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Cat’s Cradle Back Room

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300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States
919.967.9053 https://catscradle.com/venue/cats-cradle-back-room/

January 2020

Tall Heights

January 21 @ 8:00 pm - January 22 @ 12:00 am
Cat’s Cradle Back Room, 300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States

Tall Heights have relentlessly built a career from the ground up. Starting as buskers on the streets of Boston and now performing in packed venues across North America, Europe, and beyond, the duo has distilled their sound in an organic and unselfconscious way. The unmistakable DNA of their music draws on many elements, but the blend of their two distinct voices, in both harmony and unison, is what elevates it and separates it from the pack. Hailing from the Boston area, Paul Wright and Tim Harrington met each other in their hometown of Sturbridge through Tim’s older brother. The friendship blossomed in high school when they both took up the guitar and began working on music together. It didn’t take long for them to see the potential hidden in these casual jam sessions. As Paul recalls, “Tim transformed from kid brother to musical collaborator over the course of a summer.” Tall Heights is now set to release two highly-anticipated singles, ‘Keeps Me Light’ and ‘Under Your Skin’, both mixed by Grammy-nominated engineer Damien Lewis. Following on the success of their viral single ‘Spirit Cold’, this new material captures a similar authentic and meaningful energy, but also shows a side we have not yet seen of the pair. The self-produced project, recorded in their simple home studio, captures that raw moment between albums, delivering some of their most honest and heartfelt work to date. Written and recorded in a reflective lull between hectic periods of touring, the new tracks reaffirm Tall Heights’ commitment to a singular sound and an equally rare friendship. ‘Under Your Skin’ rides a wave of ethereal harmony, creating a mesmeric atmosphere of nostalgia. The introspective track, which features additional vocals from Berklee College of Music’s Upper Structure, is a song for the next generation. It was written when Harrington was expecting his first child and completed soon after his son was born. Around that same time, Wright’s brother had a daughter too. It was a moment of reckoning for Tall Heights, a moment to peek over the partition into posterity. In their words, “It’s a reflection on living. It’s about the joy of welcoming a new human into existence, and the heartache of bringing them into a frightening, twisted world. We liked the word play of “under your skin” being both a reference to blood relation, AND how dads get under their kids’ skin”. With ‘Keeps Me Light’, they explore the sense of safety felt in friendship. Even as humankind marches on into darkness, there will always be a safe space in the heart of a friend. The track showcases a rich string arrangement, additional a cappella vocals from Upper Structure, and features Harrington’s parlor-sized resonator guitar, which gives it a bluesy, almost Southern grit. Together, the two tracks give audiences an intimate look at a poignant and potent time in the lives of both artists. Combining Paul’s lifetime of classical training, Harrington’s spontaneous artistic instincts, and the prismatic union of their unique voices, Tall Heights’ sonic imprint is in a category all its own. Tall Heights’ recordings have amassed over 275 million streams. They regularly serve as Ben Folds’ backing band, and have toured alongside CAKE, Judah & the Lion, Colony House, and The Paper Kites. They’ve also performed on both Conan in 2016 and CBS Saturday Morning in 2018. ‘Under Your Skin’ and ‘Keeps Me Light’ are due for release fall 2019.

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Illiterate Light

January 24 @ 9:00 pm - January 25 @ 12:00 am
Cat’s Cradle Back Room, 300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States

Formed in the summer of 2015, Illiterate Light transcend expectations of typical rock music through their limitations as a duo. Jeff Gorman elevates his gritty guitar melodies and honest lyricism by stomping out thunderous synth bass with his feet as Jake Cochran layers lush vocal harmony and explodes with body convulsing energy around his minimalist standing drum kit. Gorman and Cochran’s incessant writing, commanding live performance, and constant touring promise a bright future as they finish their debut album with Vance Powell (Jack White, Kings of Leon, Chris Stapleton) and Adrian Olsen (Foxygen, Natalie Prass). “Better Than I Used To” is the first taste of what’s to come from Illiterate Light. Spanning the better part of a decade, the creative evolution between Gorman and Cochran is far from ordinary. The duo has run an organic farm in the Shenandoah Valley, toured the mid-Atlantic in bands by bicycle, and lived in small communities while pursuing modes of alternative education. Their eclectic background is mirrored in their sound and lyricism, floating between postmodern confusion and vibrant optimism. Though shaped by the DIY music scene of their hometown Harrisonburg VA, the duo has grown immensely through immersion in the thriving communities of both Richmond, VA and Nashville, TN. Links: Facebook | Instagram | SoundCloud | Spotify | YouTube

