Sunday, July 31, 2011

Scandinavian death metal band cancels Monday's show at Amos', rest of US tour

Swedish death metal group In Flames has cancelled Monday's show at Amos' Southend due to a family illness. The band was in the midst of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival with Disturbed, Godsmack, Megadeth, Machinehead and others. This means it will also not be on the bill Wednesday, August 3 in Raleigh when Mayhem hits the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek.

The band released the following statement on its website Sunday afternoon:

It is with huge regret that today with immediate effect, In Flames must cancel their current US shows as part of the Mayhem tour and their own US headline shows. But due to a serious terminal illness of one of the band's immediate family members they feel they have no option.

"We have had the most amazing and fun times as part of the Mayhem tour and we are truly grateful for all the support the whole festival has shown. We will be back at the start of 2012. Once again, our apologies."

Refunds will be issued for tickets to the Amos' show.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Gibson revisits Slash's many guest spots

Last weekend guitar great Slash celebrated his 46th birthday. To commemorate one of their best client's big days Gibson compiled a list of Slash's most notable guest gigs. It's an interesting list that includes some work I forgot about or wasn't even aware of, but not his Super Bowl halftime gig with Black Eyed Peas.

You can read the article, complete with video clips, here.

Slash actually revisited "Always on the Run," the Lenny Kravitz track that he co-wrote and performed on, at his solo concert at Charlotte's Fillmore in February. That song was always my favorite Kravitz track and it was a real treat to hear him play it live.

On another note, 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of "Appetite for Destruction." I'm curious to see what, if anything, comes of that. If not the proper reunion, which fans are clamoring for online (there is even a petition to reunite the original lineup), I'm at least hoping for a remastered reissue with lots of extras (although sound quality seems to be hit or miss on these things). Twenty-five years also makes Guns n' Roses eligible for the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. As much as I'd like to see that, it seems premature considering some of the artists that have been ignored. Plus, having the artists my generation grew up with like Metallica and Run DMC inducted just makes me feel old.

Local band celebrates 15th anniversary and cd release tonight

Charlotte Indie-rock trio Angwish celebrates its 15th anniversary and cd release Friday, July 29, at Smokey Joe's Cafe (510 Briar Creek Rd.). While Angwish has been around for a long time and has been fairly prolific, 15 years doesn't quite seem possible. Vocalist/guitarist Bryan Bielanski actually started the band when he was 17. Longtime bassist and backing vocalist Rachael Malmberg joined in 2003. Neither member looks their age so its not surprising that reviews referred to them as "kids."

The Anniversary party also sees the release of its new disc "Data West," which is a collection of b-sides, some dating way back. Bielanski says, almost as a disclaimer, that some of the songs on the disc feature Angwish at its most raw and were really only intended for release so fans could hear just how far the band has come.

As someone that's followed them since fairly early on I've watched them develop into more mature songwriters and arrangers with each record. I've always been impressed by how well they pull disparate influences together. What's been a defining thread over the last few years though is the Pixies-like vocal interplay between Bielanski and Malmberg.

If we were handing out high school yearbook superlatives I've long thought of Angwish (along with a few other local bands like Scapegoat, Harvard, and Campbell) as "most improved." That's not to say those bands didn't show promise early on, but because they started performing when they were so young and new, it is easy to see now how much they've evolved.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bele Chere makes music in the mountains this weekend

The annual Bele Chere Festival in downtown Asheville kicks off Friday at noon with arts, crafts, live music and children's activities. Music begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday's lineup includes Black Mountain's eclectic and critically acclaimed Floating Action, Athens' power rock trio the Whigs, Southern rockers the Apache Relay, song songwriter Marc Broussard (pictured), and rootsy Greensboro outfit Holy Ghost Tent Revival.

Music continues Saturday across four stages with the Cedric Burnside Project, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Rebirth Brass Band, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, and Railroad Earth. Sunday's lineup features the Stereofidelics, Skinny Legs and All, Do It to Julia, Papadosio, and Hoots & Hellmouth.

The entire lineup and schedule is available here. Other activities at the family-friendly festival include arts and crafts exhibitors, local merchants, food vendors, and a children's area with crafts, rides, inflatables, performances, and a Lego table where kids will build a block replica of Asheville.

