Night Sounds

Experience The Dead with Dark Star Orchestra

Rarely does a tribute band rise to such a distinctive level of renown and achievement that it essentially takes the place of the original. But, that’s exactly what Dark Star Orchestra – live Friday at The Fillmore in Charlotte – has done with its musical homage to the legendary Grateful Dead.

Of course, it helps if the original is no longer in the “competition.”

With their slogan “Continuing the Grateful Dead Concert Experience,” DSO is much more than a cover band or a simple tribute band.

Founded in Chicago, circa 1997, DSO has performed more than 2,200 shows and excelled within the loosely-defined parameters of a jam band in a genre that’s simultaneously classic rock, improvisational and psychedelic.

Specifically, their overall perspective is to build off the Dead’s extensive catalog and the talent of that band’s musicians. But, technically, DSO operates under a much broader creative umbrella than just as a “tribute.”

Their quest is to carry on the spirit of the Dead’s timeless music. The members are completely dedicated to recreating the live “experience” of the Dead’s concerts that attracted so many die-hard followers and fans over their long, successful career. To do this, DSO’s set lists draw from an extensive catalog.

Currently, the DSO lineup handling such a heavy duty assignment includes: Rob Barraco, keyboards/vocals; Rob Eaton, rhythm guitar/vocals; Dino English, drums/percussion; Rob Koritz, drums/percussion; Lisa Mackey, vocals; Jeff Mattson, lead guitar/vocals; and Skip Vangelas, bass/vocals.

Overall, “raising the Dead” has brought much acclaim to DSO. The band seeks out the individual style of each era then “offers its own interpretations and improvisations” for a legendary band famed and loved for that exact skill.

Continue the Grateful Dead’s “long strange trip” with Dark Star Orchestra Friday at The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., Charlotte. For info, call 704-549-5555. Find more on the music at and


Need a melodic warm-up? Then, get in touch with the personable and sincere musical style of PJ Brunson live Saturday at Ledo Pizza in Rock Hill.

A longtime area favorite, Brunson is a skilled and artistic singer/songwriter with genre-jumping skills that leap from country to folk to soft rock/easy listening. Her personality flies forth, creating an entertaining and special musical connection to her audiences.

Celebrate the shining style and sparkling sounds of PJ Brunson, at Ledo Pizza, 489 South Herlong Ave., Rock Hill. For show info, call 803-980-5336 or go to Visit or find her on Facebook for more on the music.


Friday: Weekends at Empire II Pizza andBar, Newport-Rock Hill; Mike Faulkenberry & The Whiskey Prophet’s at Luke’s Sports Bar and Grill, Rock Hill; Shannon Lee at D’Vine Wine, Charlotte; The Bunny, The Bear, Bear Light Symphony, Everthrone at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte; Carson Hill at Vintner Wine Market, Charlotte; Jim White vs. The Packway Handle Band, Josh Daniel & Mark Schimick at Visulite Theater, Charlotte; Patois Counselors, K-9 Unit, Gasp at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; Underground Detour Band, Mojo Ruckus at Double Door Inn, Charlotte; The Jazz Room Jeremy Davenport sings Frank Sinatra at Stage Door Theater, Charlotte; Kristen Ford at Crown Station Coffeehouse and Pub, Charlotte; Mozart, Straus and Brahms at Belk Theater, Charlotte; Joe the Show at Tin Roof, Charlotte; Tucker, Of Sinking Ships, Cactus Black at Milestone, Charlotte; The Ain’t Sisters at Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte; Tracey Lawrence at Coyote Joe’s, Charlotte; Roulette at Friends Sports Bar and Grill, Belmont; Chip Harris Benefit with Patriot, Antagonizers ATL, Hub City Stompers, more at Chop Shop, Charlotte; Dre Day at Neighborhood Theater, Charlotte; Russell Howard, Phillip Hamrick; Susto, Ruby the Rabbitfoot; at Evening Muse, Charlotte.

Saturday: Jim “Doc” Morton’s Birthday Party at The Silver Dollar 2.0, Rock Hill; Khaos Kings Acoustic at Original Empire Pizza-Celanese Road, Rock Hill; Shotgun Saints at Pineville Tavern, Pineville; Province of Thieves at Treehouse Vineyards, Pineville; Tattermasquerade 2015: Carpe Noctem CD Release Party: Tattermask, Shadow of Myself, A Light Divided, more at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte; Party Next Door at Amos Southend, Charlotte; Jill Dineen Band at EagleSpeak Coffee House, Charlotte; Nita B & The Soiree at Comet Grill, Charlotte; The Shack Band, Dank, MooseKick at Visulite Theater, Charlotte; Big Daddy Love at Double Door Inn, Charlotte; Mirror Moves at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; Andrew Velez, Grayson Rogers Band at Tin Roof, Charlotte; Crash Box at RiRa, Charlotte; Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band at Unknown Brewing Co, Charlotte; Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce The Veil at The Fillmore, Charlotte; The Nathan Hughes Project at Texicali Taco & Tequila Bar-NC Music Factory, Charlotte; Avalon Steel, Year of the Ox, Nuclear Santa Claust, K-9 Unit, Old Scratch at Milestone, Charlotte; Chris Knight with Joseph Williams at Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte; A Night in Rio sixth annual Brazilian Carnaval at Neighborhood Theater, Charlotte; Cranford Hollow; Halden Vang at Evening Muse, Charlotte.

Sunday: Messenger Down, Vices and Vessels, Rothschild, Swell Friends at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte; Province of Thieves at Treehouse Vineyards, Pineville-Charlotte; JD McPherson, Dylan Pratt at Visulite Theater, Charlotte; Holy Knomodo, Bo White Y Su Orquesta, more at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; The Time Jumpers at Knight Theater, Charlotte; Chita: A Legendary Celebration at McGlohon Theater, Charlotte; Bankroll Bird, Bizzle Hefne, 40 The Lifestyle, Tedd, more at Neighborhood Theater, Charlotte; Elenowen, Liza Anne at Evening Muse, Charlotte.

Monday: Fredo Santana at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte.

Wednesday: You Blew It! Tiny Moving Parts, Rozwell Kid, Sinai Vessel at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte; Echosmith, The Colourist at Visulite Theater, Charlotte; Jackie Venson at Double Door Inn, Charlotte; Hectorina Presents Collywobble at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; Ecstatic Vision, Black Chasm, The Asound at Milestone, Charlotte; Soja, Common Kings, Leilani Wolfgramm at The Fillmore, Charlotte; Kitchapalooza at Label-NC Music Factory, Charlotte.

Thursday: Ensemble Series: Winthrop Symphony Band at Byrnes Auditorium-Winthrop University, Rock Hill; The Congress at Visulite Theater, Charlotte; Divided Heaven, Jaggermouth, You Vandal at Milestone, Charlotte; K. Michele at The Fillmore, Charlotte; Kevin Kinney at Evening Muse, Charlotte.

“And that was all she wrote.”