Burger Bach on 9th Street, April 16, 2018

As part of our ongoing mission to recreate the experience of being there, as is the mandate of participatory journalism, I present to you here the next installment of our live Twitter food review column, #livefooding. Here is the compilation of this week’s installment, a spontaneous late Monday night dinner at Burger Bach on 9th Street…














The Post-Show: Jooselord Magnus, 3AM, Brassious Monk, SNYP Luciano, Konvo the Mutant, Brill Cosby at Motorco, April 13, 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018 was a special day. Motorco played host to an epic night of extraordinary local hip-hop talent. Featuring six unique sets from six different local acts and numerous guests, the joint album release show for Jooselord Magnus and 3AM was a truly incredible experience. The good vibes were palatable. I left Motorco after covering the show on our live Twitter column #700wordslive feeling positively elated. I am very pleased to present to you now the compilation of that live coverage here. And please, dear readers, be sure to check out JooseLord & 3AM‘s new albums! #supportlocalmusic

All original photos by The Editor (Matia Guardabascio).

Watts Grocery Brunch, April 8, 2018

Editor’s Note: Watts Grocery went out of business in 2019.

Introducing #livefooding, a live food review column from #durhambeat on Twitter. As part of our participatory journalism philosophy and our goal to recreate the experience of being there, please enjoy the inaugural installation of our live food column. You can follow us on Twitter HERE.

4.8.2018: Brunch at Watts Grocery by Matia Guardabascio (Editor) and Larry Jones (Photographer):

All original photos by The Editor (Matia Guardabascio).

The Post-Show: Boulevards, Zensofly, N’KOGNiiTO at Motorco, April 6, 2018

Introducing #700wordslive, a live show review column from #durhambeat on Twitter. As part of our participatory journalism philosophy and our goal to recreate the experience of being there, please enjoy the inaugural installation of our live music column. You can follow us on Twitter HERE.

4.6.2018: Boulevards, Zensofly, N’KOGNiiTO (NiiTO) at Motorco Music Hall

All original photos by The Editor of Durham Beat (Matia Guardabascio).

The Post-Show: “The Muslims Album Release Show,” April 1, 2018

Sometimes I’ve just got to be the last asshole.

I was the last person to leave The Pinhook on Easter night, following an epic evening of furiously energetic local punk. Of course, I did not intend to be the last asshole, but that can sometimes be a side effect of letting the night decide how you will spend it…

Just prior to arriving at The Muslims Album Release show at The Pinhook, I experienced a very rare thing: I found free money. Cash is king at local shows, so naturally I visited an ATM on my way to the venue. While waiting for my cash to be dispensed, I noticed a $20 bill had been sitting in the dispenser… someone had left it behind, apparently for me to find. Found it I did. Into the wallet it went, and joyfully I moseyed on over to what I had hoped (correctly) would be one of the best local punk shows I have seen so far this year.

I arrived at The Pinhook shortly after 9PM. Dressed in my usual black and sporting the most dapper hat I have ever owned, I entered the venue in victorious stride and used that free money to drop my $7 at the door, and to grab a PBR and a shot of Jameson (keeping it classy). A few minutes later the first act took the stage.

Sister,brother is a Durham-based noise/punk band. For roughly 30 minutes the animated duo crushed my ears and tore into my soul. So of course, I was absolutely delighted. Using samples ranging from political to pure noise, sister,brother brought their definitively unique sound from the stage and into the audience. Vocalist Mark waded into the crowd several times during the set, gracing us with his demonic laugh, and injecting his intensity directly into the crowd. With their heavy riffs, screaming vocals, and their general rageful splendor, I expect nothing but continued bodaciousness from sister,brother in the future.

The female-fronted Raleigh punk trio, Pie Face Girls played the second set. I had been looking forward to seeing this band play after listening to their entire bandcamp page on one angry afternoon recently. Then after reading staff writer Zoe’s excellent write-up of PFG’s show at The Pour House last week, I was even more eager for this particular set. They did not disappoint. Playing songs like “Fuck you, I’m Pretty,” and “Washed Up,” this sparkly ultra femme punk band captured a breed of rage that for me, as a woman, made me revisit the anger I have felt in the innumerable frustrating encounters with some of the captious, dismissive men who have crossed my path over the years. PFG is decidedly unapologetic, as punk rock ought to be, but in a fiercely empowering way for women.

The slow-growing but continuous movement within punk to push aside the long-reigning white male punk rocker and replace him with the rest of us is one of the best things to happen to punk rock since the genre first found its legs back in the mid-1970s. This particular bill of local talent at The Pinhook on Easter night was a testament to this movement and the authenticity of its sound, its anger, and its message.

The night culminated with the much-anticipated set from the Durham-based punk trio, The Muslims, who were releasing their first album. After sound check, the group huddled together on stage, seemingly conspiring (about what I do not know), and then dove directly into their crushing heavy sound and apt political satire. During the set they even dedicated a song to the “white male [piece of shit] assholes” who think they know everything better than the rest of us, especially when it comes to punk rock. Reminded me of my ex… who is very much this breed of asshole, but that is a story for a different setting… Still, the brand of anger that The Muslims represent is that of marginalized peoples, especially those living in the United States where “you’re free as long as you say nothing about pigs killing people because it’s un-American to not kill black people,” the lead singer raged into the mic. It’s true–America has been a force of evil in the lives of countless people who have lived and died here over the centuries. Only recently has the political climate in this country reached a point where the privileged many have been forced to look this evil in the face and acknowledge the extraordinary pain their fellow humans have had to endure. So what better time, what better place for this rage, this contempt, this pain to be expressed than in punk rock, a genre whose sound is inherently aggressive, loud, and, for many people, cathartic. The Muslims are a unique band for many reasons, but what makes them stand out the most is that they are particularly suited to our times. They are very much in the right place at the right time making music that resonates physically, emotionally, and existentially. I, for one, will do everything in my power to make sure this band is heard.

By the time I left The Pinhook on Sunday night, I was feeling quite relaxed, although suffering from a mild tinnitus, to be sure. When I am old, I imagine I will need hearing aids. Knowing me though, I’ll probably point to them and say, “See? Evidence of all the fun I had,” thanks to nights like this and bands like these.

An original photo series by Staff Photographer Larry Jones.

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Album Review: Cosmic Punk – “Too Much”

Cosmic Punk appeared on my radar while I was attending a show at The Station in February. The 3-piece female-fronted indie rock band made a considerable impression on me that night, so much so that I’ve been eagerly following their music since then. Earlier this month, the Chapel Hill-based band released a new single, “Too Much”. From the very first note, this song sounded like summertime: the fleeting love interests, the feel-good pop melodies, the urge to dance, dance, dance… The upbeat, almost jolly melody of this track sharply juxtaposes the troubled, angst-driven lyrics of conflicted feelings about a love interest. Anyone who has ever been in love, or in lust, understands the back-and-forth internal plight of interest-to-disinterest and back again. This song is an ode to that internal dialogue, to that personal struggle, something to which most people can relate, but rarely communicate.

too much by Cosmic Punk

“Too much” opens with the excited declaration, “last night was so much fun” like one might read in a text message the day after a really good date. As the song progresses, that excitement wears off and transforms into a back-and-forth dialogue cataloging “these feelings you’ll never know.” The contrast between the feel-good melody and the angst-driven lyrics creates a sense of joyful misery. I am reminded, as I write this article, of a band I covered a few years back from Austin, Texas: Gender Infinity. They released a track called “I’m a Stone,” which was, and still is, one of my favorite songs in the songwriting technique of jovial sounds and angsty words. Cosmic Punk has imagined that sound in their own way here, and in so doing, captured the concurrent feelings of joy and anxiety that often occur in the context of dating, or romantic entanglements, or recurring lustful nights.

This band excites me. I am eager for them to release a record. They have a fun and spirited sound that deserves to be heard. I encourage the reader to listen and, if you dare, to attend one of their upcoming shows. Remember: the best way to support your local music scene is to show up.

Photo from Cosmic Punk bandcamp page cover art.

Saxapahaw Synergy: A Beer & Cheese Pairing

Brewery: Haw River Farmhouse Ales
Beer: Mille Fleur Rustic Saison
ABV: 5.8%

Farm: Prodigal Farm
Cheese: Saxapahaw Blues
Style: milled blue; cow

On a sunny and cool afternoon in March I popped open the Mille Fleur Rustic Saison from Saxapahaw’s Haw River Farmhouse Ales. From the old-timey stubby-style brown bottle came the familiar yeasty aroma of a saison. The smell tapered off as I poured the light golden amber brew into a glass. Unsurprisingly the first sip had significant yeast and fruit notes, but neither was overpowering. In fact, as I made my way through the 16.9 fl oz pour, the beer proved to be noticeably balancedmild, not overly funky.

Yeast is the backbone of a quality saison. At Haw River Farmhouse Ales, they take their yeast seriously. In fact, they harvest their own wild yeast from their “very own backyard” in Saxapahaw. The folks at Haw River are also big proponents of supporting local, proudly incorporating ingredients from “farms and gardens within a hundred miles” of their brewery. The results of their homegrown brewing strategy are finely crafted beers, some with complex flavor profiles, others delightfully simple and accessible, like my beer of choice on that March day. [1]

Saisons are among my favorite styles of beer. I trend toward saisons generally because I love Belgian-style beer, and particularly yeast- and malt-driven flavors. While I often seek out funkier flavors in my beers, I was very pleased with the Mille Fleur. It’s easy to drink, balanced, and relaxing. And I chose the perfect day to try it…

On this particular afternoon in March, I had, earlier in the day, visited the Wine Authorities over on University Avenue for one of their frequently-offered free wine tastings. While I had originally gone to the store to restock my sake stash, I found myself, as usual, lurking over by the cheese section. My eyes were drawn to a local cheese called, “Saxapahaw Blues” from Prodigal Farm in Rougemont. As I was heading home to drink and review a Saxapahaw-produced beer, I figured I’d ride the wave of Saxapahaw inspiration and pair the beer with this very unique blue cheese. Man oh man, was that a good choice.

The “Saxapahaw Blues” is not your typical blue cheese. It had all the funk and stink of a creamy, delicious blue, but instead of the soft consistency and texture of a typical blue, like a Stilton, this cheese had a similar consistency and flavor base to what I would expect from a mild cheddar. Upon further investigation (I contacted Prodigal Farm for more information), I was informed that this cheese is in fact a “milled blue” meaning it is made in much the same way as cheddar, thus creating the similar texture and flavor base.

I was about halfway through the Mille Fleur when I decided to introduce the Saxapahaw Blues to my funk-wanting palate. While the beer had originally maintained an easy, balanced, low funk flavor, as soon as I ate a little piece of the Saxapahaw Blues, my next sip of beer was a completely different experience. All of a sudden it was all funk all the time, like the yeast in my saison had been abruptly woken from a slumber and made to run a marathon inside my mouth.

By the time I finished my beer, I had eaten a little more cheese than I should have, but it was well worth it. My spontaneous choice to spend an afternoon exploring Saxapahaw synergy turned out to be spot on. And while the Mille Fleur runs at $6.99/bottle at my favorite beer corner, Sam’s Quik Shop, it is a 16.9 fl oz (or 500ml) serving, and one that could (should) be shared with a friend on a slow Spring afternoon out in the sun.

Photo by Matia Guardabascio (The Editor).