In the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy and his father (Henry Sr. to be specific) are forced to go to a Nazi Rally in order to obtain a diary that would lead said father and son to the legendary Holy Grail. I understand how they must have felt, for I too have walked into the lion’s den. As a student of North Carolina State University, I have attended concerts at a university hotspot called, Cat’s Cradle.
Cat’s Cradle, officially located in Carrboro, is one of those great, small venues that house up-and-coming bands, as well as established artists. It’s located in the corner of a small building that could easily be mistaken for a warehouse, with trees whose branches and leaves occasionally cover the sign identifying the residence. The sign itself and where it is situated make it look more like a record shop than an actual concert venue.
This is not a negative commentary on Cat’s Cradle, far from it. All of the above mentioned imperfections only add to its charm. Once inside its doors, the bar is located on the left side, and beside it is a typical space for the performing artists to sell apparel and music. Upon entering, you are essentially in the crowd. There are no hallways pointing this way and that, nor are there any ushers directing you to your seats. It’s all in your face, bringing to mind the wise mantras of the late Buckaroo Banzai who said, “Wherever you go, there you are.”
The stage is situated but a few feet off the ground, and the crowd is able to get close, avoiding arena flaws such as, you know, security. You may sit, but only in the very back, unless you enjoy being trampled upon during a set by the Rosebuds (who will perform there on January 24th).
Cat’s Cradle is largely attended by the local Tarheel crowd, but no matter your affiliation, all are welcomed. It’s my favorite type of venue, one where the audience and the performer(s) join up as one to create a memorable experience for all involved, something that gets lost in arenas and stadiums.
The National – “Fake Empire” (Live at Cat’s Cradle – 09/07/2007)
300 E Main St
Carrboro, NC 27510
01/23 – The Gourds
01/24 – The Rosebuds
01/27 – Jon McLaughlin
01/31 – Annuals
02/05 – Bret Dennen
02/10 – Parlor Mob