It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it, right? Over the last two weeks, I had a stretch of attending eight concerts in 11 days. Moving closer to town earlier this year -- I finally sold my house in Greensboro after a year! -- has definitely made it easier to get around to shows. Here's a quick diary-like look at how it all went down.
JULY 11: I started off the night at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre for Steve Winwood and Tom Petty. I took photos of both acts and then hung out in the parking lot to listen to most of Petty's set. When you only have a photo pass and no ticket, they escort you out of the venue after the pics are taken (usually the first three songs of each band). As Petty was heading toward the end of his night, I jumped in the car and headed to the Neighborhood Theatre for the free show by The New Familiars. A high-energy, rowdy night followed as The Newfies surely won over many new fans.
JULY 14: A long hot day out at Verizon Wireless as the Warped Tour shuffled through town. While most bands did little to impress me -- hey Devil Wears Prada, I get it, you can scream -- Against Me! and Gym Class Heroes were nothing short of entertaining. I caught roughly 15 bands during the show before my sore feet finally made their way home.
JULY 16: I headed over to the Evening Muse this night for a trio of acts that I had seen before while judging the Crowntown Showdown. The evening began with a set by South Carolina's Wasted Wine, followed by Charlotte's Matt Gilmore and the closing set by Georgia's Marshall Ruffin Trio. I only wish that more than 50 people witnessed the group of indie talent.
JULY 17: It's off to the Visulite Theatre for the CD Release Party by Tropic Culture. The Latin group had nine people on stage as they celebrated the release of Live to Love, Love to Live. There was a solid turnout for the show and most weren't seated as the dance groove took over and had people of all ages shaking their collective asses in front of the stage.
JULY 18: It was country night out at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. This was mostly seen via photo pass as Brittney Cason was in attendance to review the show. Julianne Hough, of Dancing with the Stars fame, opened the show and proved she's more than a dancer: That girl can sing! Chuck Wicks was up next, followed by Jewel. Jewel sounded good, but I'm not sure why she felt the need to slow down her hits or yodel for her final song. Brad Paisley had the ladies screaming and singing along to close the show.
JULY 20: Having never seen Rush before, I thought I'd check them out. So, someone tell me what's up with all the naked Barbie dolls ...? The band sounded great -- almost amazing that it's only a trio. I know the band's hits, but after a while, the songs just started to all sound alike. I spent a little time on the lawn to take in the full effect -- it's a great place for a summer concert on a nice night. Around two-thirds of the way through the first half of their set, I thought, "OK, I've seen them ... It's not my thing ..."
JULY 21: I thought I'd check out the open mic night at Evening Muse that's better known as the "Find Your Muse." It just goes to show how much talent is around this city. You may go to an open mic expecting a bunch of amateurs who don't know what they're doing and have been playing guitar for a week, but it's not the case. The performances at the Muse were entertaining and enough for just about any of them to hold their own. A jazz quartet, singer-songwriters ... And if you don't like them, they only play two songs. It's well worth the three bucks to get in. The night was capped off by a feature set from Massachusetts act Gretel -- strong vocals and three-part harmonies drew a big crowd.
It doesn't stop there ... plans include(d) 311 and Snoop Dogg on July 24, Maroon 5 and Counting Crows on July 28, Projekt Revolution on July 30 and you never know which others I'll see on a whim, perhaps the Old 97s, Lamb Handler and The Hot House Hefftones.
You can see reviews and/or photos from all of the mentioned shows at qcvibes.com.
It also looks like the Crowntown Showdown open mic competition will be making its return in mid-August, so stay tuned for that!