Five Affordable Music Venues in the Triangle

Concerts are a choice night-out for many, especially in the summer months. What better way to spend an evening than with loved ones around, drink in hand, and good music playing? However, as many music fans know, a lot of gigs, especially ever-popular amphitheater shows, come at a steep price. Well, Chapelboro to the rescue: we’re here to point to you toward the coolest spots in the Chapel Hill/Triangle area for great nights of music that won’t kill your wallet.

Cat’s Cradle
The Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro is one of the premiere music spots in all of North Carolina. The 750-capacity venue has hosted an eclectic collection of established acts, including local North Carolina talent, as well as the most exciting up-and-coming acts from around the world, from Nirvana to Crystal Castles to The 1975. Cat’s Cradle has achieved a fair level of notoriety (even worldwide!), so of any of the venues on this list, this is probably the one you’ve heard of. But even if you have heard of the Cradle, maybe even hit up a few of their shows yourself, you still might have missed one of the venue’s greatest treasures: the Cat’s Cradle Back Room. The Back Room is a 160-capacity attachment to the venue, meant to house smaller acts and up-and-comers from around the world. The atmosphere is intimate and special, almost like watching a set from your friend’s garage. Tickets are typically cheaper than the Cradle’s main room as well, so it’s a sure-fire fun night out for all.
Address: 300 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510
Visit Cat’s Cradle’s website here.

Local 506
Local 506 is the Cat’s Cradle cool kid brother. The 225-capacity venue is just a stone’s throw away from the Cradle, with just as hip a vibe in a far more intimate atmosphere. The genres this venue has seen spans as far and wide as metal to dance-pop, so there’s always something for everybody at this venue. Local 506 also hosts open mic nights every Monday night, typically free of charge. If you do decide to hit up a show at Local 506, you have to have a membership card. They only cost $3, and to be sure you never lose it, just take a picture of it on your phone as soon as you receive it. Being a member at Local 506 is more than worth it though; guaranteed great drinks, great variety, and a great view of the action from any place in the venue.
Address: 506 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Visit Local 506’s website here.

The Cave
The Cave has an unmatched heart and history, and if you haven’t been yet then I’d drop your evening plans as soon as possible to make that happen. Down an ominous alleyway, directed by a sign that reads “The Cave, 45 ½” the 150-capacity venue and bar resides. The Cave is one of the premiere spots for local music, a prized but hidden gem of Franklin Street. Christmas lights illuminate the place, along with LED-strings that make the ceiling appear cloudlike, and the “stage” is a well-placed rug, so you get the added treat of being eye-level with performers. With low-ceilings, booming acoustics, and undeniable warmth, The Cave is worth a visit, and definitely lives up to its name.
Address: 452 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Visit The Cave’s website here.

The Pinhook
If you’re looking for a place with a personality all its own, The Pinhook in Durham is your spot. The Pinhook declares itself to be a place for all: “We’re a safe space for lgbtqi folks, POC groups, punks, lawyers, cyclists, trivia nerds, and everyone else,” they say in their website statement. They’re not kidding. There is never a shortage of diversity in a Pinhook crowd, and the vibe is always laidback and respectful. The energy is palpable as soon as you walk in—cool, comfortable, and most of all, fun for all. With a killer view of stage from all corners, vintage video game machines scattered about (yep, you could have a Tekken battle mid-show if you wanted), and an extensive bar with fairly priced drink options, The Pinhook is one of the most unique and enjoyable places for live music around.
Address: 117 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701
Visit The Pinhook’s website here.

Kings Barcade/Neptune’s Parlour
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider taking an eye-opening odyssey to Kings Barcade in Downtown Raleigh. The venue is housed upstairs, with large surrounding windows that give audience members a great view of the city. As for musical offerings, Kings’ sees a lot of heavier shows and local acts, but its beauty is in its variety. In addition to music, Kings Barcade also features a host of diverse comedy acts. So if you’re looking to be entertained under a budget, in a prime location in Downtown Raleigh, plan for a night out at Kings. Additionally, the bar inside Kings is fun and eclectic, but if you’re looking to hit up something a little darker, maybe outside the live music realm, give Kings downstairs companion Neptune’s Parlour a try. Neptune’s prides itself on great craft beer and cocktails, exciting DJ sets, and unique fixtures (they’ve got pinball machines, guys), so on a night out to Kings, be sure stop by Neptune’s too.
Address: 14 W Martin St, Raleigh, NC 27601
Visit Kings Barcade’s website here, and visit Neptune’s Parlour’s website here.

So whether you’re seeing your favorite artist, taking in some local entertainment, or flexing your musical muscles at an open mic, Chapel Hill and the Triangle hold a whole host of options for a very musical, and very economical, night out.

