upcoming shows you should check out
WHO TO SEE AT SHAKORI HILLS
Sic transit gloria mundi. As the warm weather goes, so does music festival season and just as it begins, so it ends. The Shakori Hills Music and Arts Festival (www.shakorihills.org) will see out another outdoor concert season this weekend with some of the finest country and roots music acts to be heard and every day brings something sublimely transcendent. Thursday might have an abbreviated schedule, but it is absolutely, positively not to be overlooked. The whole shebang is kicked off by the Midtown Dickens on the main stage, a band producing an enamored following with their blend of simple folk, punk and heavenly vocal harmonies. Slightly overlapping their set is FODFest, a traveling revue celebrating the life of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who himself was a stellar musician. It’s equal parts concert, song-swap and open jam session with some of his very best friends from the New York music scene. Later that night, however, is the band that I’m personally most looking forward to seeing. Chapel Hill’s Roman Candle put out one of the best albums not only in the state, but anywhere with Oh Tall Tree in the Ear and their live shows exude incredible energy thanks to vivacious front man Skip Matheny. They’re reminiscent of early Rolling Stones and later Ryan Adams, with layers all their own. One word jumps off of the page for Friday, albeit in two places: “Duhks.” The Winnipeg-based band is drawing immense acclaim for the stunning vocals of Sarah Dugas and their amalgamation of French-Canadian folk and Irish fiddle tunes, which has landed them squarely in the Friday night catbird seat. Another of their incarnations, the Turtle Duhks will play earlier in the day, though they’re more instrumentally oriented. Opposite the Duhks Friday night will be one of North Carolina’s most treasured musical sons, as the irreproachable Jim Lauderdale does a set with festival mainstays Donna the Buffalo as his backing band, which he’ll do again with a few more special guests Sunday afternoon to close out the festival. If you can only attend one day, Saturday is the way to go. Between the Belleville Outfit, Mad Tea Party and Chatham County Line, the daytime is stacked, though folk orchestra Lost in the Trees shouldn’t be neglected just because they’re on a smaller stage that evening. If there’s one thing missing this year, it’s a kick-ass psychedelic late night act, though another Duhks set is a fair replacement. Sunday is all about east African powerhouse Sampa Mapangala and later, the Gourds, who are sick of you asking them to play that cover of “Gin n’ Juice.” Don’t miss the songwriting workshop with Jim Lauderdale, either. Four-day passes run $95, though single day tickets are available and very fairly priced.
ANDREW BIRD RETURNS TO NORTH CAROLINA
One of the most mercurial artists of our time will make a two-night stand at the Cat’s Cradle starting tonight and continuing on Thursday, as multiinstrumentalist Andrew Bird (www.andrewbird.com) will return to the town where he spent several years as a major contributor to the Squirrel Nut Zippers. It’s nearly impossible to encapsulate Bird’s music in just a few words, but “great” would be the perfect starting point. As underrated a musical medium as whistling is, Bird is doing is best to send it fully mainstream and is he ever good at it. He’s like the Miles Davis of the whistle, but he’s mastered enough instruments to make Prince jealous and his stage set-up often looks like a musical museum. With antique violins, glockenspiels and dulcimers, he fosters a profound connection with the audience every time he steps on stage. Check out the YouTube video where he drops his treasured violin and breaks it; his reaction alone tells plenty about his intense stage presence. Tickets for each date are $25 and the doors open at 8 p.m. with St. Vincent opening.