When the concert series Y’all at Dix Park was first announced a few months ago, area music fans didn’t know what to expect.
While Deep South Entertainment, the Raleigh-based producer of the events, has a good reputation for hosting great, free concerts around downtown, it was unknown if the same success could be found in a venue not near foot traffic.
Paul Siler has witnessed nearly every musical event to hit the Triangle in the past decade. He’s the guitarist for Birds of Avalon, which is set to headline the final Y’all at Dix Park show of the summer Saturday night.
As such, he’s had front row seats to most Triangle concert series, thanks to either his band’s involvement musically, or his business’ involvement financially. He co-owns Kings Raleigh, the downtown Raleigh music venue, with his wife, Cheetie Kumar, who is the Birds of Avalon guitarist and a James Beard-nominated chef at Garland restaurant. He can tell when a promoter is booking musical acts that have a presence within the local music community.
“There has been a pretty solid cross-section of different musical genres involved in it,” Siler said in a phone interview during a break from his duties at Kings.
Previous Dix Park shows have featured Hammer No More The Fingers, The Veldt and The BQs. The series is also produced by the Dix Park Conservancy and the city of Raleigh. Proceeds from concessions will go to the creation of Dorothea Dix Park.
“From what I’ve seen, it looks like they are trying to get a pretty good variety of local bands that play original music, so they’re doing a pretty good job of putting it together,” Siler said. “As time goes on, I’m sure there will be even more, as it continues into the future. Plus, any new place for a band to play is a good thing.”
A new place to play is something that the members of Birds of Avalon have missed experiencing for much of this decade. The band – one of the premiere rock acts to have sprung out of the Triangle music scene in the last 20 years – have mostly stayed local because of other pursuits off stage. Siler acknowledges the band sometimes pines to tour the country.
“We definitely miss it. There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “In 2010 we signed a lease to open the new Kings location in downtown, and that alone made it difficult for us to really get out and tour as much, especially after (Garland) opened in 2013. In 2015 we went out on a couple of short tours with Future Islands and Ex Hex, which was really nice. We would like to be able to go out and do more two- or three-week tours from time to time.”
The band’s wish for touring may come true soon. In October, Birds of Avalon is set to release their first full-length album since 2011’s self-titled LP and will continue to showcase the evolving sound that the band has embraced since the departure of original vocalist Craig Tilley.
Now relying more on group harmonies and a more open-mindedness toward songwriting and performing, the members are anxious to bring the new version of the band to other parts of the country.
“We’ve never been able to tour with (the new sound), which really is with more of a group effort, and it’s just a whole different band,” Siler said. “It’d be nice, and I think we’ll do it at some point.”
If the band attempted a West Coast tour to coincide with the album’s release, they would need to fly across the country to tour down the coast.
“It’d take a lot of planning, but it’s something we miss,” he said.
What: Y’all at Dix Park summer concert series
When: 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Dorothea Dix Park, 600 Umstead Drive, Raleigh
Good to know: Field day games go on through the event. Food trucks and alcoholic beverages will be available. Outside alcohol is prohibited. Lawn and tailgating chairs and blankets are permitted. Parking is available at the park. Enter via Umstead Road/Lake Wheeler Road entrance or Western Boulevard/South Boylan Avenue entrance.
4 p.m.: Gates open
5:15 p.m. Brooke Hatala (Next Generation Performance)
6:15 p.m. Debonzo Brothers
7:30 p.m. The Beast
9 p.m. Birds of Avalon