Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chuck Brown's annual CIAA gig cancelled

The Chuck Brown concert scheduled for Amos' Southend Friday, March 2, has been cancelled. According to the club Brown has been hospitalized with an undisclosed illness. The Godfather of Go-Go music, which he describes as funk mixed with African and Latin percussion, has become a fixture during CIAA and was expected to sell out Amos' again. Refunds will be given at the point of purchase.

Brown was honored recently by the National Symphony Orchestra's "Legends of Washington" Labor Day concert alongside fellow D.C. music legends Duke Ellington and John Philip Sousa. Brown received his first Grammy nomination in 2010 after a career that has spanned four decades. The 75-year-old musician was born in Gaston, North Carolina. His biggest hit is 1979's "Bustin' Loose."

Concert season heating up with more recent show announcements

With recent announcements that Madonna (whose tickets go on sale this weekend) and Iron Maiden would be coming to the Queen's City for the first time in - at least one case - ever, the rest of the concert season seems to be shaping up bringing in artists who have either never played here or haven't in quite a while. These include two of my all-time favorites.

Swedish dance pop sensation Robyn, who finally began to make mainstream waves in the US in 2011 with an appearance at Bonnaroo, "Saturday Night Live" (pictured on the NBC show in December above) and opening Katy Perry's US Tour, announced on Twitter that she'll be opening for Coldplay on some of its US tour dates including Charlotte.

After an April 2008 show at McGlohon Theatre with his wife Allison Moorer and a DJ that brought me and at least a few other audience members to tears, folk-rock singer-songwriter Steve Earle (pictured) returns to The Neighborhood Theatre May 2 with his band the Dukes (and Duchesses). The show will also feature Moorer, whose voice is truly something to behold live.

Neighborhood Theatre continues booking cutting edge electronic acts with Beats Antique May 5.

Rising, critically-acclaimed soul throwback Mayer Hawthorne, whose show last September at Amos' was cancelled, makes his first Charlotte appearance with his band the County May 12 at Neighborhood Theatre.

Chris Thomas King, the blues musician featured in the Coen Brothers' "O'Brother, Where Art Thou?" plays Evening Muse March 23.

Charlotte-based Christian rock musician John Mark McMillian plays a hometown show at McGlohon Theatre with Songs of Water March 24. David Wilcox plays McGlohon April 14.

John Wesley Harding makes a rare Charlotte appearance March 31 at the Double Door. Funk/soul/rock singer-songwriter Van Hunt (pictured below) returns to the Double Door April 5 (his fall show there was one of my favorites of last year). Leftover Salmon plays the legendary Charlotte blues spot April 18.

The Visulite previously announced Joan Osborne will appear there April 10 and teen "Gossip Girl" actress  Taylor Momsen brings her band the Pretty Reckless to the Elizabeth Avenue venue with Parlor Mob April 19. Casey Weston, from NBC's "The Voice" will appear at the club April 21.

Spindrift, an indie band that creates cinematic psychedelic music fit to score old westerns, returns to Tremont Music Hall May 6. Powerman 5000 celebrates its 20th anniversary at Tremont October 3.

As for larger venues Tyrese and Chrisette Michelle play Ovens Auditorium March 24. Candlebox will play The Fillmore April 13. Seether is there April 17. Grammy winning jazz artist Esperanza Spalding returns to Knight Theatre May 10. LMFAO brings the party to Bojangles' Coliseum June 19 and boy band Big Time Rush headlines Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre August 29.

There's plenty more going on in Charlotte. These were just some of the recent concert announcements that caught my eye. Check venue websites for updates show listings.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

LMFAO to headline Bojangles' Coliseum

LMFAO will headline the Sorry For Party Rocking Tour presented by RedFoo and CherryTree June 19 at Bojangles' Coliseum. The lineup includes the Party Rock Crew led by LMFAO's RedFoo and SkyBlu (who are actually the son and grandson of Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr.), and support acts Far East Movement, the Quest Crew (from the third seasons of the MTV series "America's Best Dance Crew"), Sidney Samson, Eva Simons, and Natalia Kills. Expect on stage collaborations considering some of the artists connections to and previous work with LMFAO. 

LMFAO have gone from headlining the much smaller Fillmore and opening for friends the Black Eyed Peas on that group's last trip to Charlotte. The duo, whose music was prominently featured in the Kia Soul dancing hamsters commercial, recently appeared with Madonna during the Super Bowl XLVI Bridgestone Halftime show. 

Tickets for the June 19 show go on sale Friday, March 2 at 10 a.m. at the Coliseum box office, and as well as at 1-800-745-3000. Presale opens to Citi Cardmembers Wednesday, February 29 at 10 a.m. through the the credit card company's Private Pass program. For more presale information go to

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This week's hot concerts

Minus the Bear
7 p.m. Friday, February 24, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $20-$22.
After a 10 year anniversary tour in 2011, MIB takes a break from recording its fifth album for a quick run through the South. With Tristen and Harvard.

