2011 concert preview

by Ryan Snyder


Eumir Deodato performs at High Point Theatre January 29. (courtesy photo)

Is there a more eagerly anticipated live performance than Loretta Lynn’s Feb. 27 show at the War Memorial Auditorium? The Queen of Country’s 50-year career has produced a discography longer than DMX’s rap sheet. Also coming to War Memorial, Al Jarreau, who has made a full recovery from his July onstage collapse; his extensive tour will find him in Greensboro on April 22.


There’s little officially confirmed with college radio bookings as of press time, but there are certainly good shows on the horizon. Most notable are a certain instrumental house band of Daptone Records that have the initials “BB” coming in February, courtesy of WUAG. They’ve only confirmed Bit Brigade, who play live Nintendo soundtracks as gamers beat the game onscreen at Artistika on Jan. 12.

WQFS, however, has one-man dream pop act Wild Nothing and LA punk band Abe Vigoda coming to Legitimate Business on Feb. 9, and synth pop revivalists Twin Shadow coming to Studio B on a TBD date.

WUAG has been the media sponsor of some excellent dance music at Artistika, and that trend continues with performances by AC Slater on Jan. 21, the Hood Internet on Feb. 4 and Kill the Noise on April 1. The Don of the Dance, however, arrives at Greene Street Club on Feb. 9 in the form of RJD2.

The Carolina Theatre will rouse from a quiet fall/early winter concert season, most notably with a Jan. 21 performance by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. They aren’t quite as exhilarating as, say, the Mingus Big Band or the Arkestra, but lovers of pop standards will find two hours of bliss within the 19-member unit. Another type of orchestra will descend on Feb. 3, as Grateful Dead re-enactors the Dark Star Orchestra will take a random show by their jam deities and lovingly recreate every detail. Arguably a more important show comes the night after, with the Carolina Theatre Benefit featuring Prairie Home Companion vets Polecat Creek and pickers Warren, Bodle & Allen. More bluegrass comes Feb. 19 with a performance by rising stars the Grascals and Mountain Heart. Between that, however, words of praise come sparingly.

Scarfone Promotions has either embraced a Dadaist booking philosophy, or is practicing a measured disregard for the band:venue suitability equation. Either way, on Jan. 27, Hinder may very well be the worst band ever to disgrace the vaunted stage of the Carolina Theatre. They espouse a staggering lack of imagination in their music through an eagerness to take every sleazy, Nickelbackian clich’ to untold extremes, and are essentially a caricature of what bad-boy rockers should be. Pass.

“Ec-lectricity” isn’t just a candidate for Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year, it’s how the High Point Theatre has branded their current concert season. Though it technically began with the Georgia Satellite’s in November, the music portion went into hibernation, only to briefly awaken Jan. 29 with a performance by mercurial producer Eumir Deodato, the man behind the funked-out take of Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra” on which Phish modeled their version. Naked Gun fans will no doubt know the name Herman’s Hermits feat. Peter Noone, who will perform on March 19, though Boney James’ May 21 show might be the most anticipated among hip-hop sample geeks.

“Big Sam” Williams is easily one of the hardest working musicians on tour today, as evidenced from the staggering eight shows in three days he played at last summer’s Bonnaroo Music Festival. He’ll come to the Blind Tiger for the third time in a year on Jan. 19, and he always delivers. The bigger stage means an uptick in booking quality, and love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Love Language are the biggest thing to come out of this state since the Avett Brothers. They’ll perform at the Tiger on Jan. 22 with Holy Ghost Tent Revival. While Big Sam is at the forefront of next-gen NOLA funksters, Ivan Neville represents the vets at their peak. The former Keith Richards sideman and solo artist will bring his current band Dumpstaphunk’s deep groove to the Tiger on Feb. 19.

In a shocking development, Clarence Carter is actually still alive, and will stroke it at the Greensboro Coliseum on Feb. 13 as the headliner of the Piedmont Blues Festival. Whether any actual blues is played this year remains to be seen. At the same time last year, Jamey Johnson was at the Millennium Center, reaching deep into the homophobic recesses of his catalog. On Feb. 22, it’s a sure bet he’ll be a little more forthcoming in his opening gig for Kid Rock at the Greensboro Coliseum. Either way, there’s sure to be more single women there than at Rush’s Time Machine tour on April 1, but not nearly as many as the New Kids On the Block and Backstreet Boys show on July 23. Is there such thing as “classic boy bands?” Elsewhere in the world of arena rock, the LJVM resurrects Korn from the Isle of Misfit Misfits Appropriators to co-headline with Disturbed on Feb. 1. On the opposite end of the musical spectrum, Celtic Woman sold out multiple performances at the Durham Performing Arts Center last year, and will assuredly do the same at their Feb. 26 date in Winston-Salem. Speaking of sell-outs, the other greatest Beatles’ tribute band, 1964, will commemorate the Fab Four’s most commercial era on April 17.