“Carolina Blue” Man Group at DPAC

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I’ll just go ahead and get this out of the way: Thursday night’s performance by the Blue Man Group blew my mind.

Describing the live art performance by the Blue Man Group isn’t really possible without sounding somewhat unbelievable. Each scene of the performance is completely different in presentation while building on the previous ideas and images in the show. What I can say is that music, art, choreography and some serious imagination is always on display at a Blue Man Group concert. The rest, for a lack of better words, you must see to believe.

The reason I call it a ‘concert’ as opposed to a show is clear within a few minutes of the lights dimming. Sections of the event are performed with a backing band that is truly integral to the experience. The talented producers of the Blue Man Group have been directly involved with the creation of the Group, and the streamlined performance doesn’t slow down until the show finally ends. Layered rock and dance tracks paired with the act, and small musical accompaniments used to enhance the scene are heard throughout. The timing of these small but significant sounds to the Blue Man stage act is a testament to the creativity and talent of the entire crew.

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Audience participation is also crucial to the energy and overall experience of the show. The majority of front-and-center patrons on Thursday were wearing Gallagher-esque ponchos to avoid flying paint, water, and marshmallows, but were not prepared fully for all the food groups. Random individuals at each show are selected from the crowd and, judging from their (and the crowd’s) reaction, were legitimately audience members. Thanks to the kind folks at DPAC, my section was close enough to see subtle jokes and Blue-faced expressions but perfectly far enough to keep my clothes clean.

The Blue Man Group is an all-ages show. Therein lies the beauty of a Blue Man performance: what is funny for a child also happens to be great for adults. Many jokes are embedded in visually stimulating graphics, and those that aren’t 100-percent clean manage to be hidden in plain view. For parents of younger children, Blue Man Group hits the ‘PG’ nail right on the head. The performance is a multimedia display of the truest form — it brings together intense video graphics, pin-point choreography, inspired music and a fun-filled storyline in one action-packed hour and a half.

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Thursday’s routine included quite a few new additions and, as usual, some changes to classic Blue Man Group scenes. I had seen the Group a few years back in a different city and can only remember a few similarities between the two performances. Durham Performing Arts Center is also an exceptional venue, and the modern touches to a classically-inspired building only enhanced the experience. I would suggest sitting as close as possible for maximum enjoyment, and as anyone who has seen the Blue Man Group would say, do not arrive late! (They will make sure you hear about it!)


Five Shows to Catch This Labor Day Weekend

UNC Football vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
Thursday, 8/29, 6:00PM

This may not be considered a show, or even an event (outside of Columbia and UNC’s campus), but the excitement and entertainment value of this game is going to be exceptional. Choose your favorite viewing location (like Carolina Brewery, Pantana Bob’s, Four Corners or Williams-Bryce Stadium) and get ready for the biggest college football opener in UNC’s recent history. Franklin Street will be buzzing post-game regardless of win or loss, but get together with some fellow Tar Heels and start the party early.

You don’t want to miss the one-man show, Jadeveon Clowney.


Supercollider with Iron Will and The Chain Gang
Friday, 8/30, 9:00PM
21+. No Cover.


Haven’t been to The Kraken yet? Take the short drive down Highway 54 on Friday and see a couple of NC bands at a great location. Supercollider is a three-piece outfit from Carrboro that plays self-described “gnarl pop”, and Iron Will and The Chain Gang have a smoky, bluesy sound that is right at home in Chapel Hill’s most working-class music venue. If whiskey, slide guitar and three chord blues make you happy, don’t miss this Friday at The Kraken. Don’t forget to have a designated driver in order to offset what would be a massive cab fare back to Franklin.

Hear Supercollider and Iron Will and The Chain Gang on SoundCloud.


The Dynamite Brothers w/ Transportation
Saturday, 8/31, 6:30PM @ Southern Rail
21+. No Cover.

