Raleigh Alternative Concert Lineup: Must-See Acts Coming This Fall

Raleigh Fall Concert

These fall shows are so hot; everyone already has tickets! It’s not too late, though to check out these artists, buy tickets, or enter contests to win. Here’s the hookup for the Raleigh alternative concert scene coming this fall.

*Sidenote: Feel free to click on the venue links to check out plenty of other artists headed this way or download Bandsintown to track shows in your area.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Catfish and the Bottlemen are a British alternative rock band from North Whales. Their lead singer, Van McCann, has one of the catchiest names ever as well as the most poignant vocals. Modern-Day British rock and alternative/indie bands always seem to have the key to what is next in this genre. Catfish and the Bottlemen are similar to the likes of Arctic Monkeys and The Hunna. These bands are paving the way for the future of alternative rock music.

If you are new to Catfish, take a journey back to 2014 and check out their most popular tunes “Cocoon” and “Kathleen.” For a fresh, recent sound, their tracks “Conversation” and “Longshot” are ‘get stuck in your head’ catchy. Don’t miss Catfish and the Bottlemen at The Ritz on Tuesday, September 24th.

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RADIO CONTEST

The Head and the Heart

The Head and the Heart are a perfect chill band with authentic, storytelling folk songwriting. They will be playing at Red Hat for the second time on Tuesday, October 1st.

Most of you will be familiar with The Head and the Heart from their radio single “All We Ever Knew” in 2016. But, man do they know how to write some heartfelt songs. Their album, Signs of Light, is a no-skip type record that you play on a sunny fall afternoon. Songs like “Rhythm and Blues” and “I Don’t Mind” show off their versatile style. Off of their new album, Living Mirage, “Glory of Music” will bring fans of any kind to tears.

If you want to listen to their earlier songs, “Coeur d’Alene” is a fan-favorite and “Lost In My Mind” is pretty much guaranteed to be on the setlist.

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RADIO CONTEST

The Kooks

The Ritz, Raleigh has a killer alternative concert lineup this fall! The Kooks are a fun band that I haven’t listened to in a while. They have some songs that are a little more pop-rock than Catfish and the Bottlemen. Their earlier songs like “She Moves In Her Own Way,” “Naive,” and “Ooh La” will take you down memory lane.

Admittedly, I need to go back and relisten to their music and add their new stuff. You should do the same! “Always Where I Need to Be” will bring back ‘early 2000s car singalong’ days. The Kooks are headed this way Wednesday, October 9th.

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The Neighbourhood

The Neighbourhood, playing at The Ritz on Wednesday, November 6th, are a unique take on today’s alternative music scene as they incorporate hip-hop influences and electronic beats into their work. Everyone is familiar with their 2012 single “Sweater Weather.” If you listen to some of their other tracks, you might get more of an upbeat emo sounding vibe. Take “R.I.P. 2 My Youth” or “Cry Baby” for instance that have serious lyrics contrasted by vibrant beats.

Their track “Void” off of their most recent album is an emotionally transparent anthem. “Softcore” is a supernatural sounding tune with relatable lyrics about a toxic relationship. “You’re like the sun, you make me young. But you drain me out if I get too much.” Whew!

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// THE 1975 //

This ‘pop-rock emo, ambient synth & guitar’ band dropped five new tour dates on us a week ago. It has been a bit of a process for long-time fans to get these tickets as they tried a new pre-presale strategy. Nevertheless, they are coming to PNC Arena on Tuesday, November 19th! I repeat, PNC. ARENA. *Deep breath.*

If you want the tea, you’ll listen to “Robbers,” “Couldn’t Be More In Love,” “I Like America & America Likes Me,” and “You.” Or all of the songs. All. Of. Them.

The good news is that you can still get face-value tickets and maybe even cheaper tickets; they are on sale now. Bring your mom, dad, husband, wife, kid, brother, sister, cousin, friend, neighbor, dog, cat? And I’ll see you there!

GENERAL SALE TICKETS

*I will update this post with other Raleigh alternative concert contests as they pop up.

Opening Acts That Will Turn You Into Forever Fans

How many times have you seen a live show where you were not familiar with the opening acts? Maybe you even missed the opening acts because of travel or lack of paying attention to the start times. Sometimes it is unavoidable depending on work schedules, travel plans, or traffic, etc. More often than not, though, you can count on the headliners to tour with equally incredible artists.

So, get to the show early and let’s check out these memorable openers!

Marc Scibilia

My mom and I first saw Marc Scibilia open for James Bay in 2015. Although you may not know Marc by name, you will likely recognize his voice from a familiar Jeep Super Bowl commercial. Hearing “This Land Is Your Land” had the crowd experiencing a déjà vu moment. You’ve probably seen it, check it out here.

Marc played several songs that had the crowd hooked on first listen. He was an act that you frantically type into your search bar and instantly add all of his songs. His single at the time, “Wide Open Arms,” had such an anthemic vibe in the small theater. If you are a Springsteen fan, give Marc Scibilia a listen. He has that American folk-rock kind of style. He often likes to cover a little Springsteen now and then which tends to draw the crowd in even more. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for his album Out of Style out in October of that year. From that album, “Better Man,” “The Moment,” and “Jericho” are vulnerable tracks with relatable lyrics about love and relationships.

Marc Part 2 & 3

Fast-forward a year later, and Marc was opening for Gavin Degraw here at Red Hat in 2016. He played an emotional stripped style version of “Jericho.” There couldn’t have been a more picturesque venue for the song. “How Bad We Need Eachother” was an anthemic crowd favorite that got everyone on their feet clapping along.

The best thing about discovering new artists that tour with your favorites is that they usually come back around for shows of their own. Marc was headed back to the triangle for the “Summer Clothes” tour at the Pour House in 2017. Although it may have been an untimely Monday in June, it was a fan’s dream. Let me say that his voice and performance were both much bigger than the venue. He has released several outstanding singles since this show. His most recent release, “You Are the Night,” has a Calvin Harris type beat on a classic love song.

Joseph

James Bay sure knows how to pick impressionable opening acts! For round two of the “Choas and the Calm” tour the female band, Joseph blew fans away. Their harmonies are insane, which makes perfect sense because they are sisters, after all. Songs like “White Flag” and “Canyon” had Bay fans immediately hooked and wanting to hear more. I haven’t taken their album out of the now spinning queue since. Perfect timing to check them out now as they are back with a new powerful single “Fighter.” They also announced an upcoming album along with a North American and European tour this past week.

Jamie Lawson

Jamie Lawson was the first artist signed to Gingerbread Man Records by Ed Sheeran in 2015. Although he opened for many Ed shows on the road, he also opened for Vance Joy AND One Direction!

Jamie is a timeless songwriter with a voice that will cut through and mesmerize a crowd of any size. His intimate style of performing reminded me of Damien Rice’s shows. If you are unfamiliar with Damien Rice, he is one of Ed Sheeran’s longtime idols. You could drop a pin at his shows, and everyone seems frozen in awe. This comparison makes perfect sense in regards to the allure of Jamie Lawson. He had Ed, Vance, and 1D fans eating out of the palm of his hand; convincing most of them to book trips to see him again. Grab the tissues before you listen to his chart-topping single, “Wasn’t Expecting That.”

Opening Acts, Jamie Lawson
Opening Acts, Jamie Lawson

Mikky Ekko

Mikky Ekko was the most surprising opening act I have seen in a while! Immediately my mom and I were blown away by his voice and his stage presence. You may think you are not familiar with him, only to find out that he wrote and sang on the hit song “Stay” with Rihanna. Boy, did he ever hit that one out of the park on stage! If you want to check out his solo version of the song, this one is stunning.

Every other song that he played made the crowd feel like they were at his headline show. For instance, “Not the One” is a song that draws you in so much that you forget where you are. I haven’t had the chance to see him again, but I have since followed all of his releases. I am looking forward to what he has in store next.

lovelytheband

What a perfect festival band! After lovelytheband opened for Vance Joy and 5 Seconds of Summer in 2018, they seemed to pop up on every festival lineup. Most listeners will be familiar with their radio single “Broken.” However, this was not the tune that jumped out to me the most. Their song “Coachella” was the one that turned me into a fan, and has become somewhat of a ‘Chella season anthem.

Furthermore, “Your Whatever” off of their debut release, Finding It Hard to Smile, is a ‘write the lyrics in your away message’ kind of track. “You’re obsessed with the moon and in love with the stars. I’m in love with your soul and everything that you are.” Yes, please!

Lauren Jenkins

This recommendation comes to me from my parents. They recently saw Lauren Jenkins open up for The Wild Feathers at the Chameleon Club. My mom felt that the crowd was drawn to her “humor and comfort with telling her story.” “She had that personality that pulled you in, and she wasn’t afraid to talk about her failed relationship that inspired some of her songs.”

If you listen to her album, No Saint, you can quickly tell that she has a Nashville influence. One of the stand-out tracks is “Running Out of Road,” which may be reminiscent of early Taylor Swift tunes like “A Perfectly Good Heart” and “The Way I Loved You.” This track has the lyrics that Taylor is capable of today as a veteran songwriter. Point blank: Taylor Swift fans would LOVE her music. I hope to see her up on stage doing her thing alongside Taylor in the future!

Check out this playlist featuring these A-List Opening Acts!

LANY: A Different ‘Kinda Hericane’ in 2019

LANY, The Ritz, Raleigh, NC.
LANY SOLD-OUT at The Ritz, Raleigh. June 1st, 2019.

