Your guide to the Triangle's outdoor concert season

Warmer weather means music is in the open air.And local venues cover all genres.

dmenconi@newsobserver.comApril 27, 2012 

  • Pavilion at Walnut Creek Raleigh 4/28 Sugarland, Dave Stewart 5/11 – Zac Brown Band 5/22 – Drake, French Montana 6/8 – Lady Antebellum 7/15 – Toby Keith, Brantley Gilbert 7/22 – Kiss, Motley Crue 7/2 5 – 311, Slightly Stoopid, Aggrolites 7/27 – Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan 7/30 – Nickelback 8/5 – Chicago, Doobie Brothers 8/10 – Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Eli Young Band, Edens Edge 8/19 – Jason Mraz, Christina Perri 8/22 – Big Time Rush, Cody Simpson 8/24 – Brad Paisley, The Band Perry NC Museum of Art Raleigh, 6/10 – AfroCubism 6/30 – Doc Watson 7/10 – Andrew Bird and Mavis Staples 7/14 Neko Case, Kelly Hogan 7/21 – Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players 7/28 – Alloy Orchestra and "Phantom of the Opera" 8/3 – Les Primitfs du Futur and "Midnight in Paris" 8/4 – Les Primitfs du Futur and "Hugo" 8/17 – Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue 8/25 – Mary Chapin Carpenter Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater Raleigh, 4/29 – Beach Boys 6/12 – Gavin DeGraw, Colbie Caillat, Andy Grammer 6/22 Alice Cooper, Vernez 7/12 – Barenaked Ladies, Blues Traveler, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Cracker 7/14 – Summerland Tour with Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Lit, Marcy Playground 8/8 – O.A.R. 9/11 – Il Volvo 9/29 – Fresh Beat Band Koka Booth Amphitheatre Cary, 5/2 – Hob Nob Jazz with Stanley Baird Group 5/5 – Baisakhi Mela 5/9 – Hob Nob Jazz with Kathy Gelb and Gregg Gelb 5/12 – Band Together with B-52s 5/16 – Hob Nob Jazz with Al Strong Quartet 5/23 – Hob Nob Jazz with Scott Sawyer/Ron Bendle Duo 5/26 – NC Symphony Summerfest Opening Night 5/27 – American Celebration featuring Triangle Wind Ensemble 6/2 – "A Prairie Home Companion" live broadcast with Garrison Keillor 6/3 – NC Symphony Summerfest "Rhapsody in Blue" with pianist Clara Yang 6/9 – NC Symphony Summerfest "The Pines of Rome" 6/16 – NC Symphony Summerfest "Fables for Families" 6/23 – NC Symphony Summerfest "Totally 80s Rewind" 6/30 – NC Symphony Summerfest "Romeo and Juliet" 7/4 – NC Symphony Summerfest "Independence Day" 7/7 – NC Symphony Summerfest "A Night in Paris" 7/11 – Furthur Featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir 8/11 – ABBA tribute 9/28 – Heart American Tobacco Warehouse Durham, 4/27 – Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones 5/4 – NCCU Jazz Ensemble 5/11 – Music Maker Relief Foundation Blues Revue 5/18 – Tony Rice Unit 6/15 – Adam Hurt, Stephanie Coleman, Beth Williams Hartness 6/17 – Durham Community Concert Band/Durham Jazz Ensemble "Pops for Pops" 6/22 – Lizzy Ross Band (F, 6/22) 7/4 – John Brown’s Groove Shop Band 7/13 – American Dance Festival Musicians Concert 7/27 – Justin Robinson and the Mary Annettes 8/10 – John Howie Jr. and Rosewood Bluff (F, 8/10) 8/17 – Bill & Libby Hicks 8/24 – The Old Ceremony 8/31 – Charanga Carolina 9/7 – Red Clay Ramblers

It’s 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 Triangle’s 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 Raleigh’s Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek. Seven of Walnut Creek’s 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 DRA’s 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 Cary’s 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-52’s 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.

Raleigh’s 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.

Durham’s American Tobacco Warehouse performance space has two good series of free shows sponsored by public radio stations: WUNC’s “Back Porch Music on the Lawn” and WNCU’s “Jazz on the Lawn.” The WUNC series commences Friday evening with the old-time group Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones, while WNCU’s shows get going May 4 with the NCCU Jazz Ensemble. Tony Rice Unit, John Brown’s Groove Shop and The Old Ceremony are all on on American Tobacco’s schedule between now and September.

Menconi: 919-829-4759 or

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