Circle the last weekend of April 2014 on your calendar, because North Carolina is going to be the center of the music universe. The strings are at MerleFest, the synths at Moogfest, and the newly revealed Art of Cool not only has an impressive initial twoday offering, but in its first year it has put together the thoughtful, non-pandering lineup that the Coltrane Festival has shown unable to after three years.
The most immediate calendar item is at the Blind Tiger on Wednesday, where funk juggernaut Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk arrive on the wings of a new record. The mood takes a 180 at Greene Street Club with Cabaret Voltaire-inspired drama-punk by William Control and the awesomely named Brit deathpop outfit Fearless Vampire Killers. Guitar wizard Sam Robinson’s new outfit Marvelous Funkshun just put out his jazziest record to date, and they have a date with Brooklyn disco-soul group Pimps of Joytime, while all the ‘heads will be at the Garage for Athens sonic explorers Easter Island (ba-dum-dum).
On Thursday, songbird Kelley McRae emerges from her Nantahala songwriting isolation for a show at the Garage with Jonathan Loos, while the Blind Tiger borrows Elusive Groove from Ziggy’s to make room for Richmond roots-rock staples Carbon Leaf with Mel Washington.
Scott Miller’s new album Big Big World is a call back to the superb pop-rock devices he employed as a member of the V-Roys, but the ad hoc trio he’s bringing to Hanesbrands Theatre on Friday can do country just fine. Sam Logan and Derek Torres bring one of their great bands, the stoned pop cascade of Lilac Shadows, to play a free one at Krankies with Estrangers and Smoke Bellow. Marvelous Funkshun turns up again with soul powerhouse Doby and crispy R&B unit Dalton Village at the Blind Tiger, while the pairing of sweet indie folk duo Channing & Quinn with rock and rollers Roseland is an exercise in dynamic range at the Garage.
If there’s not enough band hate in your life, replenish the coffers with Florida Georgia Line at the Greensboro Coliseum.. Unknown Hinson is back from the dead after quitting touring last year, and he’s at the Blind Tiger with Roseland. From Erykah Badu and to DJ Kool, the decks at Dynacon Center stay warm, while Bisco offshoot Conspirator try to outdo the leftfield greatness of Wick-It the Instigator at Ziggy’s.
It can be a quiet Sunday with guitar from Tyler Nail at Turntable, or Paint Fumes can peel the cheese off your pizza at NYP with Drag Sounds. Yesterday’s Gravy stays fresh at the Blind Tiger, while the NC Music Fest kicks off in Lexington.