It involved even more blood, sweat, tears and drama than usual this year, but here finally is our 2010 installment of Eight Great Local Acts, plus the obligatory update on past classes. It's always worth doing, but I'm still thankful that we only do Great Eight once a year.
As reported recently in this space, we had a bit of a delay in getting the latest edition of Eight Great Local Acts out. It was originally supposed to run on Feb. 26 but had to be postponed because we were unable to get all the acts shot in time (a few were rather uncooperative -- you know who you are). But things are coming along, and it looks like we'll be unveiling this year's model of our local-music spotlight on March 19. You shall be the first to know if that changes.
Also delayed a bit is the lineup announcement for the Independent's Hopscotch music festival, which was to have happened in mid-February. That announcement should be coming out the last week of March. Stay tuned...
Had all gone according to plan, we would have been unveiling the 2010 edition of Eight Great Local Acts this week. The seventh edition of our annual local-music spotlight was originally penciled in to run on Friday, and it's still on the way -- but running later than that, I'm afraid, due to the myriad logistical difficulties involved in coordinating verbiage, pictures and online content for eight different acts. Anyway, it's coming together and we should be putting it out sometime in March. I promise to keep you posted.
As you're probably aware, we've taken some hard hits in the News & Observer newsroom over the past year, with some of our best, brightest and most capable people leaving the paper. I've been sad to see them all go -- but especially photographer Jason Arthurs, who departed back in April. Jason has been a key player in making our Eight Great Local Acts feature an annual local-music highlight, with spectacular photos and multi-media footage. "Great Eight" has been a true labor of love for a lot of us, but especially Jason. And given how much of his own time he used to put into it, I honestly don't know how we're going to manage a 2010 edition without him.
One silver lining, however, is that Jason is still working his visual mojo in the local music scene. For example, he did the teaser video for "Hear Here: The Triangle" (Terpsikhore Records), an upcoming compilation of new tracks from 18 local acts, with plenty of past and present Great Eight acts including Lonnie Walker, Inflowential, Rosebuds and Hammer No More the Fingers.
And now, without further ado, here's our 2009 class of Eight Great Local Acts. Check out the online package, which has truly spectacular performance and interview footage (kudos to Jason Arthurs, Travis Long and Lamonte Garrett from the N&O's multi-media department for doing such a bang-up job on it). There's also an alumni report on what past Great Eight classes are up to; and here's an interview about how we set this up.
There's a Great Eight showcase next Friday, Feb. 13 at Local 506, featuring Hammer No More the Fingers, Double Negative, Violet Vector & the Lovely Lovelies and Lonnie Walker. You can win free tickets to that show, or recorded works of Great Eight acts past and present, by taking the quiz below. Read this year's Great Eight profiles, answer the following questions and send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll choose the winner from a random drawing of correct entries. Entry deadline is noon Tuesday.
--The 2007 closing of what Raleigh nightclub reunited the Loners?
--At what Raleigh restaurant did Alesana members Shawn Milke and Dennis Lee meet?
--Which Great Eight band played December's All Tomorrow's Parties Festival in England?
--Which Great Eight band has an artist onstage drawing while it performs?
--Before catching on as a soundtrack composer, Jason Graves played in what local band?
Friday will bring the sixth and latest installment of our annual local-music spotlight, Eight Great Local Acts, which we've been toiling away on for the past few months. Despite the fact that we've got a lot fewer worker bees in here than we used to, I think this year's Great Eight is the best ever. So I'll be making the local multi-media rounds to talk it up beyond the attention it has already picked up from the totally cool preview trailer. There will be a report about it on the morning news on NBC-17; and I'm scheduled to be on 850 The Buzz at about 9 a.m. Friday.
As for the bands themselves, a couple are playing WKNC's Double Barrel Benefit this weekend in Raleigh; and there's also the Great Eight showcase coming up on Feb. 13 at Local 506 in Chapel Hill. Hope to see you out and about at either, or both.
The sixth (!) installment of Eight Great Local Acts will be in the paper and online this Friday, at which point there will be lots to talk about -- and shows by most of the acts to go see in the near-future. Meantime, you can start trying to figure out this year's Great Eight acts by checking out the preview trailer.
Well, who knows what asinine controversies it's going to cause this time around, but here we go again: The 2009 edition of our annual "Eight Great Local Acts" feature drops on Feb. 6, one month from today, spotlighting eight of the best and brightest acts from these parts.
For comparative purposes, here is last year's model. The 2009 version will also have lots of cool online stuff, including live-performance footage; and the package will feature updates on acts from the previous five classes. Like last year, there will be a "Great Eight" show featuring some of this year's bands at Chapel Hill's Local 506. That happens on Feb. 13 -- one week after another great local-music event, WKNC's sixth annual Double Barrel Benefit.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'd better get back to work on this...