Cody Canada & the Departed
8 p.m. Friday, February 24, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $18/$33 VIP. 704-358-9298.
The former Cross Canadian Ragweed leader follows similar rocking Americana territory as his old band, but explores his Okie roots on the band’s debut “This Is Indian Land” by covering some of red dirt country’s lesser known songs.

Kevn Kinney
9 p.m. Friday, February 24, The Saloon, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $10.
The Drivin’ n’ Cryin frontman, who explored his country side on his latest collaboration with the Golden Palominos (“Good Country Mile”), is joined by an all-star band featuring Audley Freed, Tim Nielsen, and Anton Fier, some of whom he’s shared the stage with at Warren Haynes’ annual Xmas Jams in Asheville.

Ryan Montbleau Band
10 p.m. Friday, February 24, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $10-$12. 704-376-1446.
After working on Trombone Shorty’s breakthrough records this bluesy classic soul throwback recruited New Orleans vets George Porter (the Meters), Anders Osborne, Ivan Neville, and producer Ben Ellman (of Galactic) for his upcoming disc “For Higher” (which is scheduled for May).

Antiseen/Belmont Playboys
8 p.m. Saturday, February 25, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $10.
Two Charlotte institutions reunite on stage for the first time in over a decade following the vinyl record convention taking place during the day, which will still be open during part of the concert.

10 p.m. Saturday, February 25, Phoenix, 300 N. College St. $10/Free to Human Rights Campaign attendees.
The rising New York electro hip-hop artist has clocked millions of YouTube hits for humorous dance tracks like “Ice Cream Truck,” “I Seen Beyonce at Burger King” and his dirty duet with Peaches. His performance is part of the Human Rights Campaign after party.

Flogging Molly/Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
7:30 p.m. Sunday, February 26, Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $33.
Irish transplant/band leader Dave King tackles hard times in a bleak economy with heart and gusto after living in Detroit with his band mate wife, creating some of his band’s best work on “Speed of Darkness.” Lewis leads a crack garage soul throwback. With the Devil Makes Three.

The Boxing Lesson
8 p.m. Sunday, February 26, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $7-$9.
This Austin band, who won a spot on 2012’s South By Southwest, write catchy, dark indie-rock songs packaged inside psychedelic sonic frames.

South 85
8 p.m. Thursday, March 1, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $10. 704-358-9200.
Like Miranda Lambert, this Charlotte area-based country-rock outfit balances stellar songwriting and personality on stage with sexiness and sass that should take them places.

The Violet Lights
8 p.m. Thursday, March 1, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $6-$9.
This garage rock duo blends meaty guitars, pop hooks, and dual vocals, but packs more similarities to Scottish acts like the Fratellis and Franz Ferdinand than its L.A. peers.

North Mississippi Allstars/Lightnin’ Malcolm
8 p.m. Thursday, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $20/$35 VIP. 704-358-9298.
The Dickinson brothers, whose 2011 album “Keys to the Kingdom” paid tribute to their recently deceased Memphis music legend Jim, are back (after opening for Robert Plant last February) with guitarist Lightnin’ Malcolm who was equally influenced by the hill country blues they grew up with. 

Angwish celebrates cd release Saturday

Charlotte rock trio Angwish celebrates the release of its new album "Rock n' Roll Destroyed My Life" Saturday, February 25, at The Milestone. The cd release party marks the band's final show with longtime bassist/backing vocalist Rachael Malmberg Harper and its final headlining show before founder Bryan Bielanski and his cousin/new drummer Mike Smith set off on a nomadic national six month tour.

"Rock n' Roll Destroyed My Life" was recorded live in the studio in one take to help capture the heavier aspect that comes through in the band's live shows. Over the course of its last few albums Angwish has reminded me of everything from the Pixies (thanks to the great vocal interplay) to Cake to NOFX. It never sounded like any one influence in particular, but a mesh of two decades of alternative rock. "Rock n' Roll Destroyed My Life" is its most singular record. From the start it recalls the messy, driving punk of the Sex Pistols and the sludgy, angst-ridden grunge of early Nirvana (Angwish will also appear at The Milestone's March 3 Nirvana tribute show).

Although Nirvana had a huge impact on popular music in the `90s and helped usher in the mainstreaming of punk, aside from the bands that immediately came after it, I don't hear its influence that often. Angwish has long paid subtle tribute to the grungefathers, but this new album recalls "Bleach" era Nirvana and early singles like "Sliver" (which appeared on its "Incesticide" b-sides and rarities disc).There are shades of grungy stoner rock amid the thick riffs, which are the heaviest thing I remember hearing Angwish do. But even at its heaviest there are hooks and melodies anchoring the songs.

Malmberg's counterpoint was always one of my favorite parts of Angwish's songs because her quiet, understated vocals reminded me of Kim Deal. She didn't do as much of that this time because she knew she'd be leaving the band to focus on her photography business (www.chickswithcameras), but her mark is there on "Medicated Mommy." That track, which finds Bielanski talk-singing like a punk bluesman during the verses, combines a playful Weezer-like intro with Nirvanaesque dynamics, fuzzy bass, and a group chorus. The political "Super Power" is another fun standout with isolated drums and vocals alternating with an exploding guitar hook.

