Friday, September 30, 2011

Avetts' bassist off road due to daughter's illness

Earlier this week Avett Brothers' bassist Bob Crawford announced that he will be off the road indefinitely. Crawford (pictured above with cellist Joe Kwon) posted a detailed message to fans Wednesday about his 22-month-old daughter Hallie, who is being treated for a brain tumor that was discovered in late August. Read his post here.

Crawford asks that fans pray for Hallie.

The band's manager, Dolph Ramseur, says bassist Paul Defiglia, who was formerly with Langhorne Slim's band, is currently filling in for Crawford on the road. The Avetts, who play a sold out show in Chicago tonight, will be back in North Carolina Saturday, October 8 for a Gate City Rotary Club benefit concert in Greensboro. That show is also sold out. The Avetts announced last week that it will play its annual New Year's Eve concert at Greenville, SC's Bi-Lo Center.

This week's hot concerts

Ten Out Of Tenn

7 p.m. Friday, September 30, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $12-$15. 704-358-9298.

The latest chapter of this collaborative singer-songwriter tour includes Trent Dabbs , Gabe Dixon , Andrew Belle , K.S. Rhoads , Katie Herzig, Matthew Perryman Jones, Amy Stroup, Tyler James , Butterfly Boucher and Jeremy Lister.

The Atomic Bitchwax

8 p.m. Friday, September 30, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $8-$10.

Stoner rock’s answer to prog, this New Jersey trio illustrated its evolution on its last album "4" with an emphasis on vocal harmonies and occasional strings without letting up on the thick riff-heavy guitar work that populates its latest disc, "The Local Fuzz."

Hot Rize

8 p.m. Saturday, September 30, McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St. $22.50-$39.50. 704-372-1000.

The 30-year-old bluegrass institution approaches its 10th year with its current lineup (after Charles Sawtelle’s 1999 death it relaunched with Bryan Sutton on guitar in 2002). The lineup boasts its offbeat Western swing alter-ego Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers.

Donna the Buffalo/Roy Jay

7 p.m. Saturday, October 1, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th ST. $22-$25/$37 VIP. 704-358-9298.

The live Cajun-flavored jam favorite is back, joined by the Roy Jay Band, a relatively new entry on the circuit (led by a Dead Head) with roots in improvisational blues, rock, and jazz that approaches jam-rock with subtlety.

Full Service

8 p.m. Monday, October 3, Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. $10-$12. 704-377-6874.

This Austin outfit has spread its music through DIY stunts and gigs with 311 and Badfish. Described simply as alt-reggae, it actually summons the intersection of late `60s Woodstock rock and later John Frusciante-fueled Chili Peppers.


7 p.m. Tuesday, October 4, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $15-$18/$30 VIP. 704-358-9298.

Evan Dando and company will revisit its 1992 commercial breakthrough, “It’s a Shame About Ray,” (which was reissued in 2008) in its entirety. The alt-rock classic includes tracks like “My Drug Buddy” and “Bit Part.”


8 p.m. Wednesday, October 5, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $7-$9.

The San Francisco husband and wife team – which cranks out a mix of Skynyrd-ish Southern rock and driving bass-heavy biker-metal - is familiar to Antiseen fans having played its last anniversary blowout. With the Flat Tires and Biggy Stardust.

Mates of State

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 5, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $15-$18. 704-358-9200.

On the heels of the release of what may be the keyboard and drums duo’s finest studio album, “Mountaintops,” this married couple brings its uplifting harmonies and sugary pop confections back to town.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Craddock, Parker, Folds among NC Music Hall of Fame inductees

The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in Kannapolis will induct eight new members Thursday, October 13 during a ceremony and dinner at the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory Building (Cannon Village, 150 Research Campus Dr., Kannapolis). The event begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $70.

This year's inductees include:

  • Billy “Crash” Craddock – Country and Rockabilly recording legend from Greensboro.
  • Anthony Dean Griffey – Grammy award-winning opera tenor from High Point.
  • Maceo Parker – Jazz/funk saxophone player and James Brown sideman from Kinston.
  • Ben Folds – songwriter/alternative rock musician from Winston-Salem.
  • Michael English – Contemporary Christian recording artist from Wallace.
  • Clyde Moody – Bluegrass singer, songwriter, musician from Cherokee.
  • Billy Edd Wheeler – songwriter, playwright, author from Swannanoa.
  • John D. Loudermilk – pop and country songwriter from Durham.
Ronnie Milsap, Donna Fargo, Arthur Smith, Doc Watson, Maurice Williams, James Taylor, Ben E. King, Shirley Caesar, Roberta Flack, Earl Scruggs, and Kannapolis' own George Clinton are among those who have already been inducted.

For a full list of inductees and more information about the NC Music Hall of Fame visit

WEND 106.5 The End announces Not So Acoustic Xmas headliner

The annual Not So Acoustic Xmas concert presented by 106.5 The End welcomes Cake to Amos' SouthEnd (1423. S. Tryon St.) Friday, December 2. Tickets are $25 to $30 and go on sale Friday, September 30 at 10 a.m. at

Concertgoers are encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to Kids First of the Carolinas, a new Teddy Bear for the Charlotte Checkers' Teddy Bear Toss, or both.

Cake had its biggest hit with 1999's #1 alternative rock track "Never There." Other memorable tracks include "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" (which serves as the theme for NBC's "Chuck"), "The Distance," and "No Phone." Its single "Sick Of You" peaked at #4 in December 2010.

The quirky rocker's latest album, "Showroom of Compassion," was released in January. It was recorded in a solar powered studio in Sacramento that the group spent five years building. The disc debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. It was not only the band's first number one but its first Top 10 album. At only 44,000 physical copies sold "Showroom" logged the lowest numbers for a #1 album in Nielsen Soundscan history - a twist that probably wasn't lost on a band known for its use of irony and humor.

The Charlotte date is one in a string of holiday shows. Cake will also headline The Fox Theatre in Atlanta on New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ghouls, witches, and zombies populate Southern Culture's pumped up reissue

In 1998 NC’s Southern Culture on the Skids released an eight-song EP called “Zombified” that paid homage to B-grade horror films that were popular during the 1960s and 1970s. Just in time for Halloween the trio release the disc stateside this week.

