd fed on their vivacity. The aforementioned quiet evening faded out of memory, replaced by an African party full of joie de vivre.

Diali 2Readers, I implore you to take advantage of Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba’s N.C. roots and see them live. Without question, they are one of the most talented and powerful bands in the area, unique in our vast music scene. They next play locally during the Downtown Raleigh Fourth of July festival called The ‘Works!.

Born in the midst of a bloody war engulfing their home country of Sierra Leone, the members of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars fled for their safety and found each other in refugee camps in Guinea. United by an obsession with music and a strong desire to bring a sliver of happiness to their fellow refugees, the band moved from camp to camp. Their sincere traditional folk music and uplifting attitude gave life to their fellow displaced Africans.

SLRAS 2For 13 songs on this night in Raleigh, the band mixed the traditional Sierra Leone styles of highlife, maringa and palm wine with funk, gospel, reggae, soul and rap. Nine of the songs came from the 2014 release “Libation,” their fourth album which mostly sheds electric instruments and harkens back to their acoustic and experimental roots.

SLRAS 3One of their best tracks of the night, “Rich But Poor,” questions whether or not Sierra Leone learned anything from their most recent blood-letting. “We live in it / Yet we never know / What a rich rich country,” sings bandleader Ruben Koroma over a banjo-laden reggae beat. Other highlights included the salsa-tinged “Maria” and traditional “Gbaenyama.” Singer/percussionist Black Nature spent the night drinking Big Boss Brewing Company’s Bad Penny Brown Ale and professed to drink only local beers. He took lead on “Treat You Right,” one of the night’s odder songs which mimicked simple contemporary R&B.

SLRAS 1The crowd danced and swayed to the eclectic tunes. The band played on, pausing only to ask the audience simply to be happy and enjoy the moment. On this night in Raleigh, I lived in the moment with no distractions, and I couldn’t have been happier. A night of wonderful music ended with a full band harmony on “Gbara Case,” emphasizing the fact that we’re all stuck on this planet, and look at what happens when we join together.

Music Maniacs taking in concerts at PNC Arena will be stoked to find out about the great selection of N.C. craft brews on draft. Not only can music fans experience big-name artists live, such as Bruno Mars and Tom Petty and The HeartBreakers, this summer and on, but can also enjoy a N.C. brew while doing so!

Craft brew at PNC ArenaThere’s something about live music and craft beer that goes together so very well. I pin it on the fact that great-quality live music deserves to be enjoyed with great-quality brews, which Greater Raleigh breweries offer.

Natty Greene's Pub & Brewing PNC Arena offers Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing beers, on tap, including year-round beers Buckshot Amber Ale, Wildflower Witbier, Guilford Golden Ale and Southern Pale Ale. If you’re new to craft brews and want to try one out, the Guilford Golden Ale is a good beer to start with, with a low amount of bitterness, a full body, slight tartness and a delicious wheat flavor. (On another important note: Though its closed during concerts, the Natty Greene’s PUBDECK is a must-visit during Carolina Hurricanes NHL hockey games. The area features a 2,000-square-foot sports bar, pub-style food, waiter/waitress table service and more. The deck screams craft beer, with information and artwork all throughout the section from Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing.)

Carolina Brewing Company is one of Greater Raleigh’s oldest breweries, and you can bet that its Carolina Pale Ale can be enjoyed at concerts, on draft and served in four different sections and also in bottles on the 200 level. Taste of one Greater Raleigh’s staple beers, an American-style pale ale using three varieties of American-grown hops to create a “pleasing bitterness, aroma and lingering hop taste,” as the brewery describes it.

Carolina Brewing CompanyGreater Raleigh’s Aviator Brewing Company continues to rise in popularity and is constantly offering unique and innovate beers. On tap currently are Devil’s Tramping Ground Tripel, Hotrod Red, Saison de Aviator and HogWild IPA. I suggest the Saison de Aviator, available until Sept. 30, 2014, right through the summer. The brew is a Belgian-style made with pilsner malt, mid-kilned malts, coriander and sweet orange peel, offering up a refreshing and celebratory taste. Hops fans will absolutely love the HogWild IPA!

Aviator Brewing Company tapsAlso on tap are Foothills Brewing (Winston-Salem) beers, also a N.C. favorite! Taps can be found throughout the arena, with a dedicated section for Foothills Brewing, complete with a bar and a great selection of brews.

So, if you’re a Music Maniac and a fan of delicious beer, you’re all set when you rock at shows at PNC Arena! When you see your favorite artist, give the Greater Raleigh beers a try, and if you’ve already tasted what our area breweries have to offer, you already know you’re in for some good offerings. Have one to go along with the mouthwatering food PNC Arena offers, including Carolina barbecue, grilled sausages, fresh charbroiled burgers and much more.

