If you gave a Duke visitor an hour to find Cameron Indoor Stadium, he or she probably wouldn’t find it. On the inside it’s the world’s greatest college basketball arena, but on the outside it looks like any other building on campus.
It’s the same thing with Cat’s Cradle. If a band that you’ve heard of is coming to the Durham/Chapel Hill area, it’s playing at Cat’s Cradle. It’s located right on Main Street in Carrboro, but you would drive right past it unless you knew where it was — next to a video store in the dimly-lit corner of a strip mall.
After seeing Blues Traveler and Pat McGee Band as undergrads, Laura and I went back last night for Christmas at the Cradle, which provided an opportunity to see 10 local bands in the span of four hours (or in our case, 8 local bands in a little over three hours) for just $10.
I’m not going to pretend to know anything about the local music scene. I have yet to read the Daily Tar Heel and recognize a single band being reviewed. So on the one hand, it was great to be introduced to so many new bands playing 3-4 songs each. On the other hand, while I’m sure that fate and aligning stars and all sorts of intangibles have something to do with making it big, I think there’s the question of talent, and I’m not completely shocked that some of these groups haven’t been signed to major deals yet.
That said, there was definitely some groups I would look for again, like Lonnie Walker and Mount Weather. And since I don’t have the desire to research what now appears to be the hundreds of local bands in the Triangle, I will also be on the lookout for more opportunities to hear large groups of them at a time, audition-style, just like in my favorite reality shows.