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Road To Shakori: Unaka Prong, Hustle Souls Vintage Pistols

January 25 @ 9:30 pm - January 26 @ 12:00 am
Cat’s Cradle Back Room, 300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States

Meeting in Boone, NC through Appalachian State’s Hayes School of Music, Unaka Prong began as a joint collaboration of songwriting in 2013 between John Hargett, Mike Welsh, Daniel Stevenson, Jonathon Sale, and Chris Pope. Over the past six years, Unaka Prong has been sculpting a sonically unique identity. Offering a fresh and memorable musical experience that many fans have described as a melding between prog rock groups like King Crimson, jazz funk groups like Soulive, and psychedelic jam rock groups like Phish. Combining odd meters, funky grooves, and earnest lyricism, their latest release, ‘Salinity Now!’, reflects the group honing in their songwriting with each stylistic direction. Recently the band has been busy touring the east coast performing at music festivals and clubs alike supporting notable acts including Tauk, Col. Bruce Hampton, Moon Taxi, Toubab Krewe, Jonathon Scales Fourchestra, and Dumpstaphunk. The band takes an experimental approach to many of their songs through an expressive, conversational atmosphere between instruments. Every show and album mixes a hearty blend of genres that is sure to appeal to many different ears. Links: Website | Facebook Hustle Souls is an Asheville, NC based soul/rock band who fuse nostalgic, dust-covered-vinyl soul aesthetics with modern sensibilities; recently named one of “Music Connections” Hot 100 Live Unsigned Artists & Bands. Driven by a lust for songwriting, the band’s fervid live performance is heightened by undeniable instrumental prowess and 3 part vocal harmony. With relentless touring, sold out shows and major festival appearances the band has earned a reputation as one of the East Coast’s most promising acts, After releasing a live video series, the band was approached by gold and platinum mixer and producer Eric “Mixerman” Sarafin (Ben Harper, Pharcyde etc.) about making a record. Hustle Souls released their debut full-length album “Color” to a sold out crowd and are currently touring from Atlanta to Boston in support of the 10 song LP. “”Their blend of jazz, pop, and rock is inventive and captivating. Their lines are on point and their sound is tight, creating space for Billy Litz’s rabbit hole musicianship. And you can f***ing dance to it. Friday night was a revelation, I’m already looking forward to the next one.” – Caleb Calhoun Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube Vintage Pistol is a 5-piece roots rock band out of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Comprised of a heavy rhythm section, searing electric guitars, keyboards, and harmonica, they are described by most as wild, rambunctious and jam heavy. You’ll hear shades of the Allman Brothers, the Stones, Van Morrison and The Marcus King Band in their music. They take the old road to rock and roll fame and fortune. Relentless touring. Hundreds of gigs, from city to city, night after night, fueled by drugs and booze and the relentless desire to be heard and to connect. No matter where or when you see them, you’ll never catch them on an off night. Vintage Pistol fires no rusty bullets. They explode like a flintrock spark to black powder and rage wildly and unpredictably throughout their shows. Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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Who Runs the Hill Artist Showcase

January 30 @ 8:30 pm - January 31 @ 12:00 am
Cat’s Cradle Back Room, 300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States

Who Runs the Hill Artist Showcase Artists: RYXOG Micah Evans Rasco Kamari Thats 2x Berchie Crown Chaz Juttera 4MoneyChris Misguides Meetro Bankquoh Bbychop Kal Caviness D money

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Damn Tall Buildings

January 31 @ 8:00 pm - February 1 @ 12:00 am
Cat’s Cradle Back Room, 300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States