This week's hot concerts

Southern Culture on the Skids

8 p.m. Friday, July 29, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $15-$18. 704-358-9200.

This Carolina institution rarely slows down despite nearing the 30-year-mark. It continues its toe tapping, humor-filled brand of retro roots-rock and celebration of Carolina culture on 2010’s “Kudzu Ranch” and the recently digitally reissued “Santo Swings.”

Rascal Flatts

9 p.m. Friday, July 29, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 707 Pavilion Blvd. $34.75-$79.50.

Country’s biggest trio (this side of Lady Antebellum at least) makes its annual summer trek to Charlotte with Sara Evans, who is enjoying somewhat of a comeback after a long recording hiatus, Easton Corbin, and Justin Moore in tow.

DS The Evolution/Leydy Bonilla

8 p.m. Saturday, July 30, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $15-$20. 704-358-9298.

The Latin duo that fuses hip-hop, reggaeton, Bachata and Merengue and the Dominican vocalist both call Charlotte home, but tour internationally. This hometown show gives locals a chance to catch these popular musical exports.

Sade/John Legend

7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 31, Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St. $37.75-$170.60.

After a long break the Nigerian born UK singer and her band returned from a second retirement in 2010 for a fourth Grammy win and a 2011 tour featuring fellow award winner Legend in the opening slot.

Maroon 5

7 p.m. Tuesday, August 2, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 707 Pavilion Blvd. $32-$115.80.

Team Levine is back with the band after coaching “The Voice’s” Javier Colon to a win. He and his soul-pop outfit, who mine their rock roots on stage, join Train and Gavin DeGraw.

Young Jeezy

8 p.m. Tuesday, August 2, Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard St. $38.

The growling South Carolina-born, Atlanta-based rapper behind “Ballin,” “Lose My Mind” and “Soul Survivor” heads up his TM103 Tour with rising, fast-talking rapper Freddie Gibbs, and Deniro Farrar with J. Capri as support acts.

Selena Gomez & the Scene

7 p.m. Wedneseday, August 3, Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre, 1000 Seaboard St. $38-$96.05.

The now 19-year-old "Wizards of Waverly Place" star is the latest Disney princess to try to break the Mickey-mold without wrecking her tween-friendly image. She channels Gaga lite with the costume changes and electro-pop of her recent single "Love You Like a Love Song."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Notorious American Idol grad to play Milestone Tuesday

The Top 11 from the latest season of "American Idol" aren't the only "Idol" grads to hit a Charlotte stage this week. Before the "AI Live" tour stops at Time Warner Cable Arena Thursday, Season 6 finalist Sanjaya Malakar plays The Milestone Tuesday, July 26.

The small, graffiti-ed Milestone is a long way from Hollywood's "AI" stage, but the storied West Charlotte haunt is the kind of venue that sees it all - a musically open-minded place where you're as likely to see a phlegm spewing punk band as you are a foot stomping country act or a soulful funk combo. The common thread is usually that most of these bands are underground or on-the-cusp.

In the case of Malakar (pictured above), he's already performed for millions on television and toured with his season's "AI Live" Tour. Even if you remember nothing of his voice, you're likely aware of his name, his screen grabbing ever changing hairdos, or his ability to annoy and confound Simon Cowell. The seventh place finisher who was only 16 when he auditioned for the Fox reality series, is once again under the radar . He's touring small clubs like other indie artists. He plays the Milestone with Oregon-based indie-pop artists Brave Chandeliers and Chris Blair. Tickets are $7 to $9. Doors are at 8 p.m.

Watch his acoustic performance at Yahoo's Music Lounge here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Deceased punk singer pays tribute to king of pop with new single/video

Poly Styrene, the singer for iconic punk band X-Ray Spex, died of cancer in April but she also released a new album, "Generation Indigo," that same month. "Ghoulish" is the latest single from that disc and its a really beautiful dark pop song written about another fellow musician that was gone much too soon. Styrene penned the song about Michael Jackson, his physical appearance late in life, and the coverage that surrounded him. Before her death she said: "I never met him but he seemed soft spoken and gentle. It was all over the media and I thought I would write that song, but it could be about any goth."