The new version is a full-length album that includes five new tracks. It's available as a cd, digital download, or on blood red vinyl that’s limited to 1000 copies (which also comes with a cd). Although zombies are currently at the height of their popularity, “Zombified” pays tribute to a number of creatures of the night – vampires, witches, swamp thangs and the walking dead with minor key menace, zippy surf guitar (it worked for The Munsters), and the weary honky-tonk charm of Bruce Campbell’s “Bubba Ho-Tep” character.

“Zombified” is surprisingly diversified given its subject matter. There’s the early `80s country rock of “Eyeball You Later,” the timeless girl group softness of “Torture,” the horror movie/rockabilly marriage of the title track and “Primitive," and the sad, retro feel of “Undertaker.” It makes me think about the possibilities if Hank Williams, Alice Cooper, and Buddy Holly hung out together.

“Creeper,” with its gritty guitar and restrained pace hauntingly plods at nearly the same speed as I imagine a mummy would, arms outstretched of course (although drummer Dave Hartman never lets the beat truly lag). Rick Miller’s guitar tone and the vintage feel of the material and production easily conjures black and white images of tight sweater-clad beauties on the run from werewolves, romanced by vampires, and stalked by maniacs. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a good time for the busty beauties, but like most SCOTS’ material it’s done with tongue firmly in cheek.

I’m a huge fan of Halloween, horror movies, and camp and am pleased that there’s new music to add to the seasonal playlist (besides, I kind of celebrate Halloween year-round). Several years ago when I managed a SouthEnd coffeeshop I would leave our Muzak station tuned to the Halloween channel throughout the month of October, but inevitably I and the customers would tire of “Purple People Eater,” the Munsters theme, and Peter Murphy. With that in mind, there's certainly a need for this sort of fun musical take on the holiday.

To properly kick-off the release SCOTS is having a “Zombified” video contest. Read more about that here. The band will also play Visulite (1615 Elizabeth Ave.), November 11 ($15-$18, 704-358-9200) - a little late for trick or treat though. “Zombified” indicates SCOTS would throw a kickin’ (chicken) Halloween party.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This week's hot concerts

Lupe Fiasco

8 p.m. Friday, September 23, Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre, 1000 Seaboard St. $34-$57.85.

The “Superstar” “…Show Goes On” rapper bridges alternative hip-hop and easily digestible hits. The politically controversial rapper headlines a bill rounded out by Iyez, Sarah Green and Young Marquis.

Langhorne Slim & the Law

8 p.m. Saturday, September 24, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $12-$15. 704-358-9200.

The sometime Avetts’ cohort can channel both Harry Chapin with his raspy, soulful singing and Arcade Fire with bounding, sunny anthems as he approaches folk-rock with the spunk and heart of a evangelist at a revival.

"Spacetime" by Gardens & Villa from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

Gardens & Villa

9 p.m. Wednesday, September 28, Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. $8.

This Santa Barbara atmospheric electronic-rock outfit creates quirky relaxed, borderline melancholy tracks (think Belle & Sebastian meet Peter, Bjorn and John) that can morph into a raging dance party live.


8 p.m. Wednesday, September 28, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $8-$12.

An annual fixture at Atlanta’s DragonCon, the dark cabaret performer brings his “Riding the Black Unicorn” tour (the album version is an impressivly guest-heavy affair) with fellow sci-fi con vets Hellblinki Sextet.

Psychedelic Furs/Tom Tom Club

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 28, Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St. $34.50-$49.50. 704-372-1000.

These `80s holdouts reteam for a nostalgic tour that highlights fan favorites and new wave hits, this time with a rare performance from one half of Talking Heads.

Parlor Mob

8 p.m. Thursday, September 29, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $8-$10.

This New Jersey combo hovers in the classic rock-inspired era on its upcoming “Dogs,” equally able to work hard, bluesy grooves, turn in Kings of Leon-like radio rock, scale a Coheed-meets-Avenged Sevenfold-style chorus or deliver an `80s style power ballad.

David Mayfield Parade

10:30 p.m. Thursday, September 29, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $12-$14. 704-376-3737.

One of Americana’s best young entertainers, this down home songwriter leads a team of seasoned players with wit, charm, and little pretension.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Soul throwback's show at Amos' Friday cancelled.

While it looked to be quite a rich, yet eclectic weekend for soul-funk and jazz-infused hip-hop with Lupe Fiasco, Mayer Hawthorne, and Van Hunt delivering three very different but equally good takes on the stuff, one of those bills isn't happening. The Mayer Hawthorne and the County show scheduled for Amos' Southend Friday, September 23, has been cancelled. It was set to be the Michigan-raised producer-turned-frontman's first Charlotte show.

Much like Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Mayer Hawthorne recreates classic Motown soul like he was born a Miracle. He does update his sound to make it more contemporary, but there's a real respect for the era. His singles, for instance, are released on vinyl. What's more? He's a nerdy white guy from Ann Arbor, not Detroit.

I was looking forward to catching the show and I hope he'll reschedule. The cancellation doesn't mean the entire weekend is a bust of course. For instance Lupe Fiasco will play The Fillmore Friday, although not with British dance sensation Tinie Tempah as originally advertised. Van Hunt, who veers closer to the late `70s version of soul, performs at The Double Door Saturday.

Like a bad boyfriend, Gn'R is back. Tickets on sale Friday

Axl Rose's latest version of Guns n' Roses will embark on its first US tour in five years this fall. The tour brings Gn'R to Greenville, South Carolina's Bi-Lo Center October 31. Pre-sale started today with tickets going on sale to the public Friday at 10 a.m.

Guns n' Roses was probably my first favorite band. I kept a folder of magazine clippings about them and when I was 12 I wrote a song based on the Axl-related drama I'd read about in those issues of "Hit Parader" and "Metal Edge." I named my cat after him. My current 11-year-old black female is named Slash. I recently sold my beloved Guns n' Roses pinball machine. The Slash-designed pin is by far my favorite, not just because it plays practically all the songs from "Appetite for Destruction" but because it is just a fantastically complex play. Someday I'll have another.