This is a seated show. In their early days, Damn Tall Buildings didn’t rehearse – they busked. Now, whether live or on record, the band still radiates the energy of a ragtag crew of music students playing bluegrass on the street. But anchoring that energy is their instrumental chops, their strong songwriting, and their varied influences that stretch beyond bluegrass, even beyond American roots music altogether. Whether sharing lead vocals and instrumental solos or blending their voices into high-spirited harmony, Damn Tall Buildings are a tight unit that contains more than the sum of its parts. Primary vocalist and lyricist Max Capistran’s singing recalls old blues and The Band-style roots-rock, whereas Sasha Dubyk’s time studying musical theater is evident in her rich vocal tone and soulful flair. The interplay between Avery Ballotta’s fiddle and Jordan Alleman’s banjo brings stratospheric dimension to the churning rhythm section of Capistran’s guitar and Dubyk’s bass. The band’s harmony singing is tight without being too slick – they sound like four individual voices joined together in celebration, not a perfectly polished machine. Their choruses are the kind you sing along to with a glass raised into the air. Their lyrics find beauty and glory in the mundane, workaday struggle of everyday life: time keeps passing, you don’t like your job, you drink too much, you laugh with your friends, you search for a home, and you dream about what else might be out there. You carry on. This is what Damn Tall Buildings sings about, what they seek to share with their audience. This has long been the case, even when their audience was simply whoever happened to be passing by. In 2013, then students at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, the band took their instruments to nearby street corners and jammed for hours on old bluegrass and blues songs, traditional fiddle tunes, and eventually their own original music. They had become fast friends: Ballotta and Alleman met playing frisbee on Boston’s Revere Beach, while Capistran and Dubyk met in class, when they were wrongfully accused of cheating off each other on a test because they had put down the exact same incorrect answer. Busking, a continuous test of one’s ability to command an audience’s attention, cemented their closeness and fostered their infectious, captivating performance style. It’s how they learned half of their repertoire, and it’s where Dubyk first picked up the bass. Since then, they’ve made three albums: 2014’s Cure-All, 2015’s self-titled, and their forthcoming third album, Don’t Look Down. The band has also relocated to Brooklyn, NY and toured widely, sharing stages with Sierra Hull and the California Honeydrops and appearing at festivals like Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and Freshgrass Festival, where they took second place in the 2016 band competition. Links: Website | Spotify | YouTube | Apple Music

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February 2020

Chris Farren

February 4 @ 8:00 pm - February 5 @ 12:00 am
Cat’s Cradle Back Room, 300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States

On his Polyvinyl debut ​Born Hot​, Chris Farren opens with a question he’ll spend much of the album trying to answer: ​Why do I feel out of place in my own outer space? ​Telegraphing his inner narrative with a childlike candor, the Florida-born artist lays bare his most intense anxieties and-in the very same breath-documents the mildly soul-crushing minutiae of everyday life: the strange indecency of blasting AC/DC bangers through an iPhone speaker, the inexplicable bleakness of a Starbucks franchise tucked inside a Target. But with his irrepressible sense of humor and utter lack of self-seriousness, Farren defuses the pain of even the deepest insecurity, gracefully paving the way for pure pop catharsis. On ​Born Hot​ Farren fully embodies the sensitive-goofball dichotomy found in all his work, especially his exuberant live show: a solo performance in which he plays to live-recorded backing tracks while projecting purposely wacky visuals (his own face duplicated thousands of times, text that reads “ANOTHER PERFECT SET” at the end of each closing song). By the same token, Farren went full-on tongue-in-cheek in choosing ​Born Hot​’s title and cover art-a crudely drawn self-portrait that captures him lounging shirtless, looking every bit the ’70s-pop Lothario. “In my lyrics there’s so much self-examination that teeters on self-loathing, and I like to juxtapose that with an aesthetic that’s completely the opposite,” says Farren. “It’s a defense mechanism, because I feel embarrassed talking about my feelings so very plainly, but at the same time I also just find the idea of having that much self-confidence really funny.” In the making of ​Born Hot​, Farren recorded in his L.A. apartment and worked entirely on his own, embedding his inventive take on classic power-pop with flashes of folk and punk and ’50s doo-wop. On “Love Theme from ‘Born Hot,'” he slips into a sunny synth-pop reverie, bringing bouncy rhythms and radiant synth tones to a heart-on-sleeve message of romantic determination. “I wrote that when two different couples in my life were splitting up, and I felt kind of rattled but also so lucky to have my wife,” says Farren. Moodier and more darkly charged, “Search 4 Me” reveals his struggle to live in the present, articulating his anxiety in pieces of fragile poetry (e.g., “And you glared at me so loudly that I burst into confetti”). And on “Surrender,” ​Born Hot t​ urns exquisitely melancholy as Farren details the specific hurt of a sudden friendship breakup. “I was friends with their ex, and they told me it was too painful to stay friends with me,” Farren recalls. “‘Surrender’ is about that feeling of wanting to respect someone’s wishes, but also missing that person and just wishing you could talk to them again.” Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud | Spotify | YouTube | Apple Music

