Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Halloween soundtrack

Halloween is kinda my favorite holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. But in a way Halloween lasts 365 days a year at my house between my love of horror, vampires, sci-fi, and fashion and music that lends itself to the darker side. When I worked at a coffee shop I played the Halloween Muzak channel all month long, which was mysteriously on another channel every time I started my shift.

So before I, my Yeti and my Monster put on our Halloween costumes and hit the trick or treat trail, I thought I’d post a Halloween-ready soundtrack of some of my favorite creepy not quite holiday songs.

Siouxsie and the Banshees “Halloween”
Rob Zombie "House of 1000 Corpses”
Alkaline Trio "Calling All Skeletons" 
Michael Jackson “Thriller”
David Bowie “Scary Monsters (& Super Creeps)”
Rasputina “Transylvanian Concubine”
Theme to “The Munsters”
Southern Culture on the Skids “Zombified”
Misfits “Skulls”
Switchblade Symphony “Witches”
Rolling Stones "Paint It Black" 
Schoolyard Heroes “Cemetery Girls”
Motorhead “Killed By Death”
Ladytron “Ghosts”
Murderdolls “197666”
Danzig “Twist of Cain”
My Chemical Romance “Vampires Will Never Hurt You”
Metric “Monster Hospital”
Wednesday 13 "Haddonfield" 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Free bluegrass instruction in Gastonia Saturday

Gaston School of the Arts will present the Second Annual Bluegrass Project Saturday, November 3 in Gastonia (825 Union Rd). The free all-day event features workshops with Blue Highway's Jason Burleson (pictured above), HeartTown's Greg Luck, New Plowed Ground's Al and Karen Dunkelman, Jaret Carter of the Difference, and Darin Aldrige and Dwayne Anderson of the Darin & Brooke Aldridge Band. In addition to instruction on banjo, fiddle, bass, guitar, and mandolin, those musicians will also be on hand for panel discussions.

Check-in is between 8 and 8:30 a.m. The event is open to all ages and younger students are encouraged to attend. Teachers can also receive continuing education credit. 

A performance featuring participants will take place Saturday evening. It's free and open to the public.

Bluegrass has really come a long way. When I was little my dad's friends played every weekend. But it seemed like this fringe niche. Unlike many other styles, its legends were accessible (maybe that's why my dad threw such a fit when Juice Newton wouldn't give us her autograph).

Maybe how accessible they were made bluegrass seem more fringe to me. Dad partied with banjo picker extraordinaire Don Reno's kids (I didn't have the heart to tell them he and most of their old friends had all died when I interviewed their band, Hayseed Dixie, a few years back). I got to tour Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver's bus when I was maybe eight-years-old. My bass teacher (who was also the brother-in-law of one of dad's best friends) was in Charlie McCoy's house band on "Hee-Haw."

Bluegrass blew up with "`O Brother Where Art Thou" and crossover artists like Alison Krauss and new acoustic acts like Nickel Creek blurring the stylistic lines. But at its heart the most traditionally-rooted in the game remain accessible. Hence many instructors at the kind of workshops being offered in Gastonia this weekend. Darin Aldrige, who will lead the musical jams, was recently nominated for an International Bluegrass Music Award and veteran group Blue Highway was a Grammy nominee. Yet here they are right in your backyard. 

Another unique aspect of this event is that it's free. I've been to similar week-long workshops as both a student and speaker (I was there for poetry) and they can be really expensive. If you're wondering where National Endowment for the Arts' dollars go this pre-election week, this is one of the places. The Bluegrass Project is made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Carrie E. and Lena V. Glen Foundation. Lunch is even included. 

It's also an experience that's continued to impact last year's participants, who gather at the School of the Arts on the second Thursday of each month to jam. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Columbia band unveils debut video

When Israeli-bred, NYC-based dance duo Hank and Cupcakes played Amos' Southend in May 2011, the  venue was nearly cavernous - meaning empty. This didn't reflect negatively on the band, who put on a pumping, jumping, fun set for the ten of us or so gathered in front of the stage. Columbia-based electro-pop act Death of Paris was added to the bill last minute. And despite the near-empty room, they showed a lot of promise that night.

I believe they also played with H&C elsewhere. The couple from Tel Aviv (who were some of the nicest people I've ever seen on tour, especially considering the circumstances) made a connection with the young band from the deep South. This week the South Carolina female-front four-piece joins Hank & Cupcakes again in Charleston and Myrtle Beach. I wish you could see both here. 