The above video featuring a cast of mostly mediocre Jackson impersonators was released today. I found it and the song both really charming. It's funny to think the same ethereal vocalist singing "Ghoulish" is the same one screaming the classic punk anthem "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!" It makes me want to run right out and get the rest of the record.

Kanye & Jay-Z announce NC show

Kanye West and Jay-Z announced today that the two hip-hop juggernauts have formed a new group called The Throne. The Throne will release its debut album, "Watch the Throne," exclusively on iTunes August 8. That same day tickets go on sale to the public for the duo's upcoming tour which includes an October 30 show at Greensboro Coliseum.

Starting Thursday, July 28, fans who visit will have access to presale tickets that include a digital copy of the album. Citi card holders will also have access to presale tickets starting July 29. Fans can download the lead track, "Otis," starting today, July 25 when they pre-order a copy of the album. The album will be made available to other online retailers and physical copies of "Watch the Throne" will be in stores August 12.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vinyl continues its comeback with record show next weekend

When I worked at The Record Exchange from 1995 to 1999 a few of my co-workers would head to Hillsborough for a record show each year. As you'd expect we were all music geeks. I would regularly buy rare vinyl and European singles (mostly trying to complete my collection of Siouxsie & the Banshees b-sides) from an online store outside of D.C., but never made it to a record show. Nearly fifteen years later cd sales may be slogging, but record buying is hot again. Hence the Record and CD Collectors Show that will take place Saturday, July 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Plaza Hotel Carowinds (3965 Foothills Way in Fort Mill). Vendors will offer a mix of rare vinyl albums and 45s, CDs, DVDs, and memorabilia. Admission is free and patrons are encouraged to bring vinyl for sale or trade.

The show is the brainchild of Mount Holly native Greg Neal, a collector who has been selling vinyl on eBay and at shows around the Southeast for the last decade.

“The turn-out at these shows and interest shown by my fellow dealers and customers in having a show here in Charlotte encouraged me to establish a show in this region,” says Neal, who works at Manifest Discs. Neal says although he’s only active as a seller in the Southeast that record shows are growing in popularity around the country. Its not just older collectors who are continuing to buy vinyl, but younger customers too. He mentions selling a Grateful Dead album to a ten-year-old at a show in Atlanta, for instance.

There is certainly something special about vinyl. Even though I may already own an album on cd seeing the enlarged artwork and feeling the weight of records in their sleeves (especially if its nice and heavy) is always tempting. I find myself thinking, even though we own three broken record players, wouldn't it be nice to have the new National on vinyl too? Of course there are advantages to the sound as well.

Collectors can find out about more shows in the US and Canada here. For Neal, who left Charlotte in the `70s and returned in 1993, his involvement in the vinyl resurgence is like coming full circle. “I was the general manager and buyer for the first independent CD store in Los Angeles, the legendary C.D. Banzai store in West L.A., so in an ironic sort of way I was present at the death of vinyl and am now involved in its resurrection.”

This week's hot concerts


7 p.m. Friday, July 22, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $10-$12.

Aaron Bruno of indie rock band Under the Influence of Giants is climbing the alternative/modern rock charts with the electro soul-rock single “Sail” and his alter ego’s new album “Megalithic Symphony.”


8 p.m. Saturday, July 23, Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. $20-$23.

With “Dream Warriors” and “Into the Fire” still in heavy rotation on VH1 Classic’s “Metal Mania” Don Dokken and company revisits those and other mainstream Top 25 rock singles minus guitarist George Lynch.

Amy Lavere

8 p.m. Saturday, July 23, Stage Door Theatre, 5th and College streets, $12-$15. 704-372-1000.

On her new album “Stranger Me” this Memphis actress/singer/upright bassist (“Black Snake Moan,” “Walk the Line”) combines a sweet, slightly raspy voice and sound fit for a different era with modern Americana-pop songs.

Radok Fest

7 p.m. Saturday, July 23, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $10. 704-343-9494.

Antiseen, Snagglepuss, Husbians, K-Lloyd, Murdercycle and Chow Tiger pay tribute to the Charlotte photographer who specialized in covering the music scene. He was murdered during a home invasion in January.


8 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard. St. $35.25.