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Mega Colossus 15th Anniversary Show

February 7 @ 9:00 pm - February 8 @ 12:00 am
Cat’s Cradle Back Room, 300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States

Adventure Metal since 2005. Twin guitar leads like an eagle screeching through space, fantasy inspired lyrics from the dustiest old book collection, and the raw power of metal to make you grin with pleasure as you pour beer on your own head, this is Mega Colossus! Links: Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

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Seratones

February 8 @ 8:00 pm - February 9 @ 12:00 am
Cat’s Cradle Back Room, 300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States

Get Gone, the potent debut album by the Shreveport, Louisiana natives in Seratones, makes a strong case that this little-known corner of the state is fertile ground, musically speaking. A.J. Haynes (vocals), Connor Davis (guitar), Adam Davis (bass) and Jesse Gabriel (drums) serve up a combination of Southern musicality, garage rock ferocity, and general badassery. Haynes’s powerful singing voice, first honed at Brownsville Baptist Church in Columbia, Louisiana at age 6, rings across every track. Davis’s bass and Gabriel’s playing propel every song with the grit, energy, and rawness of punk, the feeling of soul, and occasionally, a little jazz swing. The other Davis offers a clinic in guitar riffs, from swaggering blues to searing interstellar leads. Recorded at Dial Back Sound studios in Mississippi, Get Gone is all live takes, a portrait of the Seratones in their element. Add the soul and swagger of a juke joint with the electricity coursing through a basement DIY show, and you’d begin to approach the experience of seeing this foursome live. The well-paced, multi-faceted set showcases a band dedicated to sonic exploration. “Don’t Need It,” which opens with a muscular swing and tight guitar lines, builds into a monster finish with a nasty corkscrew of a guitar line. “Sun,” a brawny thrasher, courses with huge, raw voltage riffs. “Chandelier,” a mid-tempo burner and vocal workout by Haynes, goes from croon to a crescendo that would shake any crystals hanging from the rafters. Shared history in the city’s music scene brought the Seratones together a few years ago. All four had played together with one or another in various local punk bands, bonding through all-ages basement shows, gigs at skate parks and BBQ joints, and late nights listening to jazz and blues records. In a city of multiple genres, no fixed musical identity and a flood of cover bands, these adventurous musicians carved out their own path, personifying the do-it-yourself ethos. The group was quickly recognized after forming, winning the Louisiana Music Prize in 2013. “Shreveport is always shifting its identity,” says Haynes. “You can do a lot of different things when it seems like every band is its own genre.” Seratones’s music, created with collaborative songwriting and spontaneous creativity, is certainly their own, due perhaps in part to Shreveport’s unique sonic geography. The city sits at a nexus roughly equidistant from Memphis soul, Mississippi Delta Blues, and New Orleans jazz, with Texas swing located just over the nearby state border. The band’s sound draws from those touch points and more, ranging from Black Sabbath’s Paranoid to Kind of Blue. They’ll happily connect the dots between Ornette Coleman and Jello Biafra. Seratones have different names for the amalgamation of styles found on their debut: Their own “expression of freedom,” music that’s “all about waking people up,” a safe space to feel what you want. However you choose to describe it, Get Gone is unexpected and unbowed, a head-snapping showcase of the twin pillars of Southern music, restlessness and resourcefulness. by Patrick Sisson Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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MC Lars

February 9 @ 8:00 pm - February 10 @ 12:00 am
Cat’s Cradle Back Room, 300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States