I've been absolutely thrilled to interview Slash and Steven Adler (my 12-year-old self wouldn't have believed it) and I've enjoyed seeing both interpret Guns' work live. Adler's Appetite had an incredible Axl-like vocalist that would make a fine substitute if the rest of the boys wanted to tour together.

That said, I feel a bit like a sucker spending $90 to see Guns today (although it is Row A by the stage). It's like having a bad boyfriend you keep going back to. You don't know if you're going to get the charming guy you fell in love with or the jerk that keeps standing you up.

My sister and I went to see Axl's last version of Gn'R in Greensboro before the release of "Chinese Democracy." The length of time between Papa Roach's opening set and Guns finally hitting the stage was so great my bubbly sis befriended everyone in the circle around us. What we saw of the show was great. Its not like a perfectionist is going to hire crap players and I'm particularly fond of Tommy Stinson in his Replacements' era skinny plaid suits. But we had to leave early since my sister, a school teacher, had to be at work at 7 a.m. (which meant missing "Rocket Queen").

Despite the uncertainty, I'm still spending my Halloween in Greenville. I did however, after witnessing Rose's tardiness last time, buy seats instead of standing on the floor. Would I rather spend my money on a proper reunion? Of course, but I'll take what I can get even if its seeing all the original members separately (which seems to be where I'm headed).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Q&A with Kyuss' John Garcia; Kyuss Lives! in Asheville Sunday

Influential hard rock band Kyuss’ early to mid`90s run was short-lived, but its legend lived on helping spawn the underground yet fairly fervent “stoner” or “desert” rock genre (desert for the area of Southern California that it called home and which provided a fitting back drop for Kyuss’ thick riffs and moody grooves). Considered pioneers of the genre, its members went on to play with underground bands like Hermano, Slo Burn, Mondo Generator, and solo projects although guitarist Josh Homme seems to have risen highest from Kyuss’ ashes founding Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, and Them Crooked Vultures. There’s long been demand from fans, especially those too young to witness its original run, to reunite which made the announcement earlier this year that three fourths of the lineup – bassist Nick Oliveri, drummer Brant Bjork, and vocalist John Garcia (with guitarist Bruno Fevery, as pictured in order) - would reunite for a tour, so sweet. Dubbed Kyuss Lives!, the tour, which features Bruno Fevery on guitar, hits Asheville’s Orange Peel Sunday, September 25. (7 p.m. $23-$25. Tickets available at

Garcia, who returned to music a few years ago with Garcia v. Garcia (and in turn a live project called “Garcia Plays Kyuss”) after working as a veterinary technician, spoke to me earlier this month from his home in the Palm Desert before launching the North American leg of the Kyuss Lives! Tour.

What sparked the reunion?

I guess you could say the beginning of it was a completely unintentional thing where Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator and Brant Bjork and me playing Garcia Plays Kyuss wound up playing Hellfest in Toussaint, France. We had all stayed buddies and we were all very respectful and never any bad blood between us and it made sense for us to get up and do a few songs with three fourths of the original band. I was doing Garcia Plays Kyuss to help promote my solo record. I’d been out of the mix for a while. Brant was still doing it. Nick was still doing it and Josh and (another former Kyuss bassist who has also played with Kyuss Lives!) Scott Reeder. I was busy at the vet clinic where both my wife and I worked.

What made it different playing Kyuss songs with these guys?

The comparison between Garcia Plays Kyuss and Nick and Brant getting up there was like night and day. To get those feelings back? It was very emotional. That was the real deal again. To do that again with these guys was a bold move especially with Josh not being there. We wanted to celebrate our past and revisit some of these tunes. It was special to us, something I look forward to especially us playing in the states.

Was there some feeling that you never got to experience the spoils of your success since Kyuss got more popular after the split?

Totally. We tour now off of four records that were released 15 to 20 years ago and I’m thinking where the hell was everybody when we were together? The type of music we were writing was the music we were missing in our lives (that we wrote) to fill a void in our gut and that music has stood the test of time.

Was there a point that you started to notice Kyuss’ influence on bands that came after?

I’m very honored when guitar players and bands and singers say “Dude, ‘Blues For the Red Sun’ influenced what I’m doing in my band right now.” I did start noticing that as Kyuss continued to grow. I think that started happening toward the end of “Sky Valley” and “Circus Leaves Town” type of period.

Was there any hesitation about reuniting without Josh?

No, because I knew he would say no. It’s setting yourself up for immediate failure and an immediate no. Josh is always looking forward, never backward. People want there to be animosity between us and it’s the opposite. We just ran into him in France and hung out backstage. He’s got Queens and Crooked Vultures. He just had another baby boy. He’s doing his thing.

The fans seem just as excited about the reunion.

I’m a huge fan of Josh and he’s had mad success and I’m certainly glad he’s out there waving the flag at the front of the pack. It’s a good relationship we have. It’s on mutual terms. I think on the fipside of that if you don’t know who Bruno Fevery is, you’ll know who he is after one of these shows.

What kind of expectations did you have for the reunion?

I never expected to have it go this far when Brant would come up on stage with us for Garcia Plays Kyuss. To try to mirror that again for 22 shows - and it was originally suppose to be for only 22 shows -what a great feeling for me. It turned out to be much more than that.

Where do things stand now?

We’re on track to do another record. That’s why I’m up in Joshua Tree at Brant’s recording studio. The past three days we’ve been hanging out and writing and taking it easy and just not forcing it at all. If we’re going to do it we have to do it right. We don’t want to screw up what Kyuss created. Kyuss had a standard and we’re going to stick to it. We have a lot more to offer than just four records. It’s been a little bit of experimentation with Bruno. All of our projects have been put on the backburner and this is first and foremost our main thing. It’s exciting times.

How is touring different now?