Death of Paris admittedly haven't had the easiest time breaking into the Charlotte market,, which confounds me because they're a good band with potential draw. They've played here a handful of times. The group's first video (above) shows how far they've come in a year and half. Certainly an act to keep an eye on. I'd recommend catching both DoP and H&C live. For more on Death of Paris click here

Thursday, October 25, 2012

This week's hot concerts

Sam Bush
7 p.m. Friday, October 26, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $22-$32. 704-358-9298.
With charm and chops, one of newgrass’ founders still astounds with his award winning mandolin-picking and fiddling skills and song selection as the 60-year-old enters into the fifth decade of his career.

Jim Lauderdale
8 p.m. Friday, October 26, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $15-$17. 704-376-3737.
The native son, who was born in Troutman and spent some of his youth here, returns having just released a solo bluegrass record (“Carolina Moonrise”) and a duets album with fellow Nashville secret weapon Buddy Miller.

Hip-Hop Rises
9 p.m. Friday, October 26, Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St. $7-$10.
Curious about Charlotte hip-hop? This showcase features Kooley High, Elenora Fagan, Nicole Shari, Big Treal, Amanda Pollard, Naj Music, God City, Moe Crayne Mischef, Big Jillz, Quill, 1Lyph Music Group, Caliba, and Pistol Pete.

The Wheeler Brothers
10:30 p.m. Friday, October 26, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $8-$10. 704-376-3737.
Being named Best New Band in the musical hub of Austin is quite a feat. With Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket-style grandeur, R.E.M.’s intelligent pop-rock chops, the country-rock longing of Sons of Bill and its own close-to-the-border Texas roots, this act has big-sounding aspirations. 

6 p.m. Saturday, October 27, Dixie’s Tavern, 301 E. 7th St. $15-$20/$60-$80 VIP.
The Winston-Salem-born, Atlanta-based rapper/singer-songwriter who is a fearless collaborator regardless of genre, headlines Kiss 95.1’s annual Gravedigger’s Ball concert.

Halloween 2012
8 p.m. Saturday, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $10-$12.
This annual bill casts local bands as classic acts. Hectagons and Thought Criminals team up as Cypress Hill, Your Fuzzy Friends takes on Devo, Secret Hospital! is Jawbreaker, Blossoms is the Clash, and Ma’am is Ma’amdrew WK, plus others.

Shake Your Ghoul Thing
8 p.m. Saturday, October 27, McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St. $10-$15. 704-372-1000.
Impromptu - Carolina Voices’ jazz and pop ensemble - delights Halloween junkies with a night of rollicking yet creepy tunes from “Thriller” to “Little Shop of Horrors.” Costumes encouraged.

Kathleen Edwards
7 p.m. Sunday, October 28, McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St. $22.50-$27.50. 704-372-1000.
The Canadian roots-rock songstress - whose delivery could cause her to be mistaken for Neil Young’s daughter - returns this time with a trio that includes Gord Tough and Jim Bryson. With Mandolin Orange.

10:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 30, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $5-$7. 704-376-3737.
This quirky theatrical rock quartet, whose songs have been used in an iPod commercial and on TV series, wowed as an opener for Of Montreal this summer. Its pop is infectious. 

MXPX Allstars/Unwritten Law/Versus the World
6 p.m. Wednesday, October 31, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $20-$22.
It’s a pop punk Halloween with MXPX’s Mike Herrera leading a guest lineup. Fellow Warped Tour vets Unwritten Law (who scored hits like 2002’s “Seein’ Red” after 1998’s breakout “Teenage Suicide”) rounds out the bill with former members of the Ataris and Lagwagon making up VtW. 

Bonnaroo 365
8 p.m. Wednesday, October 31, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $12-$15.
In its quest for year round domination, the folks behind Bonnaroo (who also launched a college comedy tour), give audiences a taste of the taste making festival with White Denim, Maps and Atlases and Tiny Victories. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Better Days" for local rockers Another Lost Year?

When Charlotte-based hard rock band Another Lost Year opened for Days of the New at Amos’ Southend in June, the headliner’s set was nothing short of a disaster. After what by all accounts was a long, but impressive 12-minute opening jam, Days of the New frontman Travis Meeks sat down and took off his guitar. After minutes of support (woo!), confusion, and heckling from the crowd, he announced his wife had left him. He then left the stage, the venue, and his equipment. Yep. There’s a YouTube clip of it.  