Saturday's concert starts at 8 p.m. and features 25 Minutes to Go, Dirt Worshipper, and Sister Fister. Tickets are $6 to $9.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Scott Avett's visual art is focus of fundraiser Friday, exhibit Saturday

Although Scott Avett is best known for his music with the Avett Brothers, he's also an accomplished visual artist. Fans are familiar with his artwork from the album covers, backdrops, and collectible concert posters that he's designed. Avett (pictured above, credit Crackerfarm), who studied painting and printmaking at East Carolina University. will appear at a fundraiser for The Educational Center Friday, February 24, in South Park to discuss his visual art and spiritual journey from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $100. The event is nearly sold out, but his figurative paintings will be on display to the public Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 523 Governor Morrison St. in the Morrison Condominiums building at South Park (the same location as Friday's event). Admission is free and original paintings and commemorative limited edition posters will be for sale.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from Friday's event benefit The Educational Center, a Charlotte-based non-profit that creates resources and opportunities for people of all ages and faith backgrounds seeking spiritual growth and enrichment. For more on Avett's visual art go to or

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dave Grohl releases follow-up "clarification" of Grammy speech

A lot of us applauded Dave Grohl's Grammy acceptance speech Sunday, which singled out the Autotuning of America (and the rest of the world), but some viewers and fellow musicians weren't so happy. So the Foo Fighters' (pictured) released a letter Grohl drafted  further explaining his position and his appreciation for electronic music. See below:

Oh, what a night we had last Sunday at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. The glitz! The Glamour! SEACREST! Where do I begin?? Chillin' with Lil' Wayne...meeting Cyndi Lauper's adorable mother...the complimentary blinking Coldplay bracelet.....much too much to recap. It's really is still a bit of a blur. But, if there's one thing that I remember VERY clearly, it was accepting the Grammy for Best Rock Performance...and then saying this:

"To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what's important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that's the most important thing for people to do... It's not about being perfect, it's not about sounding absolutely correct, it's not about what goes on in a computer. It's about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head]."

       Not the Gettysburg Address, but hey......I'm a drummer, remember?

      Well, me and my big mouth. Never has a 33 second acceptance rant evoked such caps-lock postboard rage as my lil' ode to analog recording has. OK....maybe Kanye has me on this one, but....Imma let you finish....just wanted to clarify something...

      I love music. I love ALL kinds of music. From Kyuss to Kraftwerk, Pinetop Perkins to Prodigy, Dead Kennedys to Deadmau5.....I love music. Electronic or acoustic, it doesn't matter to me. The simple act of creating music is a beautiful gift that ALL human beings are blessed with. And the diversity of one musician's personality to the next is what makes music so exciting and.....human. 

      That's exactly what I was referring to. The "human element". That thing that happens when a song speeds up slightly, or a vocal goes a little sharp. That thing that makes people sound like PEOPLE. Somewhere along the line those things became "bad" things, and with the great advances in digital recording technology over the years they became easily "fixed". The end result? I my humble opinion.....a lot of music that sounds perfect, but lacks personality. The one thing that makes music so exciting in the first place.

     And, unfortunately,  some of these great advances have taken the focus off of the actual craft of performance. Look, I am not Yngwie Malmsteen. I am not John Bonham. Hell...I'm not even Josh Groban, for that matter. But I try really ******* hard so that I don't have to rely on anything but my hands and my heart to play a song. I do the best that I possibly can within my limitations, and accept that it sounds like me. Because that's what I think is most important. It should be real, right? Everybody wants something real.

     I don't know how to do what Skrillex does (though I ******* love it) but I do know that the reason he is so loved is because he sounds like Skrillex, and that's bad***. We have a different process and a different set of tools, but the "craft" is equally as important, I'm sure. I mean.....if it were that easy, anyone could do it, right? (See what I did there?)

    So, don't give me two Crown Royals and then ask me to make a speech at your wedding, because I might just bust into the advantages of recording to 2 inch tape. 

      Now, I think I have to go scream at some kids to get off my lawn. 

      Stay frosty.     


This week's hot concerts

Shovels & Rope/Old Milwaukee/Sinners & Saints
10 p.m. Friday, February 17, Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. $5.704-333=9799.
The hard touring harmony-driven Charleston duo has created buzz with its downhome modern twist on vintage folk. Charlotte’s Old Milwaukee hovers between Americana and classic Wilco-like rock, while the likeminded Sinners & Saints feature songwriter Perry Fowler.

8 p.m. Saturday, February 18, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $7-$9.
It’s a night of experimental instrumentals as Between the Buried and Me’s Dan Briggs joins Hectagons, Great Architect, and the Farewell Monument on a bill where jazz, metal, jam and math rock canoodle and collide.

David Mayfield Parade
10:30 p.m. Saturday, February 18, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $12-$14. 704-376-3737.
If you’re a fan of Americana there’s no one I recommend seeing live more currently than the DMP. Mayfield is charismatic, funny, and surrounds himself with stellar players. 