MC Lars is the creator of post punk laptop rap and lit hop, which he has extended and powered into a fusion of rap, punk, rock, ska, pop, and other genres. He is post-modern — combining his music with powerful and present lyrics, and packing concert venues with raps about everything from the iGeneration to Guitar Hero to Edgar Allen Poe to Game of Thrones, the Simpsons and Cyberbullying. He speaks to and for people of all ages, lifestyles, and perspectives, and is a story-teller, covering love, life, loss, confusion, and hope. He does so with energy and wit, joined with a strong sense of humor and perspective. He is an engaging, exciting and compelling performer, and was selected by 12 Street Press as one of the top 7 nerd rock artists to see live. He tours in the US, the UK and the rest of Europe, Australia, and Japan. His latest tour, the fall 2017 MC Lars Awesome Adventure Friendship Tour, opens in Denver in September, and continues through 20 shows in the US, England, and Scotland. In addition to touring, he has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, at South by Southwest, ComicCon, Slam Dunk Festival, Truck Festival, Orlando Nerd Fest, and as part of Vans Warped Tour. He has performed on stage with numerous artists, including Bowling for Soup, MC Frontalot, mc chris, Wheatus, Say Anything, Gym Class Heroes, Brand New, Simple Plan, T-Pain, Snoop Dogg, Nas, and Koo Koo Kangaroo. He is a DIY Indie artist and a number of his albums have been funded by his fans through Kickstarter, at record-breaking levels. His work (albums, EPs, and music videos) includes collabs with a wide range of musicians – among them, “Weird Al” Yankovic, KRS-One, Sage Francis, Watsky, Mega Ran, Jaret Reddick of Bowling for Soup, Wheatus, the Matches, Ash Wednesday, Kool Keith, Spose, MC Chris, MC Frontalot, YT Cracker, E 40, Schäffer the Dark Lord, Beefy, and K.Flay. He is an active and successful player in the music industry’s new media digital world; and has a strong presence with his fans through Patreon, Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and his own label, Horris Records. He is wired and connected, worldwide, through his active social media presence, his website, and his online store at Hello Merch. His “MC Lars: The Video Game,” accessible through Steam, showcases his songs in an engaging and fun-to-play beat-driven story about the compelling triumph of indie music. Lars teaches and lectures, too, and his songs are used by fellow teachers in classrooms throughout the US. He has presented on TEDx and at numerous colleges and high schools. He has worked on a public-service basis with the American Heart Association, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Nantucket Historical Association, the Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum, the New York City public school system, and the Los Angeles public school system through the USC Annenberg School for Communication. He is one of the artists featured in the Cambridge University Press “Companion to Hip-Hop,” and has close relationships with faculty members at Stanford and USC. Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | YouTube

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Bay Faction

February 11 @ 8:00 pm - February 12 @ 12:00 am
Cat’s Cradle Back Room, 300 E Main St.
Carrboro, NC 27510 United States

Florida Guilt is the debut album by Boston based trio Bay Faction (comprised of James McDermott, Kris Roman, and Alex Agresti). Sonically a departure from their released body of work, the band explores the duality between bedroom pop intimacy and the subdued energy of soft rock. Despite the band’s prolificity, Bay Faction have remained relatively quiet since their EP released in 2015, focusing on honing their craft as both songwriters and recording artists. Forgoing the formal studio environment, the band tracked the album out of their Bushwick apartment with weekend retreats to drummer Agresti’s home studio. The quiet New Jersey suburb offered time for the band to mull over every detail and meticulously craft the sound design for the album. Growing up in the post dot-com bubble, the up cycling of pop culture’s trends accelerate with today’s generation fervent for the nostalgia of kitschy consumer electronics and burgeoning social media. Deconstructed and repurposed, these artifacts manifest as a playfully ironic nod to early 2000’s electro pop and indie rock. For the band, Florida Guilt is a cathartic release. The decrepit state, harboring a decaying population, embodies the ethos of McDermott’s religious upbringing. Plagued by Catholic guilt stemming from the repression of his queer identity, McDermott wrestles with inner turmoil and a longing for the innocuous pleasures of youth. Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify

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