Admission was refunded, but the show wasn’t a loss for Another Lost Year. My friend Stephen Herbster and his wife Rose were there and he took that refunded ticket money and bought whatever Another Lost Year was selling. Herbster, the senior avid editor for The Carolina Panthers, was so blown away by the group that he used its single “War on the Inside” (with permission) to score a Panthers’ video that played before both preseason games on the Panther Vision Screen and in turn exposed the band to tens of thousands.

That kind of interaction between local sports and arts is exciting to me. One locally-based business supporting another? Utilizing our regional talent like we did when John Brown, Anthony Hamilton, and Squirrel Nut Zippers played during the Democratic National Convention is something we should do more of. The talent is here. 

Aside from that, the Amos’ incident proves that artists should play their hearts out no matter who is in the crowd. I’ve seen absolutely fantastic shows when no one expected anyone from the press to show up and then I’ve anonymously watched drunken messes fill time on stage to horrified audiences. Both leave an impression.  

Another Lost Year seems to be making an impression lots of places. It spends much of November and December playing the Midwest. Thursday, October 25, the five-piece plays its album release show at The Saloon at NC Music Factory. 

ALY makes mainstream rock that’s both heavy, melodic, and radio ready. It actually sounds perfect for those highlight montages promoting sporting events like WWE pay-per-views and NASCAR races. Hear that Mr McMahon? The riffs are thick, yet crisp and hooky. The drums are punchy, flowery, and showy without being distracting. There’s also a subtle Southern layer to the emotive vocals especially on songs like “Your Last Goodbye.” It’s similar in vibe to what you get with Three Doors Down or the heartland hard rock of Hinder (from Oklahoma). It’s the kind of universality that sells records. The track “Angels,” featuring female guest vocalist Lish who the group imported from New Zealand, sounds like it could be a hit duet a la Evanescence’s Amy Lee and Seether or Lacuna Coil.

The album “Better Days” is being released by Greenville, SC's Thermal Entertainment in conjunction with Megaforce Records, the company that released Metallica’s first recordings. Anthrax and Bad Brains’ latest albums also bear the Megaforce logo. Justin Rimer from 12 Stones produced the record and it sounds tailor-made for new rock stations like WEND 106.5.

You can hear much of it Thursday at The Saloon. Anything Once and Dying Alone open. 9 p.m. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

To be or not to be? Sharing a band name

Sunday night my husband and his band of twelve years will reveal its new name during a show at The Milestone celebrating its drummer’s 40th birthday. It’s a bittersweet occasion because for the band, Husky, it marks the end of an era. You see, the instrumental three-piece that has been embraced by the small but supportive stoner rock community and have sold albums overseas (Europeans especially seem to dig it), weren’t looking to change its name.

When they took the name over a decade ago there was only one active Husky in existence - a Polish electronic duo. No confusion there. The last time we checked online recently there were eight Huskys - enough to drive a sled carrying my 400 pound father through an Arctic blizzard. In February Phil (that’s my husband) was contacted by a band from Australia with the same name. We didn’t think much of it as an Australian, American, and Mexican Husky co-existed at the time, but the name issue became obvious once I started receiving press releases about Australian Husky’s appearance at South by Southwest and US tours from its new label - Sub Pop. 

This seemed more of a problem than a band playing The Milestone adding an (AUS) to the end of their name - a solution Phil and Australian Husky’s lead singer (who is actually named Husky - so you can see why he’d want to keep it) had loosely agreed on at first. And as months passed it became apparent that Australian Husky (who never applied the AUS) wasn’t going back to the Outback any time soon.

Our Husky spent months discussing options - pursuing the name legally, taking a new one, adopting a song or album title as the name, or adding the obvious “US?” But really who remembers who sued the Charlatans UK or the London Suede? My husband and his bandmates spoke to a lawyer (as they have released two albums under the name and have records dating back a decade). The problem is they failed to file for a trademark. I spoke to a few trusted publicists that have worked in the industry for years. All advised that the fight wasn’t worth the cost if my husband and his band weren’t planning to take over the world.

Our Husky is a home grown outfit. They record and practice in our back room between jobs and kids. So they begrudgingly are changing the name. I spoke to another musician earlier this week whose experimental jazz and avant garde bands have shared names with other acts from completely different genres. His argument was is there really any confusion? In our Husky’s case Phil was already getting texts from friends who “saw” his new album at a store or whose wife heard a song on the radio.

