Category Archives: Live music

Pre-performance nerves

Today I fly back to the UK for a visit. Air travel can be pretty stressful. At least I can take comfort in the fact that even if I get a nasty case of travel sickness, the jitters, or whatever, the personnel and passengers will probably never see me ever again.

Shows are stressful!

More stressful is the time just prior to going on stage, when you’ve practiced your set and it all comes down to whether you excel or embarrassingly fail. And those in the audience – your fans and potential fans – will definitely remember it. The impressions you make on stage can be lasting impressions. Before shows I get nervous and seek reassurance from those around me, rehearsing tricky little bits with my fingers, tuning and retuning my guitar. Should I try to curb my stress?

Should you relax?

Many people engage in funny rituals before a performance to try to relax. From people who have to drink a certain drink or listen to a particular musical piece, to those who want to chitchat about anything other than their show. I don’t have any of these superstitions, but should I find a quiet corner in which to calm myself?

No, get fired up!

The opposite option is to get excited and act like a boxer about to get into the ring by shaking your arms, jumping up and down, and beating your chest. Recent research suggests getting pumped up in this way actually boosts performance more than a relaxing massage or soak in a bath. So before a show it might be a good idea to get your heart bumped and your brain in gear to attack, go out there and give it all you’ve got. (If you make a mistake at least you were energized and able to keep going.)

As far as plane journeys go, I don’t recommend stoking up your air rage. However, I might try tactically psyching myself up before the parts of the journey that make me most apprehensive.

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Review: Clutch at the Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh

Well, my ears are still buzzing! Here is my take on a phenomenal show:

Crobot

Quite cool as support acts go, and a good match with the other two bands, but not quite my kind of thing. A very outgoing singer who never missed a chance to talk with the crowd. My wife thinks he looks like Russell Brand except with a less full beard, a hairless chest and greasier hair. To me his voice and moves were like Sebastian Bach, except with dark hair and a beard.

The Sword

I own and love all this band’s albums so I went with high hopes. They were the most unassuming three front men I’ve ever seen including a very deadpan bassist. They did not disappoint me though, delivering a slick set with energetic and engaging bass and drum playing. My only regret is that we were on the wrong side of the stage to properly hear the lead guitarist, but all band members talent shone through and I would encourage you to hear this band’s live music if you ever get a chance.

Clutch

This was my first time seeing Clutch and they were one solid powerhouse of a band. I regret not listening to enough of their back catalogue to appreciate everything they played. I only got into them having got tickets to see The Sword, and Clutch became my favourite band of 2013. The lead singer Neil is a fantastic entertainer. He watches the crowd, at times hardly blinking, and communicates by hand gestures, the occasional comment, and looks on his face like a man possessed by rock. In some songs he plays guitar, in others a cow bell, and all the time sporting a pair of black Adidas shell toes. An all round appealing sound and visual experience, even the drummer was great to watch. The final song, Electric Worry, was by far my favourite of their set.

The Venue

The Lincoln Theatre is lovely smaller venue with a capacity of about 1000. There is a small upper level for those who want a seat and view from above, and a lower level where you can get really close to the performers. The bar serves a range of beers, including a very nice Porter.

Remainder of the Tour

The Clutch will continue their US tour and there are tickets still available for most of the shows. They then venture to Australia, then to the UK, Ireland and Germany. I’d highly recommend you see them!

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Music worth dancing to

Swing dancing is a popular activity in North Carolina. Each December the state hosts one of the largest swing dance festivals in the world, Lindy Focus. Barely a weekend goes by without friends in Raleigh telling me they’re spending their evening in some dance hall or other.

Some people dance to recorded music, but often swing dances are places to savor the thrill of a live performance, where musicians and dancers together generate a captivating atmosphere. You can get swing dance lessons, or just turn up to an event. Here are swing dancing opportunities in the area:

Events

Carolina Music and Dance Productions
Triangle Swing and Shag meetups
Central Smooth Groovers meetups
Raleigh Swing Dance Events

Societies

Triangle Swing Dance Society and their Facebook group
NCSU Student Dance Club
Dancing in North Carolina
Piedmont Swing Dance Clubs

Some other dance groups

Raleigh-Durham Triangle Dance
Raleigh Dance 4 Fun

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Musicians from Raleigh

Raleigh has produced many musicians, from boy wonders to hardcore metal bands. Here I compile a list of local musicians grouped by genre or instrument. I’ve tried to be as inclusive as possible, but note that rock is really what I’m into, and this blogpost is a work in progress.

Bands from Raleigh

Musicians

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Find out about live music in and around Raleigh

These venues offer some top class gigs:

These blogs and sites cover (among other things) upcoming music performances and festivals in the NC triangle area:

Buy tickets for many local upcoming events, including those at the PNC or Dorton Arenas, at events.triangle.com

There are many places to catch local live music for free (or for the price of a drink), from bars to street music events:

A range of acts also perform regularly at local open mic nights.

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Open mic nights in Raleigh NC

If you know of other regular local jams I would love to hear about them

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