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At The Water’s Edge with Dark Water Rising at The Pour House

The Pour House Music Hall is one of the first music venues I attended after I moved to Raleigh, NC. It’s small, dark with great artwork, amassed promo stickers everywhere and even better acoustics. The stage is low and built for fan adoration and raised hands.

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I braved the disrespectful winter temperatures last Friday to see a band perform there because I knew it would be worth the loss of feeling in all of my extremities.  Okay mostly, because it was pretty damn cold but I have no regrets.

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The opening band, Lotus Sun of Fayetteville, NC, were already two songs deep into their set when I rushed in for warmth. The jazzy summer time vibe of the song “Victoria” they were performing didn’t match my frozen state but it was a welcome reprise.

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I was able to groove and thaw myself simultaneously. Lead singer and guitarist Tyrek Hearon is engaging and funny, with his bandmates throwing in quick barbs and jokes throughout the set. I love  artists who have personality outside of their songs as well, entertaining you on multiple levels so 10 bonus points to Lotus Sun for that. Their music is a hodgepodge of influences.  

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Rock and roll with soul and R&B mixed in. They did a solid Tears For Fears cover, and their original song “Daylight” had me ready to purchase the “Sweet Shannon” EP they were plugging until they joked about how they’ve been saying the new EP was coming out for over a year now. I laughed until I realized that meant no music to take home. Gonna need you fellas to work on that!

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Dark Water Rising hopped right on stage, prompt and ready to go. I could see why Lotus Sun was picked to get the crowd ready. Their unique blend of music perfectly complemented Dark Water Rising’s self-defined “rocky soul.” Their sound is a southern flavored stew of rock, soul, gospel, and country, flavored with their own traditional Native American music. With two albums already under their belt, listeners have plenty of musical content to experience. Lead vocalist Charly Lowry, of Lumbee heritage along with several other bandmates, is best known for her 2004 run as a finalist on “American Idol” and most recently has been facing health issues (you can support her Go Fund Me for a kidney donor here). Besides a large bandage peeking through on her chest, I would’ve never known anything was amiss. Her voice proceeds her, booming sweet and crystal clear out of her tiny frame. It has a classic lilt, reminding you of singers from the 1950s. Their love ballad “Hooked” had couples slow dancing in front of the stage; their rock cover of Brandi Carlile’s “I Was Made For You” was phenomenal! I’m partial to the song and Charly’s voice fits it wonderfully. I dug the ode to Carolina, “My Carolina,” the acoustic version was recently their submission to the popular NPR Tiny Desk Series. The song “Brown Skin” though had me mesmerized. Performed using a hand drum, it’s a empowering tale for the ladies that is riveting. If you’ve never seen cultural music performed live with an authentic hand drum, the experience is beyond moving.

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The audience response was so much that they performed another hand drum song after. Tyrek of Lotus Sun played with the band as well, doing a dope solo cover of Khalid’s “Location.” Which makes me say again,  fellas…. let’s get that EP recorded please!

I think crowd wise, the highlight of the show was their cover of 4 Non Blondes “What’s Up.” Everyone of course sang along and enjoyed the vibe. I can’t say enough about this show. Leave your expectations at the door because both bands are examples that NC artists are far too talented to be confined to one or even a couple genres of music. They’ve got flavor for everyone at the table to enjoy.

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