North Carolina Museum of Art is known for displaying the highest quality of art in its world-class collection, including more than 30 Rodin sculptures. It’s also known for presenting some of the highest quality concerts and events in its Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater in the Museum Park. Mix an outdoor theater with an excellent artistic landscape and design, delicious food and drinks, live music and a film screening, and you have a setting that will intrigue both Music Maniacs and Creative Geniuses. Sat. night’s Summer Concert at North Carolina Museum of Art included a performance by the Cajun music-influence rock band Lost Bayou Ramblers and a screening of Beasts of the Southern Wild. And the tie-in between the band and the movie was perfect: Lost Bayou Ramblers recorded a song called "The Bathtub" for the film's official soundtrack and included the song in their set! The event was exceptionally visually and sonically entertaining for myself and the entire audience! The whole experience, from start to finish, offered a wide array of visual and audible art.
I arrived at the museum early so I could take in the scene. Walking down the pathway into the theater, you can get some great views of the Museum Park at North Carolina Museum of Art, a 164-acre park with a trail system with outdoor art along the way. I highly suggest to get to the venue about an hour early to walk through some of Museum Park!
As you make your way through the entrance of the theater area, you can see the gigantic museum building that's full of galleries to your left and the amphitheater and outdoor movie screen (pictured below) straight ahead. Right when I walked in, my stomach starting growling as I took in the aroma of food cooking at the Iris, the Museum Restaurant, catering tent nearby. I took a peek at the food and beverages being offered. The venue offered house wines, craft beer, soft drinks and gourmet fare including grilled chicken sandwiches, white cheddar bacon burgers, catch of the day soft tacos and more. And since the night was New Orleans-themed, due to the Beasts of the Southern Wild screening later and the Cajun music-influence band about to play, the venue’s food special was shrimp po' boys. Many attendees either purchased food or brought in their own food (the venue lets you take in your own picnic).
I made my way around the theater to take in the different views of the stage and the film screen. The lawn was full of blankets and portable outdoor chairs as the museum also welcomes you to bring in seating for comfort if you're sitting on the lawn. The seats in front of the stage were also full of attendees who wanted to be close to the stage.
The concert started at 7pm sharp. Lost Bayou Ramblers cranked up and broke into a rocking song that influenced much of the crowd to start dancing. The constant pulse and Cajun music-influenced grooves caused more and more of the audience to move throughout the night, and by the time the show was coming to an end the area immediately in front of the stage was a complete dance floor. The infectious fiddle sound, mixed with swinging vocals, accordion, an electric bass, a full drum set, occasional lap steel and very well-written originals and traditional songs, kept the crowd glued to the performance all evening. Cheers and applause erupted throughout the night.
I absolutely loved the mix of this band’s sound and the venue. The amphitheater stage is a work of art in itself. The lighting also made the stage a sight to see. The volume was perfect. It wasn’t too loud and not too quiet, and the wailing violin and lap steel tones came through very smoothly. And due to the size and space of the amphitheater, you could be right at the front of the stage and still hear every detail in the musical arrangements clearly (which was important for Lost Bayou Ramblers with their textured arrangements). The venue was naturally a good fit for the show and the showing of Beasts of the Southern Wild as vegetation and greenery can be seen throughout the venue. Not to mention, the weather couldn’t have been better. With the fall coming soon, there was a cooling breeze and a clear sky.
Lost Bayou Ramblers played until about 8:20pm, and the crowd cheered for the band! The museum then announced that the film would begin at 9pm and the crowd made its way to the massive outdoor screen. The film began and the crowd became lost in the film.
North Carolina Museum of Art presents concerts throughout the summer, and the next concert will feature the genre-crossing "little orchestra" Pink Martini. The Lost Bayou Ramblers and Southern Beasts of the Wild event was the last concert-plus-film-screening event of the summer, but be sure to check out the upcoming Pink Martini show to experience this excellent venue! Click here for more upcoming events. The museum also announced at the event that the museum will be showing classic car-related films like The French Connection and even Car Wash during the time that the Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed exhibition is on display, Oct. 12, 2013-Jan. 20, 2014.
Greater Raleigh is full of great concerts and music events this summer. In the month ahead, visit the area for Hopscotch Music Festival 2013, SPARKcon 2013, International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass including PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass, Bluegrass Ramble and more and hot concerts at area venues.
With all of the events that are going on, it may come as no surprise that Greater Raleigh has more live music than any other destination in N.C.! Check out a full calendar of events at www.visitRaleigh.com/musicmania!