Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This week's cool shows: Moving Island, the Save Our Arts Benefit and more!

This weekend's theme is big concerts to assist worthy educational causes. First up is the two-day Buoyancy Benefit for Moving Island, a new Raleigh-based educational facility. The above poster doesn't say so, but Mac McCaughan and Phil Cook and His Feat will be Saturday's mystery artist. This is going to be a great weekend of music, plus the proceeds will help a good cause, so check it out. Adam Crane of Moving Island also answered five questions for me.

1. The press release states that Moving Island "is a Raleigh-based performance and education facility focused on emerging arts, empowering technology, and the business of living." That's a wide-ranging set of ideals. How do they all fit together in one space?

It's more of a methodology, or a state of mind, than a set of ideals. All the people involved in Moving Island value the DIY mentality. Technology is integrated into every part of our lives now -- work, play, art -- and being able to understand and master it puts one in control of that technology, instead of the other way around. By the same token, sustainable living practices and being able to improve your quality of life with your own hands, whether it's learning to cook for yourself or install a solar panel, are equally vital to our vision. We believe the three spheres of art, tech, and daily life all benefit from empowering the "end user" with the skills and courage to improve their own lives and those around them.

On a practical level, we will be offering classes and workshops led by a wide swath of local talent. The diversity of subject material reflects the distinct mixture of interests that converge in Raleigh and the Triangle. Backyard horticulture, home recording/sequencing/mastering and introductory robotics are just a few examples of tentative classes in our future schedule. You won't learn to play guitar at Moving Island, but you may learn how to make your own effects pedal.

2. How did the idea for Moving Island come about, and how long has this been in the process?

I like to think that a place like Moving Island is something that we've always wanted to have available to us, but in the past we were content waiting around for it to materialize on its own. When Chris Riddle and I found the building that is now Moving Island, we were instantly struck by its potential. The two of us are at a unique point in our lives where we have the opportunity to take on a project like this one, so we jumped on it with as much momentum and enthusiasm as possible. That was about three months ago.

3. What is the audience for this space? Will it be kids, adults, professionals, beginners -- or a mixture of all of the above?

Moving Island would like to be as inclusive as possible. Several of our initial instructors have expressed interest in working with children specifically, but I would say most of our events and courses are "age-agnostic." Our courses will be designed with their specific difficulty levels in mind, on a graduated scale from beginner to advanced. Since there are more beginners out there, the scale will be tilted in that direction. On the other hand, one of our priorities is bridging the gap between professionals and amateurs. The workshops target that aspect of the project by collecting people from around the community with a certain interest and presenting a specific goal to bring them together.

4. What will have to happen for you to feel like Moving Island is a success?

As with any new non-profit, survival is our key metric of success. Motivating the community to participate in and support the project will be an ongoing process. Right now we are measuring our expectations in terms of the first year. By this time next year we would like to become a regular location for events like First Friday along with our neighbors at the Ruby Red. Providing a home for regular meetings of some local groups that currently bounce around the Triangle is also tied in to that goal. Having a solid portfolio of feedback from our classes and workshops that we can compile into a publication for next year's Benefit will probably be my favorite accomplishment.

5. You've already told us that Mac is your mystery guest. Any other surprises??

Yes. Phil Cook of Megafaun will be performing as Phil Cook & His Feat on Saturday. We also hope to have some interesting installations around the stage made by some Moving Island members. Keep an eye out!

Also this weekend, the 3rd Annual Save Our Arts Benefit for Central Park School for Children will take place Friday at Motorco. This show will feature performances by student bands from CPSFC, The Wigg Report, The Beast, Midtown Dickens, Sacrificial Poets, The Old Ceremony and a closing performance from some special guests Megafaun. So if you missed Megafaun last weekend at Kings, here are two chances to see either the band or a related band, and support an educational entity in the process.

Finally, the best non-benefit-related show is definitely Best Coast, who put on an amazing, packed and sweaty show at Tir na Nog during Hopscotch. They're at Cat's Cradle on Saturday.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Megafaun at Kings

On Friday I caught Megafaun's insanely packed show (night one of a two-night residency) at Kings. If you follow me on Twitter, I'm sure you saw my tweet about how I didn't want to deal with the crowd. But honestly I'd much rather be at an overly packed show than one where only a few people show up. The crowd was energetic, and the band fed off of that. They also debuted a new member, multi-instrumentalist Mark Paulson, who really complimented and improved the band's sound. See more photos

Megafaun - "Heretofore" from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kylesa, Zoroaster and Fight Amp at Kings

Wednesday night I saw Kylesa and Zoroaster, with Fight Amp opening. I've seen Kylesa and Zoroaster several times each, and I would say both put on great shows. I got video of both, but I was asked by Kylesa not to put theirs online. Any time a band asks me not to post videos of them I am happy to oblige.  

Zoroaster - "D.N.R." from Mann's World on Vimeo.