More heavy blues rockers than the typical hair metal it was associated with, the band behind “Night Songs” and “Long Cold Winter” celebrates its 25th anniversary following vocalist Tom Keifer’s rehabilitation from throat surgery last year.

Tech N9ne

7 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $20-$23.

The lightning tongued indie rapper follows up his guest-heavy “All 6’s and 7’s” album with an equally guest heavy tour that includes his Strange Music crew Krizz Kaliko, Jay Rock Stevie Stone and others.

Black Lips

7 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $12-$15/$25 VIP. 704-358-9298.

The Atlanta garage rockers and recent “Spin Magazine” cover model appears ready to explode as it stops in the QC on the way to Lollapalooza in August and Raleigh’s Hopscotch Festival in September.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brian McKnight concert at Ovens postponed

R&B singer Brian McKnight has postponed his Charlotte concert scheduled for Wednesday, July 27 at Ovens Auditorium. The new date for his "Just Me Tour" has not yet been announced. Tickets for the original date will be honored at the make-up show. Refunds are available at the original point of purchase.

McKnight's latest album, "Just Me," was released July 12. The two disc set features one disc of new material and another of live acoustic performances. McKnight's website states that his brother Claude of the group Take 6 and his sons BJ and Niko who perform as BRKN RBTZ (Broken Robots - love the name) will join him on tour.

Avetts and others announced for new Florida festival

If you're a music fan you may have concocted your dream festival lineup in your head before. While the lineup for Orlando Calling, a new two-day festival launching at the Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando, Florida set for November 12 and 13, doesn't include my entire "dream" bill its pretty darn good.

Saturday's acts include the Killers (pictured above), making its first appearance in over two years, the Pixies, the Avett Brothers, the Roots, the Raconteurs, Gogol Bordello, O.A.R., Iron and Wine, Pete Yorn, Gavin Degraw, Jenny and Johnny, Drive-By Truckers, Civil Twilight, Lucero, Dr. Dog, Ben Sollee, Felice Brothers, and Renee and the Translators.

Sunday's bill features Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, the Doobie Brothers, Kid Rock, Dwight Yoakam, Buddy Guy, Warren Haynes, Chris Isaak, Brandi Carlile, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Michelle Branch, the Flatlanders, Los Lonely Boys, Blues Traveler, the David Mayfield Parade, Justin Townes Earle, and the Supervillains. Blake Shelton is also listed on the festival's website, but was not included on an early press release.

Tickets go on sale Saturday, July 23 at 10 a.m. at or via Ticketmaster (800-745-3000). Single day passes are $80/$165 VIP, 2-day passes are $145/$285 VIP.

Orlando Calling is being produced by Festival Republic, which promotes European festivals such as the famed Glastonbury and Reading festivals. It is owned in part by LiveNation. Other late night shows and activities are planned for that weekend as well.

It sounds like this could be good for central Florida and the South in general. Some tours still bypass the South all together or only hit Atlanta or Miami. Of course it's still a day's drive from Charlotte.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Change of opening act for John Butler Trio show Thursday

Gomez has cancelled the remainder of its current US tour including dates opening for the John Butler Trio. The John Butler Trio plays The Fillmore (1000 Seaboard St.) Thursday, July 21. The British rock band announced on its website last Thursday that vocalist/guitarist Ben Ottewell lost his voice and doctors advised him to take a complete vocal rest for two weeks. Fellow Gomez member, vocalist/guitarist Ian Ball, will perform solo opening sets instead.

The cancelled shows include a headlining date in Washington, D.C. as well as four with Butler. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show Thursday are $35.25.

If you aren't familiar with Butler, the Australian jam-friendly roots-funk rock outfit is worth checking out. You can hear samples from the group's latest album, 2010's "April Uprising," here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mini Review: Elvis Costello & the Imposters at Belk Theater

When I think of Elvis Costello I often think of the serious musician that’s spent his career exploring different genres, working with disparate artists, and writing and covering an incredible catalog of songs. I tend to forget about the personality and humor that he’s not only revealed through lyrics, but as temporary host of “Late Night with David Letterman” (when Dave was having heart surgery) and on his Sundance channel talk show “Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…” He brought that and more, donning the jokey character of Napoleon Dynamite as game show host of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook tour, which made a stop at Belk Theater Saturday, July 16.

