Music News & Reviews

Ringo Starr kicks off our top concert picks, but don’t forget about Thomas Rhett

Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band Band perform Aug. 6 at the  Durham Performing Arts Center.
Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band Band perform Aug. 6 at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

An iconoclast, an emerging country star, some veteran jam bands, a cool, pop-punk band and a grizzled nu-metal group lead the pack this week for some truly diverse live music choices.

1. Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band

The details: Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m., Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham. See website for ticket availability. 919-680-2787 or

Thomas Rhett
Thomas Rhett will perform in Raleigh at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek. John Shearer

The angle for many of the features on the Rolling Stones’ “No Filter” tour is that this is the last time on the road for the aging British rock band. That leads us to wonder how many more tours does Ringo Starr have in him? The former Beatles drummer recently turned 79. Yes, the longtime vegan looks fab, but who knows how much longer he’ll want to belt out “Yellow Submarine?”

Todd Rundgren, who was part of Starr’s “All-Starr Band” for many years, hopes the musician will continue to tour. “It wouldn’t be the same without Ringo being out there,” Rundgren says while calling from his home in Hawaii.

But what’s Starr like? “First off, he’s a Beatle,” Rundgren says. “Once you get over that, he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Ringo needed to be in a band like the All-Starrs. He didn’t know what to do with himself before that. Ringo couldn’t just be in some new band, he’s Ringo!”

2. Thomas Rhett

The details: Aug. 8, 7 p.m. Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, 3801 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh. Tickets start at $48.75, 919-831-6400 or

Thomas Rhett is on his way to star status. The emerging singer-songwriter has the courage to jump genres. Rhett’s latest album is aptly titled — “Life Changes,” mixes country with rock, pop, R&B and EDM.

His father, Rhett Akins, a formidable country songwriter, shed some light on his son’s songwriting style to The Washington Post.

“He doesn’t sit down and say, ‘I’m going to write the most different song today,” Akins says. “His songs just come out pushing the envelope naturally. You have to learn that Thomas Rhett has always known since he was a kid, since he was old enough to know what was cool and what wasn’t cool, he knows the trends before they’re going to happen.”

3. Blues Traveler and Moe.

The details: Aug. 4, 8 p.m. Red Hat Amphitheater, 500 S. McDowell St., Raleigh. Tickets start at $20. 919-996- 8800 or

It’s been 30 years since Blues Traveler formed in tony Princeton, N.J. The pop/rock/blues act has been one of hardest touring bands since it hit the clubs a generation ago. Blues Traveler is still out behind its 13th album “Hurry Up & Hang Around.” The band revisits its roots with songs that range from raucous to earnest.

“We made this in old school fashion,” Blues Traveler guitarist Chan Kinchla told The News & Observer in October before a show at The Ritz. “We got together in a house in Nashville and worked together. Everybody had ideas. It was like the old days.” Expect Blues Traveler to run with some extemporaneous jams. Veteran jam band moe. will co-headline.

4. The Menzingers

The details: Aug. 7, 8 p.m. Cat’s Cradle, 300 E. Main St., Carrboro. Steady Holiday will open. Tickets start at $18. 919-967-9053 or

Papa Roach.jpg
Papa Roach performs at Red Hat Amphitheater. Darren Craig

Will the Menzingers preview tracks from the Pennsylvania punk band’s forthcoming album, “Hello Exile,” when the group plays Cat’s Cradle? The energetic band worked once again with punk producer Will Yip, who has one of the finest monikers in rock. The catchy single “Anna” has dropped. Odds are that at least that jangly tune, which eloquently tips its cap to Philadelphia, will be delivered in Carrboro. The album comes out in October.

5. Papa Roach

The details: Aug. 6, 6:30 p.m. Red Hat Amphitheater, 500 S. McDowell St., Raleigh. Asking Alexandra and Bad Wolves will open. Tickets start at $27.50. 919-996- 8800 or

Many nu-metal bands are history. Whatever happened to Limp Bizkit and Taproot? But Papa Roach lives on. The Sacramento, Calif.-based band is back with its latest album, “Who Do You Trust?” Frontman Jacoby Shaddix tells Billboard that the band’s material is becoming more intense.

“The style evolution on his album in particular is as mature as it is adolescent. The punk is more punk, the pop is more pop, the hip-hop is more hip-hop, so we really pushed the extremes on this album out in different directions,” he said. “That’s what makes this record exciting and special for me.”

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