8 p.m. Sunday, February 19, Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $33.
Probably best known in the mainstream for acoustic-rock leaning hits like “Love Song” and its cover of “Signs,” the veteran hard rock bands takes that approach on its Twisted Wires Acoustic Tour.

Brody & Choch, Soul Khan, and Shinobi Ninja

7 p.m. Thursday, Febaruary 23, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $7-$10. 704-358-9298.
New York's Soul Khan and North Carolina's Brody & Choch come together with thought provoking, storytelling hip-hop that's also capable of rocking a party. While Shinobi Ninja lean harder on party starting by bridging hard rock, rap, and sunny pop.

The Ghost Wolves
10:30 p.m. Thursday, February 23, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $10-$12. 704-376-3737.
With a great name (for the animal that tours with them), great look, and vintage hinged blues songs that recall a punky mashup of great couple duos like Johnny and June with the distorted guitar rock of Royal Trux or the White Stripes. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dave Matthews Band back at Verizon

The Dave Matthews Band returns to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on May 23 during its first North American tour since 2010. Special guest the Head and the Heart will open the show. Online presale for members of Matthews' Warehouse Fan Association begins Thursday, February 16 at 10 a.m. Citi Cardmembers will have access to presale tickets March 5 through the credit card company's Private Pass program. Tickets will go on sale to the public March 9 at 10 a.m. at,, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre box office, and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Dave Matthews Band recently reunited with Steve Lillywhite who produced "Under the Table and Dreaming," "Crash," and "Before These Crowded Streets" to work on its upcoming album, which is set for release later this year.

Iron Maiden to kick off US tour in Charlotte

Heavy metal stalwart Iron Maiden opens the US leg of its Maiden England World Tour Thursday, June 21 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. The production and content of the Maiden England World Tour will closely resemble the 1988 concert video of the same name, which was filmed during its "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" World Tour. Fellow metal veteran Alice Cooper will serve as special guest on the first month of the tour with Coheed and Cambria taking over opening duties July 21.

Frontman Bruce Dickinson said the plan is to play about two thirds of the original Maiden England set list, including some tracks the group has not tackled live in several years. The video's original track listing includes "Moonchild," "The Evil That Men Do," "The Prisoner," "Still Life," "Die With Your Boots On," "Infinite Dreams," "Killers," "Can I Play with Madness," "Heaven Can Wait," "Wasted Years," "The Clairvoyant," "Seventh Son of A Seventh Son," "The Number of the Beast," and "Hallowed be thy Name." (I for one hope to hear the campy classic "Bring Your Daughter,,,To the Slaughter," which appeared on 1990's "No Prayer for the Dying.")

Tour routing brings the group to many US cities, like Charlotte, Indianapolis, and Salt Lake City, where it hasn't performed in years. My husband and I were actually just talking about the slim possibility that Maiden would ever play here. We have a friend that travels to see them in D.C. whenever they book US dates. The band's website states that a few more US dates may be added with the tour hitting the rest of the world in 2013.

Pre-sale tickets will be offered to Fan Club members, but on sale dates have not yet been announced. Check for the latest tour news.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Charlotte's Treasure Fest announces initial lineup

The second annual Treasure Fest, a two-day festival featuring independent and underground local and national artists at multiple Plaza-Midwood venues May 18 and 19, announced its partial lineup this week. Acts include Algernon Cadwallader, Leather, and Restorations from Pennsylvania, Georgia's Emotron and Wymyns Prysyn (who gets my vote for best band name), New Jersey's Black Wine, Rhode Island's Roz Raskin & the Rice Cakes (pictured bottom), Richmond's Worn in Red and Sundials, and Napalm Raid from Nova Scotia. The list of North Carolina-based artists include Charlotte's Young and In the Way, Andy the Door Bum, One Another, No Power, Junior Astronomers, Old Milwaukee (pictured top) and Pullman Strike as well as Raleigh bands Red Collar and Double Negative, Wilmington's No Tomorrow, Boone's Naked Gods, and Museum Mouth from Southport. More acts are being booked and organizers estimate the final number will include 50 performers.

The eclectic bill covers metal, punk, hardcore, indie-rock, Americana and and acoustic music. Venues include Snug Harbor, The Thirsty Beaver, Studio 1212, Lunchbox Records, and Common Market, which are all within walking distance of one another. A $25 ticket covers admission to all venues for both nights. Email for ticket and sponsorship information and keep up to date on lineup announcements at, and

Our first trip to the symphony

Last Friday my husband and I attended the symphony for the first time. I’m not a complete stranger to orchestral music. I was in concert band (where I was a middling flautist).  I’ve been to other Charlotte Symphony Pops shows where the orchestra backs well known pop, country, or R&B artists (which allowed me to live the childhood dream of seeing the Pointer Sisters live, by the way), but I’d never been to an actual symphony performance without the added element of film and video (like last year's Video Games Live! tour) or a star vocalist. 

