Michael Franti & Spearhead, Sandbox, Mommie

When: Sat., Oct. 20, 2 p.m. 2012

As late summer has seesawed into early autumn, the three-year-old, 5,000-seat Raleigh Amphitheater has added some last-minute high marks to a rather low season. After hosting no shows in May, for instance, and after losing last year's series of bland but certainly appreciated cheap shows sponsored by Bud Light, they've finally nabbed an approved title sponsor in Red Hat. And, less important but certainly more fun, they've kept the doors open outside late this year. That's allowed another paint-your-body rave, a family-friendly fall festival and a visit from much-loved Australian waif Gotye. Today, another brand new to downtown Raleigh, PNC Bank, will host a free welcome-to-town party of its own, pairing local talent with feel-good, think-deep bro Michael Franti. While there is some inherent irony to a socially conscious lyricist, peace activist and equality advocate headlining a gig on behalf of a bank with its name atop a skyscraper and arena, the choice does at least give the amphitheater a free gig this year that's more relevant than, say, Sebastian Bach. And the undercard is excellent: The Sandbox Band opens, followed by the pleasant Mommie and the inspired trans-Atlantic vibrations of Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba. The free event starts at 2 p.m. —Grayson Currin

Price: Free

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