It was my first time seeing Fight Amp, who are from New Jersey. I had only heard a couple of their songs before the show, but I liked them a lot. This video is for a song that they said they'd never played before. Unfortunately, because the lights were almost completely off on stage, you can see almost nothing.  See more photos.

Fight Amp - "Shallow Grave" from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This week's cool shows: Kylesa/Zoroaster, Cannabis Corpse and Megafaun!

2011 is starting out splendidly for local metal fans. Tomorrow night (Wednesday) Savannah's Kylesa, whose "Spiral Shadow" was voted album of the year by many reviewers (including yours truly) will be at Kings. Opening up is one of my favorite heavy bands, Zoroaster. Also on the bill is Fight Amp. This is easily the show of the week, so do not miss it. I don't think Kylesa will be playing club shows like this for long. 

On Thursday, Richmond's Cannabis Corpse - who were hilariously great at Hopscotch - and Inter Arma, will also be at Kings. That same night Leslie will be at Slim's. 

Also at Kings, Megafaun plays a two-night stint Friday and Saturday. I'll see you there on Friday.

Other cool shows this week:

Thursday: Jucifer at Volume 11
Thursday: Hammer No More the Fingers at Playmakers Theater
Thursday - Saturday: Death to False Hopes Showcase at Motorco
Saturday: Mandolin Orange at Local 506

Saturday, January 15, 2011

MAKE and Sinister Moustache at Dive Bar

Last night I ended my extended unintentional social life hiatus by checking out MAKE and Sinister Moustache at Dive Bar. It was also my first chance to record something with my new Flip Cam. Overall, the photo quality is about the same, and the sound quality is actually worse than recording with the G9. Plus, I swear I recorded the whole song. Not sure why I only got a couple of minutes on the cam. I imported the video through iMovie, rather than the clunky Flip Share software. I'm going to experiment with that and see if there's something I can do to improve the sound quality.

MAKE at Dive Bar from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Anyway, last night was MAKE's last show with guitarist Daniel McDonald. Guitarist/singer Scott Endres told me that the band has decided to continue on as a trio, and they're getting ready to write all new songs. Last night they sounded fantastic, and they had a large appreciative crowd.

I'd also like to say that Dive Bar is quickly becoming my favorite place to see a band in Raleigh, because they are booking some interesting shows, the bands sound great, and the lighting is good enough for me to usually get some good photos. Plus, their shows are free AND if you park downtown you can take the R-Line to the club, which is a total plus because parking on Glenwood South really does suck.

Sinister Moustache from Savannah opened the show. I have to say I was on the fence about them. They were very proggy, and were very good at it. I heard a lot of King Crimson and a good bit of Pink Floyd in what they were doing. They were mostly instrumental, which was a shame because I thought the few vocals they had (especially the interplay when three of them were singing together) were the best things about their music. But evidently I was alone in my assessment because everyone else seemed to be completely into what they were doing.  See more photos from the show

After the show, I made it down to the Mecca for the first time since they've begun opening for drinks at night. It is absolutely my new favorite downtown hangout. It wasn't crowded at all, they were playing good music, and they serve late night food. As much as I love the Landmark, we all know that place turns into jackass city after 11 p.m. on the weekends. The Landmark's patio will still likely be my favorite warm weather Sunday afternoon spot, but for Thursday - Saturday late nights, I will probably spend my time at the Mecca. 

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

This week's cool shows: Manchild book release and more!

Local drummer/artist/punk historian Brian Walsby celebrates the release of his latest book, Manchild 5, with a party this Saturday, Jan. 8, at Kings. Righteous Fool, Church or Zahn (includes Benny from Valient Thorr and The Kick Ass) and The Kick Ass are scheduled to play. Despite previous reports, Double Negative is not playing this show.

A copy of the book comes with admission, and there will be food from The Remedy, Capital Club 16 and Vic's. Jed at New Raleigh had a great write-up and review of the book, complete with a few excerpts. This is going to be a great show, and a fun celebration, so definitely do not miss it.

Other shows you need to know about:

* The Hell No is playing an art party this First Friday at Atomic Salon. It's early and free, and the Facebook page promises free booze and food.

* Organos with Josh Carpenter and Soft Company at Kings on Friday, Jan. 7

* Hungry Heart of Gold: Neil Young vs. Bruce Springsteen, also on Friday at Local 506. Featured performers include Django Haskins and The Tomahawks, and proceeds benefit the Family Violence Prevention Center.

* Cleave-Fest: A going away for Charles Cleaver (Max Indian/Tomahawks keyboard player), with Stella Lively, Cazadores, Luego and more. This one's Sunday, Jan. 9, at Local 506.

Some shows you need to go ahead and buy tickets for: 

* Kylesa with Zoroaster and Fight Amp, Wednesday, Jan. 19 at Kings

* Megafaun, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 21 and 22 at Kings

Bull City Metal Fest, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4 and 5 at the Casbah

* WKNC Double Barrel Benefit, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4 and 5 at Kings

* Buzzoven with Cough, Wednesday, Feb. 16 at the Casbah

* Future Islands, Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5 at Kings