This was the CSO’s John Williams’ Spectacular, a Pops show featuring the music of the film score composer whose work with Steven Spielberg has placed many of his compositions in the pop culture canon. The music of “Star Wars,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Jaws” are as familiar as Christmas carols to most of us. My husband is also a film music buff (I think his all time favorite is Hans Zimmer’s work from “The Thin Red Line”), so I really wanted him to be able to hear this music performed live. As we strolled across the bridge over Tryon on the way to the car afterward he said, “Seeing it live is different from hearing a recorded version of it. It’s like seeing campfires on TV your whole life, then one day actually sitting beside one.”

That pretty much sums up our experience. It was just really wonderful. Without the aid of visuals your mind is left to wander. It was quite a nostalgic night for me. I recalled clutching my E.T. necklace and sobbing in the theater as a 7-year-old as the music spurred memories of Eliott’s bicycle climbing through the night sky. The violin solo from "Schindler's List" by Caroline Campbell (who declined an offer to appear on the Grammys last weekend to be there) sent me back to the theater watching that film my senior year. Fancying ourselves Oscar buffs two friends and I actually skipped school and drove 45 minutes to the sprawling metropolis of Charleston, WV to see it the first week it played there. I still consider it one of the most important movies of my teenage years. The heartbreaking little girl in the red coat scene came to mind during Campbell's aching second solo. There were times I got goose bumps.

Campbell was a treat to watch. She didn’t just play the songs, she moved with them, jerking her head as she clipped a note or literally arching and bending with the bend of a note. She was also quite striking in an elegant sequined blue gown.

Conductor Jacomo Rafael Bairos (pictured above) brings so much to his role as well. I interviewed him for another publication last summer and was taken with his charm, charisma, and passion for his work. Those qualities come out on stage as well. He morphed with the music during the “Star Wars” finale - which I knew he was excited about as a fan of the films and because some of the pieces he included (“Asteroid Field” particularly) were being performed by a non-Williams sanctioned orchestra for the first time. You could see Darth Vader’s stance in his movements and watch his enthusiasm as his lead became somewhat of a dance, punching the air with his baton.

The other thing I enjoyed was finding the instruments we heard on stage. Is that an oboe? Is that a French horn? Your eyes would dart to the section to see if you were correct in your assumption. I wanted to cheer whenever a lesser used, unsung so to speak, instrument would take the lead. I realize the symphony is not a rock show, but it could benefit occasionally from some of the spontaneous reactions of other big events. On the inside I was holding up a sign declaring my fandom for “WOODBLOCKS!” like I would at a wrestling match when that underused percussion pearl clomped in toward the end of the show.  

The two and a half hour performance flew by. I do wish there were more young people there, especially given the nature of this particular performance highlighting songs many children, teens, and young adults already know. I certainly never had something like this growing up (heck, I drove an hour to watch “Schindler”). The community is lucky to have the symphony, the Oratorio Singers (who added vocal oomph to selections from the later “Star Wars” films), and a vast number of arts options.

I’m already anxious to go again. Next up? Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana!” next Friday and Saturday, February 24 and 25, during the symphony’s KnightSounds 2 series. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

This week's hot concerts

Sunshone Still/Jason Hausman & the Shallow Sea
8 p.m. Friday, February 10, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. Sold Out. 704-376-3737.
Jason Hausman returns as band leader after a seven year hiatus to help celebrate the release of Sunshone Still’s new record (he’s also a member of that band), which centers around the 2010 death of chief songwriter Chris Smith’s brother and features Charlotte’s Rodney Lanier who died in December.

Lucky Five/Groove 8/the O-Getters
8 p.m. Friday, February 10, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $8-$11. 704-343-9494.
Two generations of local funk/rock/jazz combos join forces for a night high on laid back grooves, soul, and a contagious joy that seems to emanate from the stage when they play.

20th Annual Johnson Valentine’s Bash
9:30 p.m. Saturday, February 11, Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. $7.
Third generation Charlotte musicians Wes and Chris Johnson hold their 20th fundraiser for RAIN (Regional AIDS Interfaith Network), which started as a house party. Their band Hardcore Lounge headlines with the Monterreys, Alex Kastanas, and DJs Starseed and Spaceboy.

Marc Broussard/Sugar & the Hi Lows
8 p.m. Saturday, February 11, Neighborhood Theatre 511 E. 36th St. $20. 704-358-9298.
The second generation Louisiana musician brings his bayou version of R&B with his “La Route au Mardi Gras” tour. New duo Trent Dabbs and Amy Stroup (both singer-songwriters and members of Ten Out of Tenn) open with their fun retro rock n’ roll project.

Robert Cray
6 p.m. Sunday, February 12, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $30. 704-358-9298.
The multiple Grammy winner returns with his simultaneously gruff and soulful vocals and signature mix of blues, rock, and R&B guitar. Spartanburg’s Shane Pruitt Band opens the show. 

Plain Jane Automobile/IAMDYNAMITE
8 p.m. Thursday, February 16, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $8-$10.
After opening for Blue October last fall these two rising alt-rock powerhouses - the former drawing comparisons to a young U2; the latter capturing the unpredictable bent of early Weezer - share a more intimate stage. 