Concerts coming up this summer at PNC Arena include Bruno Mars (June 14), Katy Perry (June 22) and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (Sept. 18).


The Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market is an event produced by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, which brings local growers and artisans together. Located at City Plaza in downtown Raleigh, the 2014 Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market runs every Wed. from 10am to 2pm until Nov. 5.

20140519-000124.jpgAs your visitRaleigh Foodie blogger, I decided to scope out the market last week. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Raleigh, many people were walking from their offices to pay the vendors a visit. The vendors include N.C. farmers, ranchers, fisherman, nurserymen, bakers, cheese makers and specialty foods producers.

Of course, the first booth I walked up to was Ball Berries and Produce, a small, family-owned full produce farm in southern Wake County. This farm’s specialty is its sweet strawberries. The farmer allowed me to taste a strawberry, and after tasting just one, I immediately purchased a pint. The great part about the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market is that you can talk to the farmers who have literally touched and grown the food you’re purchasing.

20140519-000137.jpgAs I was walking through the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market, I enjoyed acoustic music by a local musician. The music was a nice touch and added to the lively atmosphere of the market.

20140519-000322.jpgOne of the most popular booths at the market was The Cookie People, a Raleigh-based husband-and-wife baking business specializing in old-fashioned, hand-crafted cookies and seasonal breads. People were lining up to purchase giant cookies ranging in flavors from chocolate chip to molasses crinkle.

20140519-000211.jpgAlthough there are many food vendors at the market, I enjoyed the fact that other artisans were also present. For instance, I met The Carolina Bee Company vendor who makes homemade beeswax candles and soaps.

20140519-000242.jpgI highly recommend paying a visit to the market! The market is a great event to check out if you’re in Greater Raleigh during the week, relaxing during a getaway or in town for a convention or meeting downtown.



Written by Tyler Cox, Music Maniac.

Despite fifteen successful years of bands and booze, Slim’s Downtown maintains an unobtrusive profile. In search of the small bar late into the night, I nearly walked right by its white brick frame and double window off S. Wilmington St. A passionate outburst of rock ‘n’ roll had laid waste to the sign that previously signified the existence of Raleigh’s oldest music venue.

Once inside, I found myself at a long bar that stretched half the length of the ground floor. Slim’s offers an extensive liquor collection and two dozen bottled and canned beers, including local brews from Aviator Brewing Company and Big Boss Brewing Company, and they offer them at surprisingly affordable prices. As I gazed down the length of the bar toward the small stage and the quaint patio out back, I immediately felt at home in this place. I hadn’t even discovered the small lounge and pool table upstairs yet.

The Wed. night that I visited Slim’s was ladies’ night. A trio of bands took the stage, each of them fronted by a female singer/songwriter. The lineup was a welcome change to the stereotypical male-dominated rock scene. More points for Slim’s.

Tracy Shedd opened the show, backed by her husband James Tritten. The husband/wife duo’s 30-minute set fit the atmosphere of Slim’s perfectly: stripped down and simple with an offbeat, yet earnest elegance. Touring in support of her new album Arizona, the couple performed beautifully soft acoustic melodies that channeled Kings of Convenience (“Broken Arrows”), Laura Veirs (“Sing to Me”) and Mark Kozelek (“Hardest Part of Good-Bye”).

Good Graces 4.23.14Atlanta-based duo The Good Graces followed, performing, as they put it, “minimalist, catchy folk pop tunes of heartbreak and hope.” A perfect act to follow Tracy Shedd, this charming band reminded me of Kathleen Edwards and The Mountain Goats. As I listened to the highlights of their set, guitarist John McNicholas’s “Warm in Wisconsin” and singer Kim Ware’s response entitled “Cold in California,” I was struck by how the venue’s layout could make a gathering of 30 or 40 people feel almost like a packed house. With Slim’s capacity set at a mere 100 people, you’re guaranteed a good view of the bands and a very personal concert experience.

The second most impressive part of my Slim’s experience, behind the perfect sound quality, was the five-minute set changeovers. I’m accustomed to milling around for 20-45 minutes, waiting for the next band to go on, but I barely had time to get a drink before the next act hit the stage. Raleigh-based See Gulls hit it hard.

See Gulls 4.23.14The ferocity of the grungy power pop rock act See Gulls nearly made me drop my drink in surprise. Following two acoustic duos, this four-piece garage band with their heavily distorted guitars and ‘50s style pop roots caught everyone’s attention and quickly transformed a quiet night at the bar into a bouncing, head-banging party. See Gulls ripped off anger-fueled songs about heartbreak and lies. They alternately screamed and crooned into microphones, backed by power chords and basic, but heavy, drum beats. On this night, the band bid farewell to rhythm guitarist Jacki Huntington. Despite this loss, guitarist/singer Sarah Fuller and the Gulls seems poised to make a lot of noise in the local scene, and you should start to pay attention.