The stage set up (pictured from afar above) was part Austin Powers, part `60s game show with a giant old TV as backdrop, a beaded cage for dancing, a small bar (called the Society Lounge), and the colorful two story wheel that was over twice as tall as the band. The five-song intro seemed kind of chaotic with the lights, the lithe dancer (Dixie Le Fontaine) in white boots and a sequin mini dress shimmying in the cage, and Costello & the Imposters blasting punkily through “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” “Heart of the City,” “Mystery Dance,” “Uncomplicated,” and “Radio Radio.” The shaky, raw sound, which wasn’t quite tweaked at that point, added to that fast, loose and loud feel and the vintage stage set. The song selection and arrangements were a reminder how rooted in that era of rock n’ roll much of Costello’s work is.

Throughout the night Costello invited members of the crowd on stage to spin the wheel, which featured over forty songs. The first spin landed on “God Give Me Strength,” which got Costello crooning out in the crowd where he grabbed the next two “contestants,” a presumably mother/daughter team from Cincinnati. His voice isn’t the kind sullied by age. The strength of those pipes (pardon the pun) was even more evident during that slow, torchy number.

A stunning statuesque hostess wearing a dress much like Marilyn Monroe’s famous white one combed the crowd for spinners then nudged them into the cage to groove as the Imposters played their selections (the entire set list is available at Costello’s website). The spins seemed to land in the same area of the wheel – making one revolution I presume. Few were hits, but none (“Bedlam,” “Earthbound” for instance) were disappointing. After hearing them it would have been hard to trade them for something else.

Costello’s version of Bob Dylan’s “This Wheel’s On Fire” took a long journey into three other songs and was quite different from the original (or the Siouxsie & the Banshees or “Absolutely Fabulous” versions I know well). I was curious about his version of Prince’s “Purple Rain,” which he’s played at many shows, but the “Rainbow” jackpot was not in the cards for Charlotte.

Costello ventured into the crowd close enough for some fans to touch during “Episode of Blonde” (when I snapped the above photo). Luckily he didn’t rely solely on the wheel to determine the set list. He chose as well, dedicating “Either Side of the Same Town” to songwriter/producer Jerry Ragovoy who died at age 80 earlier this week.

He wasn’t above cheating either. He nudged the wheel a notch in favor of “Peace Love & Understanding,” which got the entire crowd to its feet and followed that up with “Substitute” by the Who and an extended version of my favorite “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” (thank you, thank you, thank you Mr. Costello). With a catalog so vast and strong it’s impossible to guarantee that your favorite will make the cut (unless it’s “Alison” maybe). I felt lucky. The folks behind me got their request as well in “I Want You,” another song that benefited from Costello’s wheel manipulation.

He appeared solo to begin a quieter, rootsier run of songs that included “Sulphur to Sugarcane” then encored looking fittingly `70s movie thug in a shiny copper leather jacket and leopard print hat for “Watching the Detectives.” After nearly three hours he ended the set with “Everyday I Write the Book” and “Pump It Up.” The latter bookended the wild, punky feel of the beginning.

What’s so great about the Spinning Songbook is that you can bet aside from a few repeats that the sets in Charleston Monday, July 18, or in Asheville on Tuesday, July 19, will likely be quite different. I wouldn’t mind doing it all over again when he stops in Durham September 22.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Charlotte rock band S.O. Stereo releases new EP

In late 2007 I did a story for The Observer’s departed weekly, “Charlotte Eye,” on a handful of local artists to watch. S.O. Stereo was one of those four bands and three and a half years later the same lineup remains intact. The group recently put out its second release, a six-song EP produced by manager Bruce Irvine, a veteran Charlotte-based mixer and studio engineer who has long worked with Anthony Hamilton and more recently with Paper Tongues and Jill Scott.