Since 1998, The Dynamite Brothers have been playing a unique brand of funky rock and roll in the Chapel Hill area, and they are returning to Southern Rail this Saturday to play a show starting around six. Their formula of equal parts soul, funk and rock should add up to a fun experience. Because there’s no cover, you can afford to catch a few drinks at Southern Rail and listen to some local rock music before going out on the town. Of course, don’t forget to park somewhere other than Carr Mill Mall.

Click to hear the Dynamite Brothers on ReverbNation.


JAWSfest 2013
Sunday, 9/1, 3:00 PM @ Southern Rail
21+. No Cover.

It might seem like the Southern Rail has something going on all the time, but this is a special something. Four surf-rock bands (Blood Red River, The Monterreys, Phatlynx, and The Evil Streaks) are playing throughout the day, and the movie Jaws will be projected after sunset. If you haven’t gotten sea-sick by then, stick around for a dance party or the screening of the remaining films in the Jaws trilogy.


Twiztid w/ Jellyroll, Lil’ Wyte, Aqualeo, Stitchy C.
Sunday, 9/1. 7:30 PM @ Lincoln Theatre
All Ages. $20-$25.

This lineup doesn’t exactly read like the MTV Music Award performance lists, but you definitely will not see Miley Cyrus and her gyrations at this show. Twiztid has continued  what Insane Clown Posse started- making shock rock for a new generation, only this time in rap form. Need more? Lil’ Wyte has been rumored deceased for years, and Aqueleo is well-known in the Texas music scene. Stitchy C is part of the Iconoclast Crew (based out of Greensboro) and is more than equipped to get the crowd into a frenzy. Hip-hop may be dead, but rap is alive and well in Raleigh this weekend.


Five Shows to Catch This Weekend


Saturday, August 24 @ Cat’s Cradle
All Ages, 9:00PM. $15-17

Very few bands from the 1980-1990’s Chapel Hill music scene are still together, much less relevant to the degree of Superchunk. This can’t-miss show will likely include tracks from their new album “I Hate Music” in addition to over 20 years of previous recordings. Critics and fans alike have supported the group’s reinvented sound and passion for music, so old and new fans will both be pleased. Homegrown acts like these are the reason Cat’s Cradle is great- make sure to check out Superchunk this weekend.


Magnolia Collective
Friday, August 23 @ Local 506
9:00PM. $5

Magnolia Collective is playing at the Local 506 this Friday and are bringing Michael Rank and Stag and Hank Sinatra along for the night. This line-up will be perfect for fans of American folk music and blues, and whiskey lovers should be able to afford a few rounds with such a small cover charge.

Hear a sample of Magnolia Collective by clicking here.


SiBANNAC, The Bastages and Totally Slow
Friday, August 23 @ The Cave
21+, 10:00PM. $5

Before checking out Superchunk on Saturday, stumble down the stairs off Franklin to the Cave and check out this line-up of fresh punk-rock bands. SiBANNAC hails from Chapel Hill and showcases some authentic Chapel Hill residents while The Bastages and Totally Slow represent Durham and Greensboro respectively. Grab a PBR and get ready to thrash with pure energy and emotion in the most intimate venue Chapel Hill has to offer.

Tribe in Motion
Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24 @ The ArtsCenter
All Ages, 8:00PM. $8-16.

Many levels of human interaction and compassion are represented during a Tribe in Motion performance, which can loosely be described as an inspirational, theatrical dance experience. The staging will include original music and choreography representing the beautiful struggle of life told from a few truly unique perspectives. Expect the unexpected, and prepare for a positively enriching performance from the cast members of motion/TRIBE.


Super Smash Bros Tournament
Sunday, August 25 @ Beer Study
21+, 2:00PM. No Cover.

There are few entries from the cartridge age of gaming that have had the replay value of Super Smash Bros. This cult classic pits iconic Nintendo game characters against each other in a four-way battle to the death. If this game is new to you, please check out the tournament for a dose of nostalgia mixed with old-fashioned nerd behavior.

This gameplay footage should get you pumped.