Charlotte & More
Charlotte’s Diverse Music Scene
Charlotte, located in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, is known for great food, museums and nightlife, beautiful historic areas, Charlotte Motor Speedway and the US National Whitewater Center. But what you may not know is that Charlotte also has a vibrant music scene, with someone playing every night of the week. Here’s a sample of the great live music venues Charlotte has to offer.
This unique concert house in the heart of Charlotte’s historic Elizabeth neighborhood offers local, regional and national rock acts. Once a movie theater, this renovated historic building contains three tiers: the top features a huge bar, the second accommodates candlelit tables and chairs, and the bottom tier is a pit where you can dance the night away at the foot of the stage. From indie rock to punk to country to zydeco, you can count on a great live music experience and a striking ambience to compliment it.
When to go: Hard to say, so check website calendar for show dates and times.
If an intimate setting to listen to the diverse sounds of regional and local folk and rock music is what you’re seeking, end your search at the Evening Muse. Located in Charlotte’s NoDa arts district among unique dining and eclectic shops and art galleries, the Muse seats less than 100 and is one of the quietest listening spaces in the city. The exposed-brick walls, bedecked with the provocative artwork of local artists, enclose a bohemian space where people come to hear the music and enjoy a wide selection of beer and wine (and some excellent pear cider). There’s everything from melancholy alt-country to 70s-tinged rock, and Monday night is open mic night. Most shows are all ages, and they offer an early and a late show on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can get home at a decent hour or spend the whole evening wrapped in the sounds of Carolina music.
When to go:The Muse is open Wednesday & Thursday 6 pm to 12 am and Friday & Sat 6 pm until...
The oldest live music venue in Charlotte, the Double Door brings the best of blues to the Charlotte area. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton have all taken the stage here, as have local favorites the Belmont Playboys. The club has a feel of times past, with an old wooden bar, vintage neon signs and rickety tables. The walls are hung with signed portraits of the greats who have played here, and the bartender will treat you with care, even though the place is packed. Interestingly enough, the club that has brought the best blues to the area since 1973 also brings in a healthy dose of reggae and zydeco bands on a regular basis.
When to go: The Double Door is open Monday – Friday 11 am to 2 am and Saturday and Sunday 8:30 pm to 2 am.
This bar on Sugar Creek Road touts itself as a “modern honky-tonk,” and it’s just that. Live country and bluegrass bands play here on weekends, but this was originally a farm equipment store. As farming became less prominent in Charlotte’s Derita neighborhood, Puckett’s gradually morphed into the rowdy live music venue it is today. Part redneck, part rockabilly, with beer specials as low as $1 and NASCAR memorabilia (including stock car hoods) decorating the walls and ceiling, this is the place you go for a real taste of the South. If you see regional band Carolina Still on the schedule, expect a night of raucous, punk-tinged Americana roots music, complete with banjo and fiddle, or if your taste tends toward old-time country and rockabilly, catch local act the Hick’ry Hawkins Band.
When to go: Puckett’s is open seven nights a week. Wednesday night is Bluegrass Night and Thursdays are Open Mic. Shows are usually on Fridays and Saturdays starting around 10 pm.
Brand new in June of 2009, the NC Music Factory in Uptown Charlotte’s Fourth Ward is designed to revolutionize Charlotte’s music scene and turn the city into a top-flight music destination. The centerpiece of the mixed-use development is a 5,000-seat amphitheatre with a view of the city skyline and shows from top-name acts like The Fray and Jason Mraz. The Music Factory also boasts The Fillmore, an indoor venue based on the legendary San Francisco club. Featuring state-of-the-art light and sound systems, red oak hardwood floors and stadium-style tiers to provide better sight lines, The Fillmore is promising to book about 80 shows per year of nationally known acts such as Gov’t Mule and Edwin McCain. In addition, a number of other restaurants, clubs, and bars are set to open at the Music Factory, and many will feature regional and local music several nights a week.
When to go: The Uptown Amphitheatre expects to book 25 shows each year in the warmer months from April through October. The Fillmore and other venues opening soon should have something going on just about every night of the week.
Conveniently located just steps from Charlotte’s light rail line, Amos’ is an “old school” music club with a capacity of 1,350 people and eclectic mix of nationally known acts, tribute bands, and local favorites. From rock to rap, covers to orginals, Amos’ is usually rockin’ four or five nights a week. There are two levels to view the show from, and usually enough room to dance to the music.
When to go: Check the venue’s website for show schedule information.
It may not look like much from the outside, but inside the Tremont is actually two highly popular live music venues: The Tremont Music Hall, which holds more than 1,000 people and has become a premier stop for bands specializing in rock, punk, hardcore, metal, ska, roots rock and more, and The Casbah, an intimate setting that hosts regional and local acts and holds 325 people. The Tremont is just two miles from uptown Charlotte and just a hop, skip, and a jump from the city’s light rail line. The club also takes pride in the fact that no matter where you are inside the Tremont, you’re never more than 50 feet from the stage!
When to go: The Tremont usually has a band playing on weekend nights, along with bands and other events during the weekdays. Check the venue’s website for show schedule information.
added: August 10, 2009
updated: May 3, 2010