⇒ The following venues host free shows on a regular or semi-regular basisARMADILLO GRILL (DURHAM): Sometimes the location changes, but the Campus Concert Series typically puts together three-band bills that draw heavily from Durham's quirky, strong rock scene. Fridays, 5:30 p.m. See schedule at www.duke.edu/web/CCS.
BROAD STREET CAFE (DURHAM): A mix of lesser-known artists and bigger draws like Jon Shain and Lucy Wainwright Roche contribute to an eclectic schedule of jazz, reggae, blues and Americana acts. Rarely a cover. Tuesdays through Sundays. See schedule at www.thebroadstreetcafe.com.
LOCAL 506 (CHAPEL HILL): The venue canceled its Free for All series last year, but it continues to present CD release shows and other free local events on a sporadic basis. See schedule at www.local506.com.
THE POUR HOUSE (RALEIGH): Monday and Tuesday nights generally bring free sets from acts both touring and local, including Brooklyn-based indie rockers Lowry's four-week residency. See schedule at www.the-pour-house.com.
TIR NA NOG (RALEIGH): Established locals, such as Goner and Hammer No More The Fingers, headline alongside newcomers and, occasionally, out-of-town guests. Bills generally fit in the indie rock spectrum. Thursdays, 10 p.m. See schedule at www.tirnanogirishpub.com.
⇒ The following venues typically operate in a pass-the-hat fashion to collect donations for bandsTHE CAVE (CHAPEL HILL): Weeknight rock and Americana shows are generally donation-based, while weekend and late-night shows may charge a cover. Sundays-Saturdays. See schedule at www.caverntavern.com.
THE RESERVOIR (CARRBORO): Metal and rock bands passing through town or looking for a local gig get paid from your tips. See schedule at www.reservoirbar.net.
SADLACK'S HEROES (RALEIGH): Enjoy roots rock acts and throw your dollars in the bucket while eating one of the best sandwiches in Raleigh on Sad's back porch. See schedule at www.myspace.com/sadlacksheroes.
⇒ During the summer, an abundance of music series scattered throughout the Triangle—from the Rivermill Series in Saxapahaw to Back Porch Music at American Tobacco in Durham—offer free tunes.