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Still on the way: Kings V.2.0

Had all gone according to plan, bands would already be playing at the newly revived Kings Barcade by now. But because getting a nightclub open always takes longer than anyone expects, it's going to be late July at the earliest before Kings' live-music space opens at 14 W. Martin St. (where the old Martin Street Music Hall used to be in downtown Raleigh). Drop by this weekend, however, and you might find the downstairs basement bar Neptune's open.

"We are sprinting across the finish line of phase one, which is to get Neptune's open," says Ben Barwick, who is one of four Kings co-owners with Paul Siler, Steve Popson and Cheetie Kumar. "It's been hard, to put it in a word. We're under the gun in all kinds of ways. We're all tired, worn out, broke. But Cheetie's been working harder than any of us."

Barwick says that Bandway is "verbally committed" to playing Kings' grand reopening, whenever that happens, and the club will be one of the main venues for September's Hopscotch Festival. Also booked for right around then is expatriate metal band Valient Thorr on Sept. 8. With any luck, Kings' restaurant The Garland will also be open by then.

"It's definitely more art than science," Barwick says of the process. "It's all coming along. But a hard and fast date for everything is beyond our reach right now."

All hail Valient Thorr

The down side of Valient Thorr becoming a big deal beyond the Triangle's borders is that the band is almost never here anymore -- they're on the road more or less constantly. Fortunately, they're also thoughtful enough to send the occasional video postcard, including their latest for "Tomorrow Police."

Looks like donating a kidney hasn't slowed frontman Herbie Abernethy down any...

Valient Thorr: Catch 'em while you can

When last seen on a local stage, the mighty Valient Thorr was covering the songs of Funkadelic at Raleigh Undercover -- which was tremendous, sure, but no substitute for the Thorr crew just being themselves. Fortunately, we'll get a taste this weekend.

In a late addition to the club's schedule, Valient Thorr will play Raleigh's Tir Na Nog Sunday night before heading out on a tour that will take the group down to Texas for South By Southwest. And who knows what wonders may await there?

ADDENDUM (2/24/09): Current TV feature.

Buy local music!

This year has seen a ton of fantastic local records perfect for gift-giving -- just check the tags on this post for a few suggestions on acts to look for. And for further specifics, click here.

Meanwhile, the annual "alternative" musical gift guide is coming on Dec. 14. Check previous years' installments here.

Valient Thorr, "In Heat"

Alas, we don't have any Valient Thorr visitations scheduled to happen around these parts anytime soon. But here's the next best thing: "In Heat," a new documentary about the band's wild ways onstage and off. It's due out Tuesday, election day, and you can get a pre-release look at Tir Na Nog in Raleigh on Thursday night. "In Heat" will be shown at 8:30 p.m., as preamble to local band night. Check the trailer; and also the band's Web site for other visual tidbits (including a video diary of frontman Herbie Abernethy's kidney donation).

ADDENDUM (2/8/09): Impressive!

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