Within the elegant, ostentatious confines of the 1,700-seat Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh last week, the Triangle's major venues--from the 20,000-plus shed at Alltel Pavilion to the area's thankfully eclectic Museum of Art--revealed their early schedules for the summer of 2005. There was pomp, circumstance and back-patting as Cary Mayor Ernie McAlister and Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker introduced a video from each venue before sitting back and letting the highlight reels ensue (Julius Hodge, Jordan Collins and monster trucks starred in the RBC Center's production). The two even exchanged gifts, with Meeker snagging a pine tree and McAlister carrying home an acoustic guitar autographed by Buddy Guy. Sorry, Charlie.
Several lineups followed, culminating in a roll call for Alltel Pavilion, who announced the late additions of Destiny's Child, Brian McKnight and the Allman Brothers Band before telling the crowd that the schedule "Sounded Like Summer."
But forget summer for a few months. Spring is where we're--and it's--at right now. Last week, clubs overflowed as concertgoers emerged from their winter hibernation to fill the Cradle, Martin Street, The Lincoln, Bickett Gallery and several other hot spots. M. Ward--who was opening for Rilo Kiley at a semi-crowded Cradle less than two years ago--was called back for a second encore Thursday night, and Fantomas sold the place out Friday. The same goes for Bu Hanan's Physics of Meaning, who packed both sides of Bickett Gallery. The kids danced in temperature-induced excitation to the sounds of two up-from-Athens Elephant 6 bands on two different nights in two different vertices: Of Montreal Friday at Martin Street (how 'bout those Cup a Joe kids?) and William Cullen Hart's The Circulatory System Saturday at Duke Coffeehouse. Sunday even got love this weekend with des_Ark dismantling the Posi-Dome and a talent-stacked showcase at the Cradle, as two Schoolkids clerks took their new bands--Cities and Tennis & The Mennonites--to the stage only after Chris Williams pulled double duty in Maple Stave (they play with des_Ark and The Shipping News at Kings Tuesday) and Port Huron Statement (who opened for Of Montreal).
Cracker and Junior Brown played to a crowd of 1,000 in front of Capital Fitness as Raleigh's Band Together raised over $200,000 for Raleigh-based international famine relief organization Stop Hunger Now. Success.
The dB's are back together, Pylon just announced a free show in Athens in June, and Prefuse 73, Boom Bip, HR, The Junior Boys, Dizzee Rascal and Little Brother will all appear in the Triangle within a month of each other. Yes, spring must be in the air, and--aside from those Angiosperm gametes floating around--I'm enjoying breathing it in. --Grayson Currin