Change isn’t necessarily bad. I've listened to the band and my husband’s writing and arranging evolve from moderately heavy blues-based stoner rock to something more experimental and unusual over the past nine years (it gets pegged kraut rock in reviews). The upcoming album, “Garnet,” is a departure from their first two. So separating or differentiating themselves from the old name and old sound probably more aptly represents where they are now as a band anyhow. Of course this doesn’t soften the blow of watching your band name go places you likely never would (like to SXSW, on WNCW’s playlist or on tour with the Head and the Heart).

But given that there is now this Aussie folk-rock Husky, Mexican Husky, old Polish Husky, and a new solo hip-hop producer also going by the name, the need to separate from the name is even greater. Hence a new play on the name, which isn’t a dig on those other bands but a stake in the old name itself. I’ll leave that reveal to them though.

The lesson here, which I’ve been preaching to anyone that’s serious about its band’s name since February, is to pursue the trademark (which can actually get quite pricey for a grassroots, independent band given the different things that need to be trademarked - for performance, merchandise, etc). But if you’re making a big, long-term commitment, it’s worth considering.  

Husky plays its final show at The Milestone Sunday, October 21, with Hectorina, Secret Hospital!, and Musket King, which also features birthday boy Nate Wilkinson on drums. 8 p.m. $5.

This week's hot concerts

Chris Knight
9:30 p.m. Friday, October 19, Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $15. 704-376-1446.
The commercially underrated, but critically adored songwriter’s new album “Little Victories” is a timely rugged roots-rock effort that echoes lonesome, modern outlaw country and the writing of John Prine and Steve Earle.

Chatham County Line
7 p.m. Saturday, October 20, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $15/VIP $25. 704-358-9298.
The venerable triangle area new grass four-piece seamlessly weaves traditional and contemporary roots music (and includes Charlotte natives in its membership). Its live show was recently captured on a double CD/DVD release, but you can witness it here.

John Jorgenson Trio
8 p.m. Saturday, October 20, Stage Door Theater, 5th and College Streets. $22.50. 704-372-1000.
Like a musical train conductor the ambassador of gypsy jazz and one-time guitarist for Elton John (who fittingly portrayed Django Reinhardt in the film “Head in the Clouds”) takes audiences on a guided, time traveling tour of Europe, South America, and pockets of the US.

Erykah Badu
8 p.m. Saturday, October 20, Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd. $58.85-$81.45.
The reigning queen of neo-soul (and chameleon-like fashion maven) makes her Charlotte return lightening up the seriousness of her own songs with a set from comedian Rickey Smiley. She’ll also host an after party at Republic.

8 p.m. Saturday, October 20, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $16-$19.
After a 14-year hiatus (following its 15 year run), the ever evolving recent returnee is back with a second album, “The Seer,” and tour led by founder Michael Gira and original member Norman Westberg with an impressive list of musicians from Swans/Angels of Light and other acts.

Southern Culture on the Skids
8 p.m. Saturday, October 20, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $17-$20.
The NC institution is back for a pre-Halloween romp to revisit the high camp horror send-up that was last year’s “Zombified” tribute record to leader Rick Miller’s favorite holiday.

Ben Taylor
8 p.m. Saturday, October 20, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $15-$18.
The second generation singer-songwriter whose parents are James Taylor and Carly Simon, makes the kind of folk-tinged pop and rock you’d expect from that lineage with a voice and delivery akin to his dad.

Kevin Seconds/Kepi Ghoulie
8 p.m. Monday, October 22, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $8-$10.
Two veteran punk rock band leaders - of 7 Seconds and the Groovie Ghoulies, respectively. The former continues with his long running acoustic solo work, while the latter retains the campy pop-punk of his former band. 

Alejandro Escovedo
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 23, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $22-$25.
Although considered a countrified Americana artists since alt-country magazine “No Depression” declared him “artist of the decade,” the former punk band leader actually grows more rocking and edgier in his sixties.

9 p.m. Wednesday, October 24, Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $8-$10. 704-358-9298.
Blurring the definition of “jam band,” this growing festival fixture creates moods and scenes with electronica, old school soul and R&B, hypnotic rock, and blues that can be as accessible as Lake Trout or as trippy as STS9. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Carolinians enjoy career high on Billboard 200

Carolina-based progressive metal outfit Between the Buried and Me celebrate the highest chart position of its career this week. It's new album "The Parallax II: Future Sequence" debuted on the Billboard 200 at #22.  Its 2009 album, "The Great Misdirect" debuted at #36. "The Parallax II" did well across the board charting at #3 on Billboard's Hard Album Music Chart, at #8 on the magazine's Rock Album Chart, and at numbers 5 and 10 on the Indie Label Album and Indie Retail Albums charts, respectively. The disc is also doing well in Canada where it debuted as the top album in metal on Canadian iTunes.