Carolina Rebellion festival announces lineup, move

The second annual Carolina Rebellion hard rock festival, which will be held at Rockingham Speedway in Rockingham, NC May 5, announced its lineup today. Headliners include Shinedown, Korn (pictured), Evanescence, Staind, Five Finger Death Punch, Chevelle, and Slash. Volbeat, Halestorm, P.O.D., Adelita's Way, Paper Tongues, Weaving the Fate, Redlight King, Red, New Medicine, and Ghost of August round out the bill.

The event begins Friday, May 4, with a Campground Party featuring Foxy Shazam, Lez Zeppelin (a female Led Zeppelin tribute), and One...The Only (a Metallica tribute). The festival, which is billed as a destination event within driving distance of Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Columbia, also includes an RV and tent camping option. Camping packages include tickets to the Campground Party on Friday. Campers can arrive at 10 a.m. Friday and stay until noon Sunday.

Pre-sale tickets go on sale Wednesday, February 15 at 10 a.m. For access to those sign up on the Carolina Rebellion Facebook page or at A number of early bird tickets will be available for $59.50 plus fees. Public ticket sale start Friday, February 17 at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available at Ticketmaster outlets or online at or

Tickets for last summer's inaugural Carolina Rebellion sold out well in advance. Organizers reported over 30,000 attendees.

Lady Antebellum sets Carolina dates

Country trio Lady Antebellum will play Charlotte and Raleigh during the summer leg of its 2012 Own the Night World Tour. Charlotte's show is set for Saturday, June 9 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, a day after the band's concert at Raleigh's Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion June 8. Former Hootie & the Blowfish vocalist-turned-country star, Darius Rucker, and husband and wife duo Thompson Square will open the show.

Tickets go on sale Friday, February 17 at 10 a.m. Those can be purchased at,, by calling 1-800-745-3000 and at the venue box office.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recent club concert announcements

Madonna isn't the only artist to announce a Charlotte date this week. Clubs are filling up their Spring concert calendars. Among the recent announcements is rapper/actor Common performing at Lux (200 E. Bland St.) March 2 during the busy CIAA entertainment schedule. Rick Ross, who is headlining Bojangles' Coliseum March 2, will host the Maybach Music Takeover CI Grand Finale at Lux on March 3.

Amos' Southend celebrates its 21st anniversary with Cage the Elephant April 13. The Southend venue also recently announced Nantucket on March 24, Yelawolf April 19, and the Melvins and Unsane April 26.

The North Mississippi Allstars headline Neighborhood Theatre March 1. Buckethead and That 1 Guy return to the NoDa venue as the Frankenstein Brothers March 23. The English Beat is back there as well on March 24. Up and comers We Were Promised Jetpacks and Trampled By Turtles are there April 6 and 25, respectively. The Neighborhood continues its foray into booking interesting hip electronic dance acts with Beats Antique May 5.

In addition to Tremont's exciting upcoming Minus the Bear, Lights, and David Choi shows, rapper Tech N9ne returns to the venue June 21.

Recent additions to Visulite's calendar include South 85 March 1, Apache Relay and Moon Taxi March 2, the Love Language March 9, and Martin Sexton March 17. Joan Osborne and the Pat McGee Band will also be back April 10 and 13, respectively.

Music isn't the only game in town though. The Comedy Zone's calendar includes former "Saturday Night Live" and "The Middle" cast member Chris Kattan April 18-21.

Local songwriter/composer returns to solo stage after a seven year break

Eight or nine years ago singer-songwriter/composer Jason Hausman occasionally played the coffee shop/gallery where I worked during gallery crawls. These must have been some of his last shows because we closed that store - The Queen's Beans on Camden Road in South End - in September 2005. His last solo performance was January 2005. The flyer hangs in the entryway of Hot Sake, the commercial music writing business he owns and operates, coincidentally in the same location of the former Clay on Camden gallery (which connected to the Beans and which I also managed for part of its existence).

Hausman (pictured above) makes his return to the stage Friday, February 10, with his new band at Evening Muse. The band, Jason Hausman & the Shallow Sea, opens for Sunshone Still, the Columbia-based vehicle for songwriter Chris Smith of which Hausman is also a member along with a handful of other Charlotteans. Sunshone Still is celebrating the release of its new album, "The Way the World Dies" (the disc also features Charlotte musician Rodney Lanier, who passed away in December).

Hausman didn't put the guitar away when he retired from performing. In fact his Hot Sake studio is filled with interesting instruments including a few signature custom guitar models by luthier Jack Dent. Instead he focused on writing jingles and scores and creating sound design for commercials, TV, and film. You've likely heard his work in Carmax's Super Bowl commercials, Bojangles' ads, and during NASCAR events and Speed Channel series. The awards he's collected fill the entrance of Hot Sake.

