When: Sun., Dec. 27, 8 p.m. 2015
NANTUCKET | SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27
LINCOLN THEATRE, RALEIGH—Rock 'n' roll brims with coulda-beens, and that includes Jacksonville's Nantucket. From the mid-'70s through the early '80s, Nantucket seemed to be the next big thing. The band's horn-laden hard rock drew as much from Southern funk and R&B as it did "More Than a Feeling," offering a perfect parallel to the mid-'70s golden age of classic-rock radio. Nantucket opened for Kiss, Journey, AC/DC and Styx. Epic and Atlantic fought over them in 1977, and Epic won, releasing the band's self-titled debut the next year. A few hundred thousand Nantucket records sold, but a hit never materialized. In the mid-'80s, when Nantucket packed it in, the band seemed destined for footnote status as an unsung regional favorite.
But Nantucket eventually got its due, at least in its home state: The band picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Charlotte Music Awards in 2008 and was enshrined in the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, ostensibly the state's highest musical honor, in 2012. Those awards followed a mid-'00s reunion and gave old Nantucket new life. Much of the original band has since left; in June, Durwood Martin, of beach music band The Embers, even replaced singer Mike Uzzell.
Given the band's freewheeling early years, the turn to beach music might be surprising, but Nantucket has simply gotten softer with age. A few years back, the band released You Need a Ride to Raleigh, which gave nods to the breezy beach music title track and some snazzy island rock à la Jimmy Buffett. Three of the record's nine songs reference the beach or shag dancing in the title. Indeed, with more relaxed tempos and brassy horn arrangements, it's music meant for shagging.
Still, that Nantucket persists at all is admirable. No, Kannapolis, home to the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, isn't Cleveland, but there are worse places to find yourselves in your fourth decade as a band. 7:30 p.m., $15–$25, 126 E. Cabarrus St., Raleigh, 919-821-4111, www.lincolntheatre.com. —Patrick Wall