Although it tours internationally, BTBAM is deeply rooted in the Carolinas. Some of its members are originally from Charlotte and still reside here. "The Parallax II" was recorded, like most of its catalog, in Winston-Salem with co-producer Jamie King.

For years the group played small venues like Tremont Music Hall's Casbah, but over the last few years its graduated to large chain venues like House of Blues and The Fillmore. With complex concept albums like "The Parallax II," BTBAM has positioned itself as a frontrunner in progressive metal.

The band plays Germany this weekend before heading to Japan, Australia, and New Zealand in November.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

This week's hot concerts

Whitewater River Jam Fall Finale
4 p.m. Saturday, US National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Parkway. Free.
Western Carolina favorite Acoustic Syndicate headlines the USNWC’s 2012 finale concert with the always entertaining and skilled David Mayfield Parade and Virginia’s Sons of Bill, who are becoming a sort of R.E.M. of rocking country.

Swing Jazz Series
8 p.m. Saturday, October 13, McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St. $29.50-$39.50. 704-372-1000.
This new concert series debuts with Grammy winning trumpeter and film scorer Terence Blanchard with Durham’s John Brown Big Band, which is led by Duke University professor and bassist, Brown, who helped conceive the series.

The Holmes Brothers
8 p.m. Saturday, October 13, Don Gibson Theater, 318 S. Washington St. Shelby, $22.
The Blues Music Award winning trio encompass the term Americana (blending gospel, blues, country, R&B, soul and rock). Its revered work includes collaborations with Joan Osborne and Peter Gabriel. It headlines Shelby’s Art Council’s 10th Annual Art of Sound Festival.

Ana Egge
8 p.m. Saturday, October 13, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $12-$15.
For the Steve Earle-produced “Bad Blood,” Egge tackled mental illness (which she’s experienced through family members) with simple arrangements, sleepy delivery (like a chiller Kathleen Edwards) and lilting melodies that lets you forget the heavy subject matter.

7 p.m. Monday, October 15, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $13-$15.
The politically active Denver outfit draws on progressive messages and Occupy-like movements as it bridges alternative hip-hop and indie-rock. Its paired with Astronautalis, who is often described like a hip-hop Beck.

White Panda
8 p.m. Tuesday, October 16, Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St. $15-$17.
Remember those homemade mix tapes where you’d cobble Prince, L.L. Cool J., and the Ramones into one track? This mash-up duo has turned that bedroom practice into an artform splicing Notorious B.I.G. and Tom Petty or Kanye and M83.

James McMurtry/Joe Pug
8 p.m. Wednesday, October 17, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $17-$20.
Contemporary songwriters don’t come much more revered than this pair. It must be in McMurtry’s blood (he’s the son of author Larry McMurtry). Pug is a newer voice on the scene, but one that’s been met with much praise.

Indigo Girls
Thursday, October 18, McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St. $39.50- 704-372-1000.
The duo returns but this time its shaking up its formula backed by Atlanta rock band the Shadowboxers on electric versions of classic songs and some from its new album, “Beauty Queen Sister.”  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Matt and Kim debut new video on Funny or Die

Electronic pop duo, Matt and Kim, who headline The Fillmore Thursday, unveiled its new video for the song "Let's Go" on Funny or Die today. The clip takes on the prime-for-lampooning subject of school photos and Sears family portraits with an amusing cast of characters and the musicians modeling a closet full of cringe-worthy fashions. You can watch here. Be warned if you're offended by breast feeding (really? It's brief).

Matt and Kim play The Fillmore Thursday with opening act Oberhofer.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fundraiser for Plaza-Midwood fire victims Friday

When my husband and I passed the apartment building on The Plaza on the way to take our sons to the nearby playground two weeks ago, we noticed the blackened front of the two-story building crumbling toward the sidewalk. A fire had destroyed part of the Riviera Apartment building earlier that morning. It wasn’t until a week later when local musician Adam O’Neill emailed me about a benefit concert to raise funds for the residents who lost their apartments in the September 23rd fire, that I realized we knