- This event has passed.
Duran Duran With Opening Act Roadkill Ghost Choir
April 7 @ 7:00 pm
The North Carolina Azalea Festival brought Duran Duran with opening act Roadkill Ghost Choir to The Miller Lite Main Stage at the North Carolina Azalea Festival on Friday, April 7th.
How many bands can you think of that, decades into their career, are still capable of springing surprises, of blazing fresh trails, creating new music that is up there with the imperishable songs that first propelled them to fame, fortune and critical acclaim? It’s an interesting exercise, and a brief one – a list you can make on the fingers of one hand. In 2015, Duran Duran will cement their place in that illustrious grouping with a new studio album – their 14th, no less – that burnishes their role in the story of pop, and puts the many young pretenders whose music they have influenced firmly in their place. As part of a major new recording deal with Warner Bros. Records, Paper Gods starts the next chapter in the history of the band, with a host of A-list collaborators – including Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Mr Hudson, Janelle Monáe, John Frusciante, Kiesza and Davide Rossi – joining the party. “We found a whole new level of inspiration on this album,” says the band’s keyboardist and aesthetic overlord, Nick Rhodes. “We were talking the other day about artists that have been around for a long time – our contemporaries and some older ones, and there’s only a handful of the latter now, still out there playing shows. And we were saying, ‘What albums did they make this far down the line that we own?’ And that was a difficult one.”
Simon Le Bon has a theory as to why the band are still friends, and still making vital, compelling music, 37 years after Duran Duran first formed in Birmingham. “I think with some artists, as they get into extended careers, it’s like climbing up a rock-face – they start to look down. If you do that, musically, you’re pretty much dead in the water. You can hear it when someone’s thought about it just a little too much, or tried to write something that they think people will like, rather than something that turns them on. We’ve always written music that turns us on; we’ve never tried to tailor it to any kind of taste.” Band politics play a role, too, he says. “I think part of our strength is the tension in our music, which probably comes from the tension within the band. When you’re young, you’re not scared of upsetting people, and actually we can still push that sometimes. But harsh words are forgiven. Ultimately, we know that we will fight for each other, whatever the situation. We stick together. Nick and I can fight tooth and nail, over a lyric, or a musical part. And you would think in those moments that we hate each other’s guts, but really we love each other.”
Roadkill Ghost Choir
It’s been two years since Roadkill Ghost Choir has taken listeners on a ride. Last trip, Andrew Shepard (Vocals / Guitar), Zach Shepard (Bass), Maxx Shepard (Drums / Vocals), Stephen Garza (Guitar), and Kiffy Myers (Pedal Steel) packed the car, pedal to the metal, with a banjo, guitars, and the profound swelter of the South. With the upcoming arrival of False Youth Etcetera, the quintet outgrows their roots in a supersonic fashion – exchanging their known vehicles for an electrified, aspirational magic carpet ride that soars through the night sky versus the tireless trudge of clocking mileage on an odometer. Coming off of a handful of challenging times, Andrew in particular was a bit hardened by his experiences on the road under pressure to deliver new songs. It’s no surprise False Youth Etcetera feels like a turn towards fantastical and anthemic escape compared to songs from the past. It’s immediately felt on the band’s first single, “Classics (Die Young),” which bends beautifully and purposefully in the direction of M83 than the group’s previous resonance to contemporary folk, based mainly in their choice of instruments to begin with.
The album is a drive that picks up an impassioned pace – starting with the extended, hazy dream sequence of “Vision on Vision (Undo)” that will make Roadkill Ghost Choir faithfuls feel right at home; picking up the pace on the majorly pulsating “Dream Shiver;” later careening into the stunning peak of a starry, Kraftwerk-inspired, and multilayered journey called “Panik Kit.” The back half of False Youth Etcetera is masterful aural poetry – from the soaring liberation of “Sad Magic,” the impassioned yearning of “Suit Said Sing,” to the lilted, sweet conclusion, “Out of Existence,” so clearly and beautifully delivering the group to a whole new illuminating, electric terrain.