It’s been a while since I’ve been to a show — a combination of bad weather and laziness has compounded it. But hot damn if there isn’t an amazing four days in a row just in Chapel Hill (and Carrboro, mostly in Carrboro) where I can tell you go and watch some live music.
Tuesday 3/18: Typhoon w/ PHOX, Cat’s Cradle. Typhoon’s White Lighter was one of my favorite records of the year, and PHOX blew me away back in October when they opened for Blitzen Trapper. This is my birthday present to myself, and I am going to watch all six million people in Typhoon sing the chorus to “Young Fathers” and cry all over myself like a lunatic. But a happy one. Doors 7, show 8, $14 day of.
Wednesday 3/19: Reuben & the Dark w/ the Darcys, Cat’s Cradle Backroom. The Darcys’ Warring was a 2013 surprise that came to me in 2014; it’s heavy and pushed by the drums and the bass, layered over by echoing vocals and synthesizers, just like everything I love that I don’t pick out myself. (This was picked out for me by a publicist I absolutely trust.) It’s eerie and open and unexpectedly spring-like, and when I listened to it again today, writing about it, on a grey rainy Monday, it was the perfect music for that, too. It’s part the churning guitars that made the Fall Out Boy – Panic! at the Disco – My Chem scene so appealing to me, echoes of punk in everything they do, and loads of influence from New Age, and lots of sadness and desperation piled into it. It’s basically a gorgeous mess; this show will be phenomenal. Doors 7pm, show 8pm, day of $10.
Thursday 3/20: Tinawiren w/ the Melodic, Cat’s Cradle. Tinawiren and the Melodic are a pair of Anti- Records bands, and when did Anti- last sign a band that was less than stellar? Tinawiren hail from Northern Mali, and you can check out their stunning video for latest single “Islegh Taghram Tifhamam” — loosely translated “You’re Educated And You Know” — at the AV Club here; it’s a staggering piece of work, absolutely showcasing their superb brand of music and sounds native to their home country, fused with electric guitars and a fiercely compelling live performance. Doors 7, show 8, day of $25.
Thursday 3/20: Shearwater w/ Jesca Hoop, Cat’s Cradle Backroom. I’m never super compelled by former Okkervil River collaborator Shearwater’s records, but I’ve seen them twice live and they’re always enormous and wild, epic soundscapes that will definitely feud with the small, well-balanced space of the Backroom. I saw Jesca Hoop at a Yep Roc showcase at the Wine Bar in Chapel Hill a few years ago, and her enormous voice and looping talents are a perfect match for Shearwater’s sound. Doors 8, show 9, day of $12.
Thursday 3/20: La Femme w/ Wild Moccasins, Local 506. I mean, honestly, take your pick tonight: all three of these shows will be spectacular. But I’m going to be at this one, checking out second open, Houston quintet Wild Moccasins, who make this fabulously complex blend of pop music and orchestral showpieces. La Femme, the headliners, play equally compelling French surf-pop, which I didn’t know was my new favorite genre until I just typed that. Doors 8, show 9, day of $10.
Friday 3/21: Noah Gundersen w/ ARMON JAY, Cat’s Cradle Backroom. Noah Gundersen has closely edged Lydia Loveless for my favorite 2014 record to date, so, you know, is that enough? Go to this show, although it’s nearly sold out and you might miss it because you didn’t know. Now you know. Go. Go go go. Doors 7, show 8, day of $12.
Friday 3/21: San Fermin w/ Avers, Cat’s Cradle. Seeing as San Fermin’s self-titled was also one of my favorite records in 2013 — along with White Lighter — I’m definitely trying to figure out if I can sneak from Noah’s set to San Fermin’s via the back door on the smoking patio. The shows are set an hour apart, so timing wise it’s totally possible, but you didn’t hear this, Cradle staff, I’m totally not talking about it on the internet. If you aren’t into Gundersen’s clever and heartwrenching guitar pop, go see the incredibly masterful operatic pop of Ellis Ludwig-Leone, which totally boggled my mind when they played Fletcher Opera House during Hopscotch last year. Doors 8, show 9, $14 day of.