When (my wife and I) made the decision, with both the kids (an 8-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son) it’s tough when daddy’s gone. She’s my right hand and without that final ok this never would have happened. We’re all family men. Brant has a son, Bruno has two beautiful daughters. Scotty’s family is his animals. We’re all animal people too. (The key is) to tour smarter and not harder, to be able to keep in touch. With the iPhone or iPad or PC it’s not as hard to see each other and talk to your kids on a daily basis. It’s not a party. We knock `em back before the show, but we still have a job to do.

People can change a lot in fifteen years. Are you pretty much the same people you were when the band ended?

I certainly am a different person. If I could go back and talk to that kid I’d slap him around and say, “John, wise up.” That guy didn’t appreciate what he had. I’m certainly glad I’ve wised up. There couldn’t have been a better thing to happen to that kid than Kyuss breaking up. You talk about a piece of humble pie. I thank the big man upstairs for allowing me to swallow that humble pie. You’re not a singer in a rock band anymore. It’s not something I take for granted. I’ve known Brant since he was 14 and he’s 38. I just turned 41 a couple days ago. I think Josh, Nick and Scott and Brant have always had that high level of integrity as well as Bruno.

What can you tell me about Bruno?

I’ve known Bruno now for five years. He and I played in his band called Arsenal. The thing about Bruno is there was a long line of guitar players chomping at the bit to do this. They didn’t have Bruno’s demeanor and attitudee, character and kindness and overall disposition. That was the key piece in getting this thing together. You will know him after this record.

Scott Reeder has filled in for Nick on part of the tour. Who will be at the Asheville show?

As of right now Nick is going to be doing this next US leg. Nick has some legal problems. Let’s not beat around the bush. Right now what Nick needs is the band’s support. That’s what we’re going to give him. It’s an interesting time and we’re going to get through it.

Review: Blink 182 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

Blink 182, who releases its first studio album in eight years September 27, played for an enthusiastic Charlotte crowd Tuesday - three years to the day after the Columbia, SC plane crash that killed drummer Travis Barker’s security guard and assistant and left the Blink drummer severely injured.

Bassist Mark Hoppus dedicated the new song “Ghosts on the Dancefloor” to Charles Still and Chris Baker late in the set. While its 2009 reunion tour centered joyously around Barker's return to the stage, Hoppus and guitarist Tom DeLonge (pictured above with Barker) were equally in the spotlight revealing new tunes and cutting up in typical Blink fashion.

Blink began with “Feeling This” and its new single “Up All Night” as animated rain fell on the “Neighborhoods” cityscape of the stage-size, screen-covered backdrop. “Rock Show” and “What’s My Age Again?” followed. The set list, with the exception of the new track, veered closely to its 2009 set at that point. Barker, who plays pop-punk with the improvisational skills of a jazz player, showed amazing stamina and creative beats that added to the overall set.

Blink's 2003 self-titled album was well represented with “Down,” “I Miss You” (complete with lasers), “Always,” and “Violence.” These served as the more lyrically serious and complex portion of the set along with “Stay Together for the Kids,” but Blink quickly bopped back into lighter fare with “First Date” and another track performed completely in the dark. After revealing more new songs, the bouncy set wound to a close with "Josie" (from its 1997 commercial breakthrough “Dude Ranch”), a brief booty shake-off between Matt & Kim’s Kim Shifino and Hoppus (she won), and the 1999 smash “All the Small Things.”

Of course the show wasn’t over. Barker didn’t unveil his Tommy Lee-rivaling drum rig (pictured) until the encore. He emerged, soloing along with “Give the Drummer Some” from his 2011 solo album on a giant metal arm that swung carefully over the crowd. It wasn’t quite as cool as his previous human turntable rig, but it brought fans down front closer to the action before the encore, which included “Dammit.”

The only downside (and it was a big one) was the muddy sound that plagued openers Matt & Kim and My Chemical Romance. Matt & Kim, a delightful Brooklyn-based dance-rock duo, delivered a fun set punctuated by bopping synthesizers and gleeful drumming. Both performed seated on a drum riser that would fit on the Milestone’s stage. Yet two screens projecting their animated expressions helped communicate the group’s personality to the audience.

With six musicians on stage, My Chemical Romance didn’t fare as well. I adore MCR, but the lack of clarity made it difficult to even review its set. I started off thinking during its opener, “Na Na Na,” that I’d like to see “The Fabulous Killjoys” of its latest album “Danger Days” brought to life on stage with production that reflected its theatrical sci-fi videos. As an opener its darkly lit set was fairly simple, but by the end I just wished I could distinguish the vocals through the mélange of instruments and noise. The band soldiered through arena-ready anthem after anthem - “I’m Not Okay,” “Planetary (Go!),” “Give ‘Em Hell Kid,” and “Helena.”

Songs like “Mama” benefited from quiet verses that highlighted Gerard Way’s vocals, which seem stronger than when MCR was here on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution Tour in 2007. “Teenagers” wasn’t half bad thanks to its easily shoutable chorus. “Welcome to the Black Parade” received the biggest reception from the crowd near the end of the set. By that time I was so distracted and disappointed that I didn’t realize whether or not they played their “Glee”-adopted hit “Sing” (I don’t think they did). Few twitterers mentioned the sound, nor do previous reviews, so I hope it was just an off night or was better from the lawn.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Beaver features rockabilly guitar whiz Tuesday

Thirsty Beaver Saloon (1225 Central Ave.) will open Tuesday for a special performance by revered rockabilly guitarist Deke Dickerson. The free show features Social Distortion bassist Brent Harding and Chris "Sugarballs" Sprauge of the band the 18 Wheelers rounding out the trio. Dickerson is known for impressively ripping through rockabilly, surf, western swing, and old time rock n' roll on double, sometimes triple, or even quadruple (pictured) neck guitars.

Though known for those astounding six and twelve string skills, he is also a subtle player choosing not-just-showy solos but fluttery fretwork that fits each song. He amply demonstrates this on his latest release, the soundtrack to 'The Wild Wonderful Whites of West Virginia" documentary (which isn't as wild as the film's subjects). Dickerson's past bands include the Untamed Youth, Go-Nuts, and his best known combo Deke & Dave.