In June of 2017 the L.A. —> New York band, LANY (lay-knee), released a song called “Hericane” on their self-titled debut album. It couldn’t be a more fitting song title for fans in the Raleigh area considering the band’s first local headline show took place the Sunday after Hurricane Matthew. A couple hundred dedicated fans braved road closures and flooding to make it to the “Kinda” tour on October 9th, 2016. Fast forward almost three years later, Paul Klein, Jake Goss, and Les Priest have gone on to release their second album. They are currently on a massive world tour which included a recent sold-out show at The Ritz in Raleigh.

OMG ILYSB

The first song I heard by LANY was “ILYSB” (I Love You So Bad stripped version!) around the spring of 2016. I was instantly hooked and played it to no end. *Goes on YouTube and watches all of the live performances of the song.* This one is my FAVORITE! I finally branched out and listened to the rest of the songs on their EPs. Quickly I fell in love with “4EVER!”, “Someone Else” (check out this baby version), “Walk Away,” and later “pink skies.” The kinda EP was a very well-timed soundtrack to summer days. At the time, LANY seemed to have a pretty defined fan base even before the release of their debut album.

LANY is the kind of band that you discover, and you wonder why you hadn’t listened to them earlier. All of those bands that you see fans talking about on your Twitter feed are worth the listen! I did the same thing with The 1975, believe it or not. Somehow, I overlooked them and dare I say, ignored, their music until it hit me in the face. I bit the bullet with LANY, and I’m so glad that I did!

HERICANE CAT’S CRADLE 2016

Another timely release came for me as the “Kinda” tour was passing through Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro in October 2016. This might have been the best gig ever for LANY fans! Cat’s Cradle is a great venue to see up-and-coming bands before you find yourself at the back of a sold-out theater straining to see the stage. Plus, the group had just built momentum opening for Oh Wonder there that June. You will never regret seeing an act there.

While the hurricane blowing through over the weekend might have put a damper on individual travel plans, it had its perks for those who were able to make it. The queue was minimal, a rather unheard of advantage for LANY fans today. There was plenty of space to stand and dance, a perfect view, and an overall intimate feel. My favorite memory from the show was when PJK (singer Paul Klein) had to stop at the beginning of “Current Location,” and take in the fact that everyone in the entire room was screaming the lyrics back to him. His reaction, “You know it!?” still resonates with me today. I learned my lesson if you can make it, go to the gig!

THE LANY TOUR

So, that ends the crazy trips for LANY shows, right? Nope. Not at all. I had to see them again. The boys had been gearing up for their debut album release while simultaneously on tour. Even better, they were coming back to Cat’s Cradle on a Saturday! However, luck is rarely on my side, and that date was out of the question. Road trip to Charlotte and back in one night a month before album release? OFC, BRB!

This gig at the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte had a completely different feel. It was packed! Practically every fan knew all the words from the EP songs up to the newest release weeks before the show. Don’t expect many people to be quietly enjoying the music at their shows. Expect to dance, jump, and sing every word at the top of your lungs.

Paul, Jake, and Les released their debut album, LANY, in June of 2017. Are we seeing a pattern for these summer releases? The album is written, produced, and mixed by LANY themselves with a few guest writers, and producers. Aside from the EP favorites, my favorite tracks on this album are “It Was Love,” “13,” “Hericane,” and “The Breakup.”

MALIBU NIGHTS TOUR

This band does not mess around when it comes to releasing new music. Fans barely had enough time to soak up the glory of the first album before they were on to the next. No time to breathe here. Kinda like the lifestyle in L.A. or NY…hmmm… The first heartbreaking single, “Thru These Tears,” was yet another summer release a little over a year later.

The release of their second album, Malibu Nights, brings more summer vibes tunes and a massive world tour. I was shrieking with pride when I saw they were playing at The Ritz, Raleigh! If anyone was prepared for this tour, I am not sure how. Purchasing tickets and arranging travel plans is one thing, but it is an entirely different feeling to experience the pre-show craze of a sold-out gig. Nonexistent queues? More like camping days in advance. Space to stand and dance? Try VIP or upstairs if you’re lucky. Perfect view? Sure, if you plan accordingly. Intimate feel? Still, 100% yes!

LANY, The Ritz, Raleigh, NC.

Although we got there “early” and waited in an insane line, the picture above shows the crowd already packed in when doors opened. Luckily it was early enough for a perfect view from upstairs and room to dance! I was absolutely in awe of their show and how much has changed over the past few years. Every song had endless amounts of energy from the band and the crowd. We even ran into a couple who had also gone to the “Cat’s Cradle Hericane” show in 2016. It was crazy to see the number of people screaming back those same lyrics at a much higher volume. You can count on LANY to make any gig feel intimate yet monumental.

Hericane LANY and their fans are coming at you like a category 5 with no signs of slowing down. Let’s hope it’s the only one we have to look out for this season.

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Listen to their newest release with Julia Michaels here and check out these fan-favorite tracks below!