804 West Street, Raleigh
January 29, 2011
Stepping on to the room's raggedly carpeted and mix matched speaker dressed do-it-yerself riser stage with nothing but his Gibson hollow body and a rock and roll state of mind, a trim and tautly Mac McCaughan plugged in to the first fender amp he found and ripped through a selection of Portastatic and Superchunk numbers with ageless form. A good decade and change beyond the blood sweat and tears that Mac's rock bands poured out upon the road helping to stick a pin through Chapel Hill on the indie rock map, Saturday's solo set was cliff notes that caught the room up quick. Planting every hook and mastering every falsetto amidst deftly maneuvered early-indie guitar work, Mac entertained an afternoon crowd of young bloods with a reminder from where our rich music culture is rooted.
Mac's Merge Records darling Kelly Crisp of the Rosebuds introduced his performance with a quick thank you to the chipper crowd for being part of the Moving Islands kick-off benefit, an effort for which she is a co-founder and brain equity investor. Until this weekend, the spot at 804 West Street in Raleigh has existed as a club house slash rehearsal space for a handful of bands to anchor themselves. With a festive two-day benefit concert Friday night and all day Saturday, it has emerged from the underground into full view of the community in the form of Moving Island, an art/music/culture destination which is seeking to establish permanent residence and expand into their vision. With splendid plans to grow the space into a multiple roomed performance, education, and rehearsal space...the founders of this aspiring not-for-profit deserve to be heralded as doers who powered their way from the overly common "wouldn't it be cool if" to the fleetingly rare "come in, we're open."
A successful Moving Island may also be the answer to the Raleigh indie music subculture's missing community space. Raleigh is often left out of the conversation on underground rock movements in part due to lacking a venue which is booked, operated, and attended true to its own kind. Deep down a dark alleyway, Nightlight is home for experimental rock and art in Chapel Hill and The Pinhook on Durham's concrete and steel downtown loop is its musician founded and supported, creativity welcomed spot (since BCHQ wrapped it.) An owned locale may be the call to arms that gives Raleigh bands identity others can rally to.
Perhaps Moving Islands most endearing quality is its offer for anyone to become a meaningful part of its success. Moving Islands is gaining financial support from the community by offering memberships in exchange for a donation of thirty dollars (or more) which can easily be slipped to them on-line via this paypal donation page. --Carrboro Ninja
Mac McCaughan and a youngin' setting up gear on stage at Moving Islands Saturday Jan 29th 2011 in Raleigh, NC
Moving Islands co-founder Kelly Crisp introducing Mac McCaughan and Moving Islands
804 West Street - Moving Islands
Young Volcanoes entertained an early crowd with a brand of indie quite adept at building energy amoung peaks and valleys within a song.