I saw three sides of Slim’s in my visit. One was the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere at the bar. You’ll feel comfortable sipping your fine local brew or a cocktail, surrounded by an eclectic mix of locals. The second side was the coffee house feel where every vibrating guitar string could be heard across the room. The third was the wall-shaking, hard rock, high energy bar that any socialite or live music fan will appreciate. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better music bar in the Triangle. Don’t hesitate to drop by and see this gem in person.

FB IMG_0825 - photo ccc fotographie
Written by Tyler Cox, Music Maniac. Photo credit: ccc fotographie

Acoustic indie pop band Morning Brigade recently completed their second full length album, “Grow Around the Bones,” released on Apr. 26 to wide acclaim. They kick off May with a Greater Raleigh album release show tonight at Kings Barcade, the first of four dates (and counting) in the area this month. Be sure to check out Morning Brigade tonight at Kings Barcade, May 3 at Gizmo Brew Works, May 24 at The Pour House Music Hall and on May 30 at Lonerider Brewing Company. I spoke with Nathan Spain, their drummer and manager, about their upcoming shows and live music in Greater Raleigh.

How did your band come together?
It was kind of a process, getting the entire band together. I’m not entirely sure about the details of the initial meeting. Peter Vance, the lead singer from Washington, D.C., was playing some open mic shows around the Franklin St. area [downtown Chapel Hill]. Our keyboardist Gabriel Reynolds was in the area. Through [Peter] playing the shows, they talked about putting a band together. Gabe and I had been in a band in high school. When they asked about getting a drummer, Gabe suggested me. Peter had the initial idea to have a string section. One of them asked Christian Adams [who plays cello] to be involved. They asked Eli Howells to play violin. Most of us met on the first day of practice. I’m pretty sure Gabriel was the only one who knew everybody. Mary Koenig we added after the first couple shows, recognizing we might need a female vocalist. She was hesitant to officially join until she played a few shows with us and she started to feel a little more comfortable with us. Then she officially joined us.

What’s your relationship with Raleigh?
It’s kind of multifaceted. Most of us stem from around Raleigh and Cary. Eli and Peter are not from Raleigh. The other four of us are from Apex, Cary and Raleigh and a lot of us went to school in the Raleigh area. Gabe and I were involved in Raleigh and played shows at The Brewery on Hillsborough St. before it got torn down. If it weren’t for Raleigh fostering friendships between us, if it weren’t for the music scene, we certainly would not have formed, at least in this incarnation of the band. I think Gabe and Mary met at a piano bar Gabe was playing at downtown when they were younger and I think Mary approached him. They started talking and became friends.

What’s your favorite venue in Raleigh to play?
Morning Brigade has played Deep South The Bar, Kings Barcade, Tir na nOg, Berkeley Café, Lonerider Brewing Company, The Pour House Music Hall and Slim’s Downtown. We’ve been together two-and-a-half years so I’m probably forgetting a few. We have a top three–it sort of cycles in and out according to the season. Deep South The Bar has a great administrative [team]. Dave Rose runs the place well. He’s responsive to bands’ needs, which is very helpful. Kings Barcade–we have a personal relationship with Michael there. They are easy to work with–great sound and space–100-percent geared to music. Tir na nOg has such a great thing going with Local Band – Local Beer. Craig Reed who books that show is great to work with. It’s so easy to work with all three of those venues.

You have three more shows planned in Raleigh this month. Tell me about them.
We’re playing Gizmo Brew Works on Sat., May 3. This type of gig is one we very much enjoy. We’ve played Lonerider Brewing Company a couple of times. We love going to craft breweries and mixing two different types of art in craft brewing and local music. I think the crowds we see at craft breweries are the type that are there to support local art. All around, always a good time when we play a local brewery. The lineup that was put together for this show is something special. We’re very excited to play with Birds & Arrows and Embers End.

We’re playing the The Pour House Music Hall with Matt Phillips & The Philharmonic and Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey [on May 24]. We’re playing Lonerider Brewing Company again on May 30.

What should we expect from a Morning Brigade live show?
I would say, after talking to fans after they see their first Morning Brigade show, you can expect to be surprised by what you’re gonna’ hear. When we sat down in the studio for this last record we wanted to capture what it’s like to be in concert. We’re loud, dynamic, orchestric at times and sometimes restrained and deliberate. However we set up a set list, the end result is a rollercoaster of dynamic music that gets people’s attention.

Finally, let’s talk about your favorite local bars.
In Raleigh, I point to places like Raleigh Times Bar, a great hangout spot. Foundation is a cool place–love going there. We like to have intimacy, places where we can sit outside and places that have local beers on tap. There are a lot of those in the area. Considering how many local breweries in the area [16 in Greater Raleigh, total!], it’s easy to find places like that in Raleigh. It’s such a great scene.

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! 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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.


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!

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


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