Dickerson is also a producer, collector, and regular contributor to "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar" magazines. The concert is free. 8 p.m. For more information go here.

Q&A with Blink 182's Mark Hoppus

Blink 182, who play Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Tuesday, September 20, reunited after drummer Travis Barker was injured in a Columbia, SC plane crash that killed four (the crash occurred after Barker and DJ AM played Charlotte exactly three years ago today). Next week the group caps the reunion with the release of “Neighborhoods,” its first studio album in eight years. Bassist, co-vocalist and co-founder Mark Hoppus (center, pictured with band mates Barker and Tom DeLonge and members of My Chemical Romance) talked to The Observer Friday about the album, reunion, and tour. Blink co-headlines the annual Honda Civic Tour with My ChemicaL Romance and openers Matt & Kim 7 p.m. Tuesday, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 707 Pavilion Blvd. Tickets are $33-$84.50 and are available at

Does “Neighborhoods” pick up where you left off musically? It does, but it goes further. There’s elements of things we’ve done our entire career. There are songs that sound like they could’ve been on “Dude Ranch,” songs that sound like our side projects, everything we’ve done in our career.

Did it come together quickly given the long hiatus? When we starting working on the album immediately after the band reformed we were all still very polite together in the studio. We were still working hard to protect this spark that was Blink 182’s rebirth. When you’re in the studio together you have to be able to not be polite. You have to be respectful, but to say this idea works or maybe we change this. To do that we needed to go back out on the road.

How close to Travis’ accident did you know that you wanted to reform?

I think we all felt it pretty soon after we all started talking. At first we weren’t even thinking about the band. We were concerned about our friend and not having this heavy animosity between the three of us. After a couple weeks of that, the Blink thing became the giant elephant in the room. I think Tom (DeLonge) was the one that brought it up first. He put the idea out as a question. I said, “I think we should do it. I think we love what we do when we’re a band.” Everybody felt the same.

Was there a sense that you hadn’t finished what you started?

It wasn’t that so much as it was just this void. Blink was a giant part of our lives. To have it not be there, it was a huge hole.

Did you get that same sense from fans?

Yeah. It was such a huge compliment. When Blink reformed we hadn’t spoken to each other in five years and we went back on the road to what were some of the biggest shows of our lives.

Have you upped the production from last time?

For sure. This is hands down the best looking tour.

Travis turned his drumkit into a turntable last time. Do he and Tommy Lee have a rivalry going?

Oh for sure. I don’t know if it’s a spoken rivalry. They’re friends. There’s a little one-upsmanship.

What kind of topics are you tackling on “Neighborhoods”?

We’re talking about darker stuff, loss of friends, addiction, the world.

Does having children help you still connect to subjects that resonate with youth?

Probably unconsciously. I did write a song for my son that did not make the record that was about trying to stay positive in a crazy world. Having children influences my world view.

How did you choose tour mates My Chemical Romance and Matt & Kim?

My Chemical Romance is a perfect fit for this tour. They’re similar enough in genre to make sense, but different enough to keep the show fresh. Matt & Kim is my personal choice to be on the show. It’s kind of the joke on the tour they’re the happiest band on the planet. They’re smiles are so big when they step on stage. Even my friends that are padded up and listen to hardcore all the time love watching their set.

Friday, September 16, 2011

This week's hot concerts

Incubus/Young the Giant

7:30 p.m. Friday, September 16, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 707 Pavilion Blvd. $25-$62.35.

Outliving most of its late `90s peers, the 20-year-old rock group grows reflective, moody and dark, yet softer and still hopeful on its latest Top 2 disc “If Not Now, When?” It continues its trend of boasting buzzing openers with breakout indie rock act Young the Giant.

Devon Allman’s Honeytribe

9 p.m. Friday, September 16, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $10. 704-376-1446.

This second generation blues/jam-rock outfit doesn’t stray far from family tradition - he’s the son of Gregg Allman - yet veers seamlessly into funk, soul, and psychedelia on its latest album “Space Age Blues.”


8 p.m. Saturday, September 17, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $8-$12.

Hawkwind’s Alan Davey returns to the storied West Charlotte haunt, now as frontman for the hard hitting Motorhead-esque, trio that’s rounded out by Davey’s guitarist nephew and a 20-year-old female drummer.

Rock the Bells

9 p.m. Saturday, September 17, Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard St. $33.

Raekwon, who ripped through his and Wu-Tang Clan’s tracks at Amos’ in June, returns with Ghostface and Mobb Deep as part of the “club and theatre series” presented by the annual touring hip-hop festival.

Los Lonely Boys

8 p.m. Saturday, September 17, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $22-$25. 704-358-9298.

The Texican Latin blues rockers pay homage to mentors like Carlos Santana and Willie Nelson with the Latin-tinged roots rock of its latest album “Rockpango.”

Jessica Lea Mayfield

9 p.m. Sunday, September 18, Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. $10.

This diminutive singer-songwriter sings sleepy, sultry love songs like Lucinda Williams channeling Patsy Cline. Her crack band gives her dreamy folk-based melodies an aura of woozy psych-blues.

Blink 182/My Chemical Romance/Matt & Kim

7 p.m. Tuesday, September 20, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 707 Pavilion Blvd. $33-$84.50.

The headlining trio tops its reunion with the upcoming “Neighborhoods” (out September 27). While comic book heroe-like rockers MCR and the bouncingly sunny dance-rock duo M&K make for a solid bill.


8 p.m. Wednesday, September 21, Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard St. $33.

Mexico’s answer to the Beastie Boys makes its way back to Charlotte with its signature blend of Spanish language alternative rock and punk and beat-laden hip-hop.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Scavone launches new project, release with two shows this weekend

Charlotte-based singer-songwriter Jason Scavone, best known for his work with the Noises 10, makes his live Charlotte debut with his new group the Hot Gates this weekend. The Hot Gates play a cd release party for the debut album “Ride It Out” Friday, September 16, at Visulite (1615 Elizabeth Ave.) then turn around and play NC Music Factory’s Live Out Loud benefit Saturday, the 17th with Paper Tongues, S.O. Stereo, Carson, the Local Traumatic, My Epic and nine others.

