Smaller venues, big acts!
By Brittany Muldoon
Everyone knows those big shows at places like PNC and the Fillmore are always a good time – but don’t forget about the smaller venues around Charlotte this month! There are a ton of shows going on at the cozier places in the area that you won’t want to miss in May. From local Latin music to Grammy Award winners to one-of-a-kind bands with some crazy ideas, there’s something for every type of music enthusiast. Check out some of these places to dip your toes into the diverse Charlotte music scene this month:
This hip venue has a lot in store this month. Their calendar is full of weekly events for music fans of all kinds. For example, Knocturnal, an electronic and hip-hop party, draws crowds every Monday while Bone Snugs-N-Harmony karaoke night takes place every Sunday. You also won’t want to miss the weekly May Residency events featuring Hectagons – an instrumental band from Charlotte. With a couple nights dedicated to Southern rap, Charlotte native Elevator Jay will take the stage along with a few other notable names in the genre. For fans of Latin music, Bakalao Stars will take the stage on Saturday, May 6. Bakalao Stars is known as Charlotte’s hottest Latin band and they’ve gained recognition for being active members in the local music community. They’ve helped organize the Carlotan Rock Festival for local Latino rock music around the Charlotte area for over 10 years now. And of course, Snug Harbor had to include a few rock shows on the bill. From progressive to heavy to Americana and pure rock and roll, Asheville-based Bask will be taking the stage with a few other regional favorites on May 19. Another intriguing show you won’t want to pass up is Hungry Girl with Starbenders, War Twins, and Batsheet on May 20. Batsheet describes themselves as “the most hungover band in Charlotte,” so this show should be a party!
This acoustic music venue is known for boasting thousands of original, independent, and diverse acts, whether it’s local talent or performers from every corner of the world. This month they’re bringing you a wide variety of genres to expand your musical tastes. During the first weekend in May, Folk Soul Revival will attract members of their loyal fanbase, “The Congregation,” to the Evening Muse. The next night, MELODIME will take the stage. They’re known for seamlessly mixing Americana style with some country and the edge of rock and roll and have shared the stage with huge acts like Sam Hunt and Sister Hazel. Another unique show you don’t want to miss is Gaelynn Lea on May 20. Lea is a renowned songwriter and fiddler who is also involved in public speaking engagements about disability and how the joy of music relates to overcoming the challenges that go along with it. Opening for Gaelynn Lea is the husband-and-wife duo Goodnight Moonshine. Sprinkled in with these special concerts are comedy shows, other notable indie American singer/songwriters, and weekly open mic nights featuring successful touring artists.
This eclectic venue is a must-visit for this month. If you’re looking for some seriously crazy shows, this is the place for you. Offering a wide variety of genres, there’s something for that little (or not so little) bit of weird in everyone. Their calendar this month is very focused on rock music, whether it’s bands with original material or heavy metal cover bands. Be sure not to miss Tricounty Terror, the only all-woman Southern punk band “making mincemeat” out of their male counterparts in the punk scene. On Thursday, May 4, the lineup consists of Flowers, Glimpses, Cheesus Crust, and Huber Breeze. With names like that, how can you not be curious? Glimpses describes themselves as alternative, dream-pop, and shoegaze from Charlotte, NC, so make sure to check out this show to get a feel for these cool underground bands. Local legends Black Ritual will be headlining the Milestone on May 20. They’ve spent 10 years in the local music scene and this has given them time to perfect their style and earned them a loyal following in the region.
The Rabbit Hole has some real treats ready for this month. With a more intimate capacity, they have the perfect mix of local talent and nationally touring artists. They’ll be kicking things off right with Funk You – a band that’s guaranteed to live up to their name. Join them on May 4 and get funky with their eclectic musical style. With a healthy dose of local talent on the bill this month, including some metal shows, Groove 8, and some DJ sets at the end of the month, this is a venue you’ll want to keep an eye on. They also have Schwizz, a band described as a melting pot of a few different genres with a unique identity that you will have to see for yourself. They have some bigger names like Family Force 5 and Big Something, who have both played to sizeable crowds in the NC area and they won’t disappoint.
The Neighborhood Theatre starts May off with a bang with the BoDeans! These guys have been around for over 30 years and they’ve toured with the likes of U2, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and more. They’ve also earned themselves a permanent exhibition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. This show will be a steal – the BoDeans are known for their hard rocking shows but for this leg of their career they’ve decided to play more intimate shows with stripped-down versions of their classic songs. For those of you looking for some bigger names: pop-punk act State Champs will be headlining on Saturday, May 6, and they’ll be joined by Against the Current, With Confidence, and Don Broco.
The bill stays strong for the rest of the month, as even more legendary musicians will take the stage. Deb Talan of The Weepies will take the stage after her battle with cancer and she will be joined by a local opening act. Drumming legend Carl Palmer, who has played drums for four decades with bands like Atomic Rooster, Asia and Emerson, and Lake & Palmer will take the stage on Wednesday, May 10. Five-time Grammy award winner Victor Wooten will perform the next week and renowned keyboardist Melvin Seals will join Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe for a performance on Saturday, May 20. For fans of Ned, check out Okilly Dokilly on May 26. As the world’s only Nedal band, most of their lyrics are direct Ned quotes. Their opener for this show is Beatallica – the world’s first ever mash-up band.
The Visulite Theatre has some one-of-a-kind acts on the bill this month. To start things off on Thursday, May 4, they have Leanna Eden & The Garden Of who will be joined by Charlotte natives Nige Hood & The Folk Rap Band and Lara Americo, an activist and songwriter whose music communicates what it’s like to live in Charlotte as a transgender woman of color. Patrick Davis and His Midnight Choir, an 11-piece ensemble featuring horns and background singers will shake up the stage shortly after on Saturday, May 6. Don’t miss The Fritz – a must-see from Asheville, NC. They’re known for creating a highly energetic and fun environment at every opportunity and this show will be no different. For those of you looking for bigger names once again, COIN will take the stage on Wednesday, May 10. Fans of the Grateful Dead, Cosmic Charlie will be performing on Saturday, May 20. Cosmic Charlie is known for their high-energy tribute to the legendary band.
There you have it, folks! Hitting up some of these smaller local venues is a great way to spice up your music calendar this month and expose yourself to everything Charlotte has to offer. Get out to as many of these crazy shows as possible! Enjoy!
Image of Gaelynn Lea by Michael K. Anderson
All other images via the artist’s Facebook