with live music
All Day Records
112A E Main St, Carrboro
217 W. Martin St., Raleigh
Broad Street Cafe
1116 Broad Street, Durham
300 E. Main St., Carrboro
The Cradle holds somewhere around 600-700 people, and hosts large local shows as well as pretty much every mid-size touring act of any note. Shows usually start between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. unless noted otherwise. Cat's Cradle is non-smoking, for which we love it. Well, we love it for many reasons, but that's a good one.
Duke East Campus, Durham
Duke Coffeehouse is a boxy, student-run venue on Duke's East Campus. Its booking scheme varies wildly from year to year, depending on the tastes and dedication of the students in charge that year. There was a period in the mid-90s when it was booked by a guy named Jeremy Steckler, and the shows were fairly remarkable: Beck, Yo La Tengo, Guided By Voices, Palace, Harry Pussy, The Ruins, etc (in many/most cases, *before* those bands had become B-I-G names). The world has changed since then; there are about 1000x as many potential next-big-things on the road, 999 of whom aren't going to be household names 10 years from now. Some of them are playing the Cofffeehouse, along with a good cross-section of local bands. All shows are all-ages and BYOB, unless YB is coffee or a milkshake, in which case you can get it there. The Duke Coffeehouse, as with all buildings on Duke campus, is non-smoking.
14 W. Martin St., Raleigh
Kings is back! New location, new sound system (best in town? so they're saying), same super-nice owners.
506 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
Local 506 changed ownership last year; it's now piloted by longtime local-music maven Glenn Boothe. Under his ownership, 506 has successfully taken up much of the slack left by the demise of Go! Studios, supporting the full range of local bands, as well as the more esoteric touring acts. It's a private club, and membership is required to attend shows. It serves liquor, but shows are still 18+. The current smoking policy is that bands may request for shows to be non-smoking, but otherwise the default is smoking. Glenn is working on figuring out the best way to change that, however.
Motorco Music Hall
723 Rigsbee Ave, Durham
405 W. Rosemary St., Chapel Hill
First there was the Skylight Exchange (OK, well, first there was Cat's Cradle, from the 70s until the early 80s, and then briefly Rhythm Alley, and *then* Skylight Exchange). A large # of years ago, some local freaks approached Skylight owner Dennis Gavin about renting out the space at night for a rockclub. He agreed, and over the course of the next few years, Nightlight's stars rose & aligned while Skylight's sun began to set. Now there is only Nightlight, which has just made the transition to private (liquor-serving) club.
Unlike many other similar entities, however, they are non-smoking *AND* all-ages.
224 S Blount St, Raleigh
The Pour House books a mix of roots & jam bands, but also a goodly number of Raleigh rock bands, as well as the occasional touring show booked by the folks who used to run Kings.
227 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh
Slim's is a small club in Raleigh that is making a heroic effort to take up the slack left by the destruction of Kings. They specialize in rock-n-roll of the dirty, drunk & well-dressed variety.
1007 West Main Street, Durham
452 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
The Cave is a long, skinny belowground bar with texturized molded-fiberglass walls and ceiling, like a cave (duh). It holds less than 100 people. They have live music 7 nights per week--everything from punk to country to jazz to blues to noise--and are 21+. Most nights there are two shows, one at 7:30ish, and a second starting between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. (two different bands/sets of bands, that is, not just 2 sets by one band). The Cave is now a private club, which means they serve liquor in addition to their fine beer selection, and membership is necessary. It is also now owned by some of the folks who own/operate Slim's in Raleigh.
117 W. Main St., Durham
Tir Na Nog
218 South Blount St., Raleigh
WXYC 89.3 FM
The student radio station of the University of North Carolina, WXYC was the first college radio station with a webcast. Their motto [was] "Popular Music of the 20th Century," and in any given hour you'll hear a representative sample of just that, blues to bluegrass to rock to hip-hop to country to techno to Indonesian gamelan to 20th-century classical to indie-pop to Japanoise to whatever else you can think of. On Sunday evenings at 8:00 p.m. is the Backyard Barbeque, their local-music show.
WXDU 88.7 FM
WXDU is Duke University's independent radio station, which is staffed by a pretty even split between students and community members. Free-form [country / electro / indie-pop / Asian pop / punk / indie-rock / metal / free jazz / whatever] rules the day, with jazz some weekday evenings, and hip-hop later at night 4 or 5 nights a week. Local music happens every Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m., with live performances on a sporadic basis.
WNCU 90.7 FM
NC Central University's NPR affiliate plays jazz nearly all the time, except when they're playing old-school hip-hop or All Things Considered. Like many such stations, the jazz is either great or kinda tame and mediocre, depending on who's DJing at the moment.
WSHA 88.9 FM
I used to live 2 blocks away from WSHA, and as a result I picked up their weird mix of jazz, blues, gospel and world music on my TV, my answering machine, my computer, and anything else electrical with a speaker in it. I have spent many a night fantasizing about blowing up their tower. They're a pretty good radio station some of the time, though.
WUNC 91.5 FM
The University of North Carolina's NPR affiliate. They carry a decent selection of the big-name NPR shows, including This American Life, which is on Friday nights at 7:00 p.m. They jettisoned classical music a few years ago in favor of an all-news/talk/information format, with the exception of weekend nights, which feature "Back Porch Music," an ultra-soft mix of folk, bluegrass and country that makes my ears hurt.
WKNC 88.1 FM
College radio that's closer to what you'll find elsewhere, inasmuch as their playlist more closely mirrors the various CMJ charts than do the playlists at XYC or XDU. WKNC is a big supporter of local music, including sponsoring regular showcases at Kings, as well as fitting a lot of local stuff into their daily music mix.