“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 BroadwayTwisted.com 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.