Its that time again, when music starts happening in the great outdoors as temperatures climb. And while there have already been a few outdoor shows, this weekend is when the Triangles five primary outdoor music venues get cranking in earnest.
Continuing a trend established over the past decade, country music holds sway more than ever at Raleighs Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek. Seven of Walnut Creeks 14 shows on the books so far are country, starting with Sugarland on Saturday and continuing with shed regulars including Brad Paisley, Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts. Walnut Creek does have one very solid hip-hop show scheduled so far, Drake on May 22.
Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater has the most appropriate of outdoor acts on Sunday, the Beach Boys 50th-anniversary tour. The big draw this go-round is reclusive and troubled mastermind Brian Wilson, who is back in the Beach Boys touring band for the first time in eons. Also on DRAs 2012 docket are hall-of-fame shock-rocker Alice Cooper on June 22 and kid favorites the Fresh Beat Band on Sept. 29.
So far, most of the schedule at Carys Koka Booth Amphitheatre consists of NC Symphony Summerfest shows, which opens May 26 and has its customary thematic programming ranging from Rhapsody in Blue to Totally 80s Rewind. The local charity group Band Together also has the venerable new-wave pop band B-52s at Booth on May 12 as a fundraiser for Urban Ministries of Wake County. And Booth has started the Hob Nob Jazz Series with regional jazz acts on the back deck, Wednesday evenings through May 23.
Raleighs NC Museum of Art has a solid schedule, highlighted by a June 30 date featuring and honoring the great Tar Heel flatpicker Doc Watson. Other notable shows include alternative-country chanteuse Neko Case, New Orleans funk-jazz master Trombone Shorty and a double bill featuring fiddler Andrew Bird and legendary soul woman Mavis Staples.
Durhams American Tobacco Warehouse performance space has two good series of free shows sponsored by public radio stations: WUNCs Back Porch Music on the Lawn and WNCUs Jazz on the Lawn. The WUNC series commences Friday evening with the old-time group Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones, while WNCUs shows get going May 4 with the NCCU Jazz Ensemble. Tony Rice Unit, John Browns Groove Shop and The Old Ceremony are all on on American Tobaccos schedule between now and September.
Menconi: 919-829-4759 or blogs.newsobserver.com/beat