“Broadway Twisted”: Showtunes, Flipped, For A Cause

Monday, April 11, Local 506 in Chapel Hill plays host to the fourth annual “Broadway Twisted” event – featuring classic showtunes performed by more than 20 local actors.

The gimmick? All these songs are gender-swapped: male actors playing women, female actors playing men.

“Broadway Twisted” got its start in Chapel Hill four years ago and it’s grown every year. It’s inspired by the annual “Broadway Backwards” event in New York City, which raises money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Chapel Hill’s version is also for a cause: proceeds from “Broadway Twisted” will also go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, as well as the North Carolina AIDS Action Network (NCAAN).

This year’s show is directed by Arielle Yoder and Jorge Donoso. (You’ve seen them both on stage at PlayMakers and elsewhere around the area. Many of the 22 performers are PlayMakers vets, including some who are currently performing in “Sweeney Todd.”)

Yoder and Donoso stopped by WCHL and spoke with Aaron Keck. (They also previewed the songs they’ll be performing on Monday: Yoder singing “You’ll Be Back” from the musical Hamilton; Donoso singing “Out Tonight” from Rent.)


“Broadway Twisted” takes place Monday, April 11, at Local 506 on West Franklin Street. Doors open at 7; the show begins at 8. Tickets are $10.

Visit for more information and tickets.

The Octopus Project Comes to Local 506 on Sunday

the octopus project _ high res-1617

In one of the more anticipated shows on the Local 506’s summer lineup, The Octopus Project rolls into Chapel Hill on Sunday for a 9:00PM show. Doors are at 8:30, and Le Weekend will open for the veteran Octopus Project which hails out of Austin, Texas. Tickets are $11/$9 and can be purchased here.

A little new age, a little techno, a little trance, The Octopus Project is upbeat, but still mellow, having earned a consistent following by fleshing out an experimental sound without losing the touch of real musicians playing real instruments — not an easy feat in 2013. The band has been around since 1999 and their chemistry is perhaps their most palpable trait. Known for shows with bright lights that don’t stray too far from their studio work (this is a compliment), the show at a venue like 506 should be a hit.

WCHL music columnist Megan Floyd was able to interview the members (like a true band, from the road of course), and asked how they came about:

Megan asked the band about the visuals in their shows that they’re known for:

In terms of of their fan base, The Octopus Project discusses the eclectic and diverse demographic that is drawn to their shows, especially the wide range of ages:

Check them out Sunday night at the Local 506.

Ex Cops, Reviewed at Local 506

ex cops local 506It’s a lazy Sunday on Franklin Street that is oddly quiet, taken up with an impressive reverent silence only interrupted by the occasional abrupt call across the street or light trickles of conversation from patios and passers-by.

But in the Local 506, there’s a different kind of space entirely. A sleek, sonorous bubble of indie pop holds a night together. Brooklyn’s Ex Cops is taking a stroll through their setlist. The crowd is small — you could call it sparse or just intimate — but their smooth heady sound doesn’t need the energy of a massive audience to make it an experience.

Anyway the show is just a stop, a tangent from their ongoing tour, scheduled to give family members in the area a chance to hear them, so the feel is already that of a casual, extra performance.

And in spite of popping mics and an underwhelming crowd of relatives and locals, the eerie vamping strum of their smooth rhythm and the earnestly bright, compact vocal harmonies are still enough to draw you out of the street and into the bubble.

Inside the bubble you’re enveloped in the lulling space dream of the music, and you sink in with the cryptic, minimal lyrics and carefully distorted guitar. Weighted down with reverb, you’re full but not bloated — you’ve just finished a perfectly portioned, wholesome meal, but then you slide along with it as the guitar picks up and the tentative synthesizer melody trips and swoops out from the base of the tall, structured harmonies and you know someone must have slipped something in your drink along the way.

Leads Brian Harding and Amalie Bruun are the lanky, broad-shouldered core of the band, driving the harmonies and conducting the show with their off-handed, effortless urban feel, as if they’ve just stepped out of a Brooklyn coffee shop, café americanos in hand, crossing the street to the Local 506 dutifully but ever-so-slightly begrudgingly. The poppy, upbeat other three behind them, on bass, guitar, and drums, build the momentum and piece together on their own the sonic backdrop for the duo in front, who take charge, tie the aesthetic bundle together, and steer the sound onward to the listener.

Their first full-length album True Hallucinations is available for sale in various places online, and work on the second album will begin soon. The Ex Cops have been playing together since 2011, and their guitars have been repeatedly called “jangly” ever since. Catch similar bands at the Local 506 on West Franklin all summer.