A lot of what I wrote about S.O. Stereo in 2007 is true of the new EP (clever, conversational lyrics, memorable songs, inventive drumming…), but there’s also growth as if the group has really found its sound. Its first disc, while rooted in rock, had elements of trip-hop, spoken word, folk-rock and hip-hop. That sort of stylistic flexibility worked well. I especially liked “Gunslinger,” but the new EP is a more focused and darker, moving away from Dave Matthews and closer to early Radiohead, an edgier Coldplay or the Bravery. The band's inclusion on an episode of “The Vampire Diaries” last season (where it interacted with the cast) was rather fitting. Bradley C. Davis’ voice still has an unusual catch to it – the kind sometimes found in torchy singers like Shirley Bassey or Eartha Kitt. That may seem like a strange comparison, but I imagine it’s what Matthews would sound like fronting a European dance-rock outfit that's also capable of deep soulful ballads.

Like “One” or “Clocks” the words, acoustic guitar and group chorus of “This Place” reminds me of the kind of unifying anthems that can momentarily turn a U2 or Coldplay concert into a spiritual revival. “Some people call it alone/and some of us call it home” Davis sings. The opener “I’ll Take the Bullet” rides a danceable guitar hook into a catchy sing-songy chorus. The hooks keep coming with dark, fluttering guitar lines. I can also imagine hearing these songs getting bigger and grander if a big label got its hands on it.

Most of the EP is available at iTunes and is available at shows. You can also hear songs at S.O. Stereo returns to Amos’ Southend September 8.

This week's hot concerts


7 p.m. Friday, July 15, Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre, 1000 Seaboard St. $33.50-$46.85.

Readying the August 2 release of its seventh album, “King,” this jam-friendly live favorite who crossed over to VH1 with 2008's “Shattered," gives fans a sneak peak at the new disc.


8:30 p.m. Friday, July 15, Amos’ Soutned, 1423 S. Tryon St. $22.50.

The influential hip-hop pioneer, rapper, philosopher and author who provided a lyrical counterpoint for the violence and misogyny that colored late `80s/early `90s rap continues to straddle the socially conscious and controversial.

Corey Smith

8 p.m. Friday, July 15, Coyote Joe’s, 4621 Wilkinson Blvd. $20.

Long rocking Charlotte venues with one foot planted in acoustic party rock and the other in good time country, this Georgia favorite takes his act to the true country crowd.

Elvis Costello

8 p.m. Saturday, July 16, Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. $34.50-$79.50. 704-372-1000.

The veteran songwriter takes a game show approach to his latest “Spinning Songbook” tour largely choosing set lists via audience spins at random each night.

A Perfect Circle

8 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, TWC Uptown Amphitheatre, 1000 Seaboard St. $47.35-$73.90.

Maynard James Keenan and Billy Howardel “circle” back (without drummer Josh Freese, who is touring with Weezer) after a long live hiatus. Although shying away from releasing another traditional full-length album recent set lists hint at new material.

Wiz Khalifa

8 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, TWC Uptown Amphitheatre, 1000 Seaboard St. $39.60-$50.

Stoner rap’s biggest current ambassador follows his breakthrough release “Rolling Papers,” an appearance at Bonnaroo, a #1 single,and last weekend’s BET Award for Best New Artist with a live club tour.


6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 21, Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. $13-$15.

The emo/pop-punk fixture whose melodic rock echoes the intersection of the Smiths, Face to Face, and Smoking Popes, is enjoying some of the best reviews of its career for its latest album “Killing Time.”

Reckless Kelly

8 p.m. Thursday, July 21, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $15-$18. 704-358-9200.

It’s a family affair when all four Braun Brothers unite before the September release of RK’s upcoming album, “Good Luck and True Love.” RK’s Willy and Cody Braun are joined by siblings Mickey and Gary Braun, who make up part of opening band Mickey and the Motorcars.

Antigone Rising

8 p.m. Thursday, July 21, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $10-$12. 704-376-3737.

Since its 2006 brush with fame as a Starbucks endorsed artist with a video on VH1, this bluesy folk-rock group has recruited a new vocalist in Nini Camps. It will release its new album, "23 Red," on August 2.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"American Idol" auditions set for Charleston

The Carolinas have been good to "American Idol" and vice versa. Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery, from Garner, NC, is the latest in a long line of Carolinians (Clay Aiken, Fantasia, Kellie Pickler, Chris Daughtry, Bucky Covington...) to fare well on the long running Fox reality series. McCreery went all the way to Milwaukee to audition, but Carolinians ready for a shot at Season 11 won't have to travel as far.