Scavone (pictured above) enjoyed some success with the Noises 10. At one time the group regularly drew a few hundred locally. It worked with producer Eric Valentine (All-American Rejects, etc.) and was briefly signed with a couple of major labels. Sadly those big time connections didn’t amount to widespread acclaim or a major national release.

Luckily the experience didn’t completely sour Scavone, who deserves more large scale attention. I saw him open for Brandi Carlile as a solo artist a few years ago and was completely blown away by his voice in that raw, intimate setting (the video below is from that same tour. The song appears on a Valentine's Day Starbucks compilation called "I Got You Babe").

The Hot Gates filters the best of that solo experience and the Noises Ten’s pop-rock chops into something new.

The songs he’s written here are probably some of his most memorable. Maybe he carried lessons learned trying to craft pop songs with producers in L.A. into this project. But while Noises 10, a band that evolved from a piano-based canvas for Scavone to a formidable pop-rock unit, grew more sugary on its final album, “Ride It Out” balances sweetness with ample saltiness and bite.

At its heart rooted in pop and rock, “Ride It Out” is still fairly eclectic while remaining cohesive. There’s the sexiness of the infectious “Say Yes,” which shares the crisp bounciness of Neon Trees’ big hits. “The Ghost” is anchored in classic pop-rock in a Fleetwood Mac sort of way. The title track marries Ryan Adams-like Americana and the mid-tempo anthems of Oasis (Scavone does anthems well). “Whiplash” bounces along with a sort of `80’s style quirkiness. Think of pairing a Devo-ish chorus with swelling Ben Folds-like drive.

A lot of tracks take cues from classic rock and pop without sounding at all retro. Like fellow songwriter Ben Kweller, Scavone can pull off hard hitting power pop on songs such as "Ready or Not" just as well as the gentle, rootsy acoustic tracks like “Ma.”

The first time I listened to “Ride It Out” I didn’t realize it was Scavone. It was one of a number of downloaded files labeled by album title not band name. I mention this because I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about what it should sound like. Was it a garage rock act from Detroit (where Scavone worked on the record)? England’s next buzzing indie band? I mention this because the Hot Gates sounds like it could come from anywhere. The production is sharp and the writing and arrangements are fully realized. And I can easily imagine a name like “the Hot Gates” printed in small type toward the end of the list of the lineup on next year’s Coachella or Bonnaroo posters.

The Hot Gates play with Small Talk Industries and the Spiveys Friday at Visulite. 8 p.m. $10. Saturday's festival begins at 2 p.m. in the NC Music Factory's Fountain Atrium (935 N. Graham St.). $20.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Concert cancellations and postponements include DeBarge; Black Star

The Superstars of Soul Tour featuring El DeBarge and Rachelle Ferrell Friday, September 16, at Ovens Auditorium has been cancelled. The show was set to be DeBarge's first in Charlotte since cancelling his tour and heading back to rehab in February after a heralded 2010 comeback that included a buzzed-about performance on The BET Awards (pictured above) and two Grammy nominations for his single "Second Chance." DeBarge, 50, spent nearly two years in prison before launching his comeback last year.

The show will not be rescheduled.

Black Star's performance at The Fillmore has been postponed. Originally scheduled for September 29, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, will now appear November 4. This is part of the Rock the Bells Tour (not to be confused with this week's Rock the Bells show featuring Mobb Deep, Raekwon and Ghostface). Tickets for the September 29 show will be honored at the rescheduled date. Tickets are available at

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Free SHOUT! concert set for tonight

The eight annual Gospel SHOUT! concert takes place at United House of Prayer for All People (2321 Beatties Ford Rd.) tonight, September 13, at 7:30 p.m. The concert showcases the lively Southeastern Shout! tradition - an exuberant form of gospel marked by the booming trombones of high energy shout bands (featured above) and rich a capella singing. The yearly event is presented by the Levine Museum for the New South and Center City Partners. Admission is free following a soul food dinner at 6 p.m. at the House of Prayer cafeteria. Dinner is $10 and begins at 6 p.m.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Widespread announces New Year's Eve jam

If you missed Widespread Panic's annual summer trek to Charlotte, which has included back-to-back shows in recent years, the jam stalwarts help make up for it with a New Year's Eve show at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Tickets for the December 31st Blowout Bash go on sale Friday, September 16 at TWC Arena's box office, Ticketmaster outlets, and or by calling 1-800-745-3000. The show is part of Widespread's 25th anniversary tour which leads up to the band's upcoming hiatus. Aside from a few special dates in early 2012 the fall run will be its last for a while.

The group also taped a 25th anniversary concert during the 2011 SXSW Music Conference for "Austin City Limits." The hour special will air on PBS October 15.

This week's hot concerts

Apache Relay

10:30 p.m. Friday, Sepember 9, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $8-$10. 704-376-3737.

Nashville’s Southern Americana-rock outfit puts on intense live shows musically and theatrically reminiscent of the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons thanks in part to frontman Michael Ford, Jr. and bouncing, smiling guitarist Mike Harris.

Bruce Cockburn

8 p.m. Friday, September 9, McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St. $28.50-$36.50. 704-372-1000.

The acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter is best known for his thoughtful folk-rooted lyrics but exhibits his skills as an accomplished, if unsung, guitarist on his latest tour and album, “Small Source of Comfort.”

Elizabeth Cook

9 p.m. Friday, September 9, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $12-$14. 704-376-1446.

The sassy country songwriter behind the 2007 minor hit “Sometimes it Takes Balls To Be A Woman” exhibits equal amounts trademark sass and thought-provoking heart on her latest album “Welder.”

The Foreign Exchange

9 p.m. Saturday, September 10, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $20-$25. 704-358-9298.

Grammy nominated duo Phonte, of defunct Raleigh-based rap group Little Brother, and Dutch musician Nicolay create an accessible twist of electronica and R&B as if Seal met Portishead.


8 p.m. Sunday, September 11, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $14-$17.

After a 13 year break Michael Gira’s no wave hold out hit restart with a new album, which is well represented along with a couple unreleased tracks on its current tour.

TV on the Radio

7:30 p.m. Monday, September 12, Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard St. $47.

The critically acclaimed genre-splicing electro-funk-soul-rock act soldiers on after losing bassist Gerard Smith to lung cancer in April.

Beach Fossils

7 p.m. Monday, September 12, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $10-$12.

This Brooklyn quartet’s jangly guitars, lo-fi production, echoing vocals, and hint of Eastern feel create a sense of longing fit for a John Hughes’ soundtrack.

Robert Randolph & the Family Band

7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 15, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $20/$35 VIP. 704-358-9298.

Sacred steel’s best known ambassador and energetic live favorite who easily marries blues, rock, soul, and gospel, squeezes in club shows between his string of fall festival dates.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Plaza Midwood Community Radio holds fundraiser Friday

Plaza Midwood Community Radio will hold a fundraiser Friday, September 9, at The Milestone (3400 Tuckaseegee Rd.). The lineup includes some of its on-air hosts and artists you can hear in rotation. Much like PMCR's format, the benefit concert will stress the unpredictable and improvised with many of the musicians interacting on stage.

The lineup includes Human Pippi Armstrong, PMCR founder Jason Michel (pictured, of Super Ape, Bullship), Aswell (of Mr. Invisible), Andy Fenstermaker (aka the Door Bum), Bryan Olson (Cement Stars), Brent Bagwell (Great Architect), Jeff Rehnlund, Dave Bullard (Personnel), and Philip Fore.

Didn’t know Plaza Midwood had community run radio? The eclectic streaming online radio "station" features contributors from the Charlotte community including club DJs like Scott Weaver and George Brazil and musicians such as Andy the Door Bum and Michel. A list of its many shows, including online versions of familiar fixtures from the Charlotte music community like Find Your Muse, Off the Record, and Country Tuesdays, is here. Shows tend to focus on local, underground and avant garde.

The Milestone’s website states that Friday's concert is for “the adventurous listener. Strange one off improvisational collaborations anchored by freak out sets…topped off with a big bang finale sure to alter the structure of your brain.”

That loose, artsy structure seems to go along with Michel’s vision for PMCR.

“My vision for this is based completely on the community radio model. I hope for it to become a unique voice for the traditionally disenfranchised voices in our community with a focus on social activism and the arts. One stop spot for folks to experience the rich and often overlooked creative and diverse culture we have flourishing in the shadows of the banking towers,” he explains.

The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 and $7 at the door. If you can’t make the show you can check out online. It’s also available to stream on your iPad, iPhone, Android, and other devices.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jackson's Cirque show among recent upcoming concert announcements

Michael Jackson may be gone, but he's certainly not forgotten. The King of Pop will be immortalized by Cirque du Soliel with Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour. The tour is scheduled to stop at Time Warner Cable Arena March 13 and 14, 2012.

Presale tickets are currently on sale at with tickets going on sale to the public Monday, September 12. The concert tour is written and directed by Emmy winner Jamie King, who makes his Cirque debut with "Immortal." King (pictured above with John Branca, co-executor of Jackson's estate) worked with Jackson as a tour dancer early in his career. He has served as Madonna's creative director for the past 12 years. He's also fashioned concert tours for Rihanna, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, and The Spice Girls' reunion. For details on the tour click here.

"The Immortal" will debut in Montreal in October before a December residency at Vegas' Mandalay Bay.

LiveNation announced Tuesday that Ray Davies will perform at The Fillmore November 2. Tickets for the Kinks' frontman's rare NC performance go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

In other concert announcements, singer-songwriter Josh Ritter and bluegrass all star group Hot Rize were added to the calendar at Spirit Square this week. Hot Rize, which features Tim O'Brien, Bryan Sutton, Nick Forster, and Pete Wernick, plays McGlohon Theatre October 1. Ritter brings his solo acoustic tour to the uptown venue November 19. Tickets are available by calling 704-372-1000.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Anthrax headlines thrash bill at The Fillmore

Scott Ian's concert at The Fillmore with his all-star side project the Damned Things (featuring members of Anthrax, Fall Out Boy and Every Time I Die) may have been cancelled last month due to the threat posed by Hurricane Irene, but his long running full time band will play the Charlotte venue in November.

Anthrax announced upcoming tour dates with Testament and Death Angel Monday including November 5 at The Fillmore. This tour follows its Big Four shows with Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth. In a press release drummer Charlie Benante said: "With the incredible success of The Big Four shows over the last year, we wanted to tour with some of the 'second wave' of thrash bands."

Anthrax and Testament will co-headline shows beginning in October with Death Angel, who played Tremont's Casbah last winter, serving as direct support. Anthrax was actually the first band Testament toured with when it debuted over twenty years ago.

Anthrax and Death Angel will debut material from new albums. Anthrax's "Worship Music," its first studio album with singer Joey Belladonna since 1990's "Persistence of Time," is scheduled for release September 13. Eddie Trunk of VH1's "That Metal Show" has already ranked it the top metal album of 2011. Testament's next record is slated for summer 2012.

Fan club presale tickets go on sale today at Public sale starts Friday, September 9.

Little Brother's Phonte brings Foreign Exchange to Neighborhood Saturday

It seems like people are drawn to the kind of music they grew up with. I have friends that are still spinning the same Beastie Boys and Ministry records they were listening to in high school. I listened to a lot of `80s R&B growing up and I must admit I love it when I find current R&B that’s reminiscent of that era. I’m not talking a complete throwback, but there's something about that classic, not so self aware approach. Phonte, one of the members of Raleigh-based hip-hop trio Little Brother (who disbanded in 2010) and his musical partner Nicolay marry ideas from `80s R&B to modern electronica and hip-hop production in the Foreign Exchange, who plays Neighborhood Theatre Saturday, September 10.

The Grammy nominated duo (for the single "Daykeeper") met through the online Okayplayer community almost a decade ago. Nicolay was still living in his native Holland. They released their first album together before ever actually meeting in person. Its success allowed Nicolay to relocate to Wilmington and the duo released two more albums including last October’s “Authenticity.”

"Authenticity" is what I imagine a Seal/Portishead collaboration would sound like. Some tracks are much darker and more electronic than others. I think of the title track and “The Last Fall” that close the album, in particular. The videos for those tracks are also sort of slightly racy mini movies with messages, a practice that was common in the `80s. Another aspect I like is that it's electronic-based music, but it has a lot of soul. I think the more traditional R&B elements come through the vocals and phrasing. Guest vocalists include Yahzarah (a former backup singer for Erykah Badu), who sets the tone for the record on the first track, Darien Brockington, Jesse Boykins III, Median, and Chantae Cann.

Phonte also has a new solo album set for release September 27. It's titled "Charity Starts at Home" and you can check out the first the single at

Saturday's concert begins at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25. 704-358-9298;

Friday, September 2, 2011

This week's hot concerts

Ben Sollee

8 p.m. Friday, September 2, McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College. St. $15-$18. 704-372-1000.

The folk-pop cellist was the go-to guest at this year’s Bonnaroo (with Nicole Atkins, Justin Townes Earle, etc.), but on his own he’s a soulful vocalist with dark, sometimes jazzy, orchestral songs. With Cheyenne Marie Mize, who also appears solo at Evening Muse Tuesday.

L.A. Guns

8 p.m. Friday, September 2, Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. $14-$17.

There are two versions of the twenty-plus-year-old Hollywood glam rock act. This one features vocalist Phil Lewis, who sang on hits like “The Ballad of Jayne” and “Never Enough,” with guitarist Stacey Blades.


7 p.m. Saturday, September 3, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $7-$9.

This Charlotte band, who have a fierce following in Japan, continue to grow 12 years into its existence making ambitious, layered, hook-filled recordings. It celebrates the release of its latest – the grand/gothic, melodic/metallic hardcore of “I Am Alien.”

Steep Canyon Rangers

4 p.m. Sunday, September 4, US Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway. Free.

The Western Carolina newgrass act has gained international notoriety backing actor/musician Steve Martin’s Grammy winning foray into bluegrass. The group is back home to celebrate labor day with Donna Hughes and Town Mountain. Fireworks at dusk.

The Cute Lepers/Something Fierce

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 6, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $7-$9.

The headliner is a throwback to `77 punk with snappy melodies and harmonies that reference Motown, power pop, and garage rock, while its tour mates veer closer to Yo La Tengo-like punk-rooted indie-rock. Biggy Stardust & His Wretched Hive and Kid Anthem also perform.

Manu Chao

8 p.m. Wednesday, September 7, Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard St. $33.

The multi-lingual Rock en Espanol vet is a one man world music bridge mixing styles and singing in French, Spanish, Italian, English, and other languages. He makes a rare stateside appearance.

The Weepies

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 7, McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St. $22.50-$27.50. 704-372-1000.

A favorite of singers like Mandy Moore and of movie and TV producers who frequently use its songs on film, this married folk-pop duo takes a break from readying its next album for an acoustic tour.

The Biters, AM/FMs, and Chelsea Daggers

8 p.m. Thursday, September 8, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $8-$10.

This Atlanta punk outfit stops on its way to play with D Generation in New York. The lineup includes AM/FMs (who sound like Jesus & Mary Chain if they were an NYC `70s garage act) and Chelsea Doggers’ refreshingly weird mix of organ-driven stoner rock and reverb dripping goth-blues vocals.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Scapegoat celebrates latest cd release Saturday

Charlotte’s Scapegoat celebrates the release of its latest full-length album, "I Am Alien," Saturday, September 3, with a cd release party at Tremont Music Hall (400 W. Tremont Ave.), the same venue where it first began playing live almost 12 years ago before its members were even old enough to drive. In the years since, Scapegoat has developed into a formidable hard rock act drawing hundreds locally and touring Japan, home to its label (Zestone).

Having heard them grow up I’ve come to expect each album to be a little bigger and more sonically advanced than the last (especially in the arrangements and production). Three years ago its last album, “Zombie Dog” was a big step forward in commercial accessibility and production value and "I Am Alien,” follows suit. Production-wise it’s clean and meticulously layered in the same way that major label releases recorded in expensive studios are. There are subtle musical flourishes beneath the surface that your average listener wouldn’t necessarily notice, but those details build up the songs and add to the grand theatrical quality that threads through the record. What’s more, this isn’t the result of a big name producer or a fancy studio, Scapegoat recorded and produced it in its own studio. I am increasingly impressed by vocalist Kit Walters’ studio skills and the care he's put into Scapegoat's and its friend Sugarglyder’s records. I imagine he could have a great career as a producer and mixer.

Musically “I Am Alien” hits hard with both heaviness and hooks. It’s a blend of metal (great Iron Maiden-like twin guitar harmonies, thundering double bass), hardcore (bounding stop/start riffs, dynamic vocals that jump from a whisper to a scream) with a dark goth feel and memorable pop hooks. Some tracks, “Transylvania Castlevania” for instance, remind me of pre-“Black Parade” My Chemical Romance where hardcore punk blasts speed into groove-based choruses that are downright danceable. “White Horse Crash Course” and “Spellbound” are a bit softer – a pair marked by fantastical romantic lyrics and intricate guitar work. The latter closes with big group “ohoohoohoohs” that should serve crowd participation well. "Black Bird Medicine” reminds me of early Biohazard with its take on funk-metal and riot shout-style backing vocals.

It’s this balance of melodic hardcore, metallic guitars, which always seem to be doing something flowery and interesting, attacking drums, groovier pop-leaning hooks, complicated arrangements, and those quieter, emotional lyrical moments that give the listener a lot to absorb. If “I Am Alien” was a cross country car trip it would be one peppered with landmarks and busy cityscapes, passing crazy accidents, abrupt weather changes, and colorful characters along the way. While I loved the futuristic, stylized "Zombie Dog," I think this may be my favorite Scapegoat record. It's made me think about what will make my favorite local releases come 2011 come December.

The “I Am Alien” release party includes performances by Wretched and the Local Traumatic. Music begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7-$9. 704-343-9494;