His new album, "Grey Sky Sparrow," won't be released until this summer but he'll reveal tracks from it for the first time live Friday. From what I'm told it'll be darker, more ambient and unusual than what he was doing seven years ago. He mentions David Sylvian, Brian Eno, later Talk Talk, and current acts like Elbow and Sigur Ros as reference points when describing it. Steve Rothery from the band Marillion has become a friend and colleague of Hausman's (the two recently worked on a score for an upcoming PBS documentary) and appears on the record. Live he's joined by Charlotte music veterans Jonathan Erickson, Dan Hood (Uphonik), Allison Modaferri (Volatile Baby!), Stacey Leaser, and Chris Walters.

Hausman and Sunshone Still are joined by Danielle Howle Friday at Evening Muse (3227 N. Davidson St.). $12. Advance tickets are sold out, but you may be able to snag one at the door if you're lucky. 704-376-3737;

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

OK Go does it again with new video

Quirky rock quartet OK Go has danced on treadmills, built a Rube Goldberg machine, and choreographed dogs  (a favorite of my two-year-old's) in its music videos. You'd think they'd run out of ideas. Not yet. The group premiered its new clip for the track "Needing/Getting" on during the Super Bowl Sunday. It continues to push the boundaries of musical and visual creativity while still making it look like something you and your friends could pull off on your own without the aid of CGI or a massive budget. I don't want to give anything away, but you can watch it here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lake Eden Arts Festival announces Spring lineup

The Lake Eden Arts Festival celebrates the blues during Spring LEAF May 10-13 in Black Mountain, its 34th festival. Versatile blues music legend Taj Mahal serves as the festival headliner with Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 and Preservation Hall Jazz Band (pictured above). Other artists include Corey Harris & the Rasta Blues Experience, David Bromberg, the Red City Ramblers, and King Britt presents Sister Gertrude Morgan. Other blues performers include Pop Ferguson, Gaye Adegbalola with Roddy Barnes, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Cary Fridley & Down South, Captain Luke & Cool John Ferguson, and the Shane Pruitt Band. There are also artists from Ecuador, China, Tanzania, and Ireland and a dance area featuring everything from Cajun to to Salsa to techno.

The always eclectic lineup includes blues-folk, world music, dance, and traditional blues. The entire lineup is online here. Other events include workshops, youth performances, poetry slams, drum circles, jam sessions, storytelling, acrobats, and step and fiddles contests. 

For more on the festival, volunteering, and its international and youth programs click here

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Saloon's pre-game concert features regional rock that's ready for the mainstream

Yesterday while watching old Sponge videos in prep for that `90’s radio staple’s show at Tremont tonight I came across a comment on YouTube about missing `90s rock music (and lamenting the widespread use of synthesizers and AutoTune). That decade was certainly big on rock and Fusebox Poet, who headlines The Saloon (1000 NC Music Factory Blvd.) Saturday, captures the tradition of heavy yet accessible radio rock that was prevalent then. Its self-titled debut album punches right out of the gate. The polished production, writing and arrangements sound ready for WEND 106.5. The vocals really set it apart from the pack though. Instead of the deep, affected, grunge-influenced style that is so often paired with heavy guitar rock, Drew Cypher takes a softer approach and uses more of his upper register. The result is an anthemic sound that could easily move into the mainstream.

The Charlotte area melodic hard rock outfit headlines The Saloon’s pre-game Ditka SuperBowlEve concert Saturday with Bombshell and Columbia’s Death of Paris (a female fronted electro-pop act that earned my respect in May when they jumped on the Hank & Cupcakes’ bill at the last minute). Admission is $10 at the door, but the band and the venue have both been giving away free tickets. A limited number are available at the NC Music Factory restaurant's bar. 

For more on Fusebox Poet click here or here. Hear Death of Paris here

This week's hot concerts

7 p.m. Friday, February 3, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $12-$14.
Although it had its biggest hits - “Molly (Sixteen Candles)” and “Have You Seen Mary” - over 15 years ago, this Detroit rock combo has amassed a legion of loyal fans based on the strength of its lesser known album tracks and sweaty live shows.

Mike Doughty
10:30 p.m. Friday, February 3, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $22-$24. 704-376-3737.
The Soul Coughing frontman added author to his resume this week with the release of his memoir “The Book of Drugs” and will share passages during this intimate likely sell-out show. This week also marked the release of his live double album “The Question Jar Show,” which captured his interactive 2009 tour.

The Loudermilks/John Howie, Jr.
10 p.m. Friday, February 3, Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. $7. 704-333-9799.
It’s a night for talented roots rock songwriters as former members of popular Charlotte band Lou Ford (the Loudermilks) and former Two Dollar Pistol (Howie) team with the Rosewood Bluff and Bart Lattimore.

8 p.m. Saturday, February 4, Bojangles’ Coliseum, 2700 E. Independence Blvd. $55.95-$77.50.
After local 2011 gigs with his other projects, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, Maynard James Keenan returns to Charlotte for the third time in eight months. Fans are still clamoring for a new album.

Andy the Door Bum
8 p.m. Saturday, February 4, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $2-$4.
The Charlotte neo-folk singer-songwriter celebrates the new and old South on his ambitious new double album (on vinyl with digital download code) at the 40-plus-year-old venue that gave him his stage name.
Gringo Star
10 p.m. Saturday, February 4, Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. $7. 704-333-9799.
This Atlanta quartet, whose struggles are chronicled in the “Hurry Up and Wait” documentary, make garage pop with the flowery patchwork charm of `60s British psychedelic rock on its latest disc, “Count Yer Lucky Stars.”

8 p.m. Monday, February 6, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $15-$18. 704-358-9200.
Despite the infectious 2011 single “Steal Your Heart,” the San Diego pop-rockers were dropped by Epic after revealing a more mature, critically applauded sound. Buzzing British duo Graffiti6 opens the show.

Machine Head
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 7, Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $27.
Following up the Grammy nominated, 2007 critical darling “The Blackening,” the veteran metal band returned in 2011 with another grand metal opus (“Unto the Locust”) that ranked on several end-of-year best of lists.

Samantha Crain
8 p.m. Wednesday, February 8, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $8-$10. 704-376-3737.
Whether doing the alt-country thing with her old band the Midnight Shivers, veering toward electrified indie-rock or the more sparse orchestral folk of her new single, this Oklahoma songwriter packs an original voice that haunts and lingers. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Charlotte transplant celebrates cd release Friday at Double Door

New Jersey native Matt Perrone drew attention a few years ago for penning an acoustic-pop song about “Live with Regis and Kelly” co-host Kelly Ripa called “Fantasy” from his 2003 debut album “Something I Wanted” (he literally handed a copy to Regis standing in line at the show). He’s since released three more albums and moved to Charlotte. He celebrates the release of his fourth, the thematic jangle-pop collection “Seasons,” Friday, February 3 at Double Door (1218 Charlottetown Ave.).

“Seasons” follows its narrator through a year with a series of love songs - hence the theme. Though it begins with the folkier “Oh My Girl” the mood quickly turns upbeat with the jangle pop standout “Through My Eyes.” That sunny late `80’s/early `90’s alt-rock sound (think Matthew Sweet or Toad the Wet Sprocket) continues through the autumn portion of the disc “Addicted to You” turns up the distortion with elements of power-pop and pop-punk.

Lyrically love takes a dark turn, the mood gets heavier, and the instrumentation more acoustic-oriented as the winter portion takes over. There’s an original Christmas song, which is something you rarely find on non-holiday albums. “Let Go” is a moving highlight. The darkness climaxes during “Deserve Me,” which is a sort of `70s arena rock throwback with howling electric guitars supported by hooky keyboard fills. After spending three tracks convincing himself to move on, Spring abruptly finds Perrone changing gears back to the bopping acoustic rock that opened the disc.

Many artists toy with different styles, but “Seasons’” concept is an interesting way to tie those disparate genres together allowing Perrone to flit from sunny acoustic rock to folk-pop to introspective adult contemporary to harder rock. As he reprises the opening track at the close (which contains some subtle musical references to other tracks as well) I’m met with the idea of Dennis DeYoung era Styx veering into acoustic country. That comparison seems random (even to me), but explains why Perrone who falls toward the pop-rock side of the styleline on “Seasons” could easily share the stage with Pat McGee who can easily straddle the jam rock and poppy country-rock line. In fact Brian Fechino of McGee’s band produced three of the tracks.

Perrone shares the stage with Matt Kiefer Music (formerly of the Juliana Theory and the Ataris) at the Double Door Friday. Tickets are $10. Show begins at 10 p.m. 704-376-1446; "Seasons" is available on iTunes and Amazon and physical copes will be for sale at the show as well as at CD Baby

Dr. Horrible comes to NoDa's Chop Shop

No. It's not Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion, who served as the original stars of the Joss Whedon-created hit online musical, coming to NoDa. But a local production of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" presented by Citizens of the Universe is playing at Chop Shop (399 E. 35th St.) next week.

Whedon and his TV writer brothers Zack and Jed and Jed's wife Maurissa Tancharoen ("Dollhouse") wrote the Emmy winning series of webisodes during the 2007-2008 Writer's Guild of America strike. It ushered "How I Met Your Mother" star Harris into the Whedon family (and to die-hard fans it is a family and we'll follow the actors most anywhere). It gave Fillion (star of Whedon's "Firefly") and actress Felicia Day (who appeared in the last season of Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer,") a chance to sing. It was an unlikely hit - a musical tragicomedy about an over-the-top comic book-style villain in love.

Performances are Sunday, February 5 through Wednesday February 8 at 8 p.m. and February 10 and 11 at 6 p.m. There are also midnight showings - one at Petra's Piano Bar in Plaza-Midwood on Friday the 10th (corrected) and another at Chop Shop Saturday, the 11th. Call 704-615-4651. Admission, via tax deductible donation to the non-profit theater group, is $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

When I first saw it listed on the Chop Shop's website I thought the venue was giving sci-fi geeks like myself who don't follow football an alternative to Super Bowl Sunday. That's not the case actually. Chop Shop is also having a free, dog-friendly Super Bowl party that includes drink specials, food on the grill, and game viewing.