Auditions will be held at North Charleston Coliseum (5001 Coliseum Dr.) in Charleston, SC on Friday, July 22. Pre registration opens Wednesday, Jul 20 at 7 a.m. Pre registration tables will remain open until Friday morning around 8 a.m. when hopefuls will line up. Those auditioning will not be able to camp out in order to stake out a place in line.

American Idol Live! featuring this season's top 11, including McCreery, makes a stop at Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena Thursday, July 28.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Foo Fighters heading back to Charlotte

Dave Grohl's hit-making rock n' roll machine returns to Charlotte for the first time in four years. The band announced today that it will play Time Warner Cable Arena Tuesday, November 8. Pre-sales start Wednesday, July 13 at 10 a.m. General ticket sales start Friday, July 15 via

The third leg of its upcoming US tour begins at Atlanta's Gwinnett Center on November 7. Social Distortion and the Joy Formidable will open the November run. The tour follows up the band's successful seventh album, "Wasting Ligh,t" and new documentary "Back and Forth."

The Foo Fighters last graced a Charlotte stage in October 2007. I still hear local music fans mention it as one of the best concerts in recent memory. If you want a preview of the fall tour Foo Fighters is streaming its performance at the Legendary Roundhouse in London as part of the iTunes festival live today at 4 p.m. EST. (9 p.m. UK time). You can log on to iTunes watch or download the free iTunes App here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

This week's hot concerts

Harvey Milk

8 p.m. Friday, July 8, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $10-$12.

Athens’ veteran noise rockers, who regrouped in 2006 after a near decade-long break, brings its classic rock-inspired loud, experimental and eclectic sludge grooves back up I-85.

Christabel & the Jons

9 p.m. Friday, July 8, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $10. 704-376-1446.

This Tennessee combo transports listeners to another era with its mix of old time jazz, country, and swing originals and standards. Its reportedly adding more Bossa nova and samba to its repertoire on its upcoming album.

Motley Crue/Poison

7 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. 707 Pavilion Blvd. $40-$122.15.

The Crue celebrates its 30th anniversary with friendly rival Poison, who celebrates its 25th. Glam rock granddaddies New York Dolls (led by David Johansen aka Buster Poindexter), who influenced both headliners, open the show.

Peter Case

10:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $15-$17. 704-376-3737.

After 2009’s sidelining heart surgery the veteran songwriter returned with “Wig!,” an album rich in blues-rock and folk tales of women, hard luck, religion, and cars that ring with a balance of youthful exuberance and maturity. He followed it up with “The Case Files,” a recent collection of B-sides, demos and the like.

Taking Back Sunday

7 p.m. Thursday, July 14, Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard Ave. $34.50.

Back with the original lineup from its first album for its recently released self-titled album, TBS (whose vocalist calls Charlotte home) heads up a bill with fellow influential emocore act Thursday, Southern indie-rockers the Colour Revolt, and We are the In Crowd (a pop punk act with co-ed vocals).


7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $8.

One of the promising rising artists competing for “Rolling Stone’s” recent cover contest, the Chicago act’s heavy hitting rock anthems sound ready for radio but were cut in the semi-final round.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pixies headed back to Carolinas

Seminal alternative rock foursome the Pixies brings its seemingly endless Doolittle Tour to Greensboro's War Memorial Auditorium November 8. The original group of Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering, who reunited in 2004, brought the Doolittle Tour to Charlotte in September 2010.

The tour celebrates the 20th anniversary of the band's 1989 album. Of course by now its into its 22nd year. This portion of the tour is being dubbed the "Lost Cities Tour" because the schedule is made up of cities the band has never played in its 25 year existence. Those 19 dates include Greensboro on the 8th and Charleston, SC on November 11.

The band will perform "Doolittle" in its entirety as well as B-sides from that era. During the Charlotte date last year fans were treated to favorite tracks from 1990's "Bossanova" and 1988's "Surfer Rose" as well. Indie-rock act Surfer Blood will open the Carolinas' shows.

A ticket pre-sale which will only be available to the band's email list starts Friday, July 8. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, July 15 at 10 a.m. via or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Details can be found at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Swift postpones Charlotte show due to illness

After cancelling her Louisville concert July 2 due to illness, Taylor Swift is postponing this weekend's concerts as well. Her Charlotte show scheduled for Friday, July 8 is now set for November 16. Her Atlanta shows set for July 9 and 10 were moved to October 1 and 2.

Swift, who has bronchitis, was advised by her doctor to reschedule the shows. In a statement Swift says: It breaks my heart to miss out on this weekend’s shows with my friends in Charlotte and Atlanta. I would never cancel if I thought I was physically able to perform these shows. I am so sorry to the fans, but I look forward to seeing you when we come back through your towns, which we will do.”

Swift is currently scheduled to play 98 shows in 17 countries during her 2011 "Speak Now" tour. She plans to resume the tour in Montreal July 14.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

?uestlove to appear at Re:Public next week

Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, drummer for Grammy winning Philadelphia hip-hop outfit the Roots, sought after producer, and musical director for NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (where the Roots serve as house band), will be at Re:Public (314 N. College St.) Saturday, July 16. ?uestlove, who reportedly owns 50,000 albums, will put his vast musical collection to use during a DJ set beginning at 10 p.m.

Anyone who's watched "Fallon" since it debuted in 2009 knows ?uestlove is an encyclopedia of music choosing well thought out celebrity entrance music (and rarely going for the most obvious choice). He'll bring that knowledge and eclectic taste to the dancefloor. Tickets are $15 at and 704-375-0733. For table reservations call 980-322-9859 or email

Durham singer reemerges with striking new video

Many Charlotteans may remember singer-songwriter Jocelyn Ellis from the rock band the Alpha Theory. The band was based in Charlotte and played here frequently although Ellis moved back to her hometown of Durham after graduating from UNC-Charlotte. I was impressed by the group's Femmefest sets a couple of years ago. Ellis could easily shift from fronting a rock band to Alicia Keys-style piano balladry.

As a solo artist she demonstrates even more versatility with the sleek video for "One Step Closer" (which was released in April). I'm excited to see what she does next. For more on Ellis go to

Friday, July 1, 2011

This week's hot concerts

Judacula Fest

7:30 p.m. Friday, July 1, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $7. 704-343-9494.

The West side and Plaza-Midwood crowds converge on Southend when Milestone regulars 25 Minutes to Go, the Emotron, and 2013 Wolves meet Mr. Invisible, Hungry Girl, Jason Michel and visual artists Kelly Keith, Andy Fenstermaker, Frank Balthazar, Matthew Stover, and Robert Childers.

Von Ehrics

8 p.m. Friday, July 1, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $6-$9.

The Texas cowpunk combo, which takes its name from the doomed pro-wrestling family, filter country and gospel through speedy punk on its latest album, “Two Foot Stomp.”

John Parr

8 p.m. Friday, July 1, Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. $22-$29/$100 VIP.

The long dormant British rock singer behind “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” and “Naughty, Naughty” finishes up a run of area shows. Tickets include a copy of his new double album “Letter to America.”

David Gray

7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 2, Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd. $43.15-$69.40.

The British pop singer best known for his hit “Babylon” performs an intimate, acoustic-leaning set inspired by his early material and the folk-ier singer-songwriter sound of his latest album “Foundling.”

US National Whitewater Center 4th of July Festival

4 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (july2,3,and4), US Whitewater Center, Free.

USNWC celebrates the fourth with a weekend of concerts including Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Riley Etheridge, Jr. and Do It to Julia Saturday, Langhorne Slim, Ovemountain Men, and Holy Ghost Tent Revival Sunday, and Anders Osborne with New Familiars and Sol Driven Train on Monday.

Zac Brown Band

7 p.m. Sunday, July 3, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 707 Pavilion Blvd. $44-$62.85.

One of country’s biggest recent success stories, the Georgia chef-turned-Grammy winner graduates to headlining even bigger outdoor stages with his mix of country, Southern rock, and feel-good roots music.

11th Annual Plaza-Midwood Pig Pickin’

4 p.m. Sunday, July 3, Sherwin Williams Parking Lot, 1218 Gordon St., Free.

Plaza-Midwood businesses carry on the tradition started by The Penguin with a block party that includes Belmont Playboys, Aqualads, Temperance League, Sea of Cortez and Modern Primitives. Alternative Champs and Poontanglers play the after party at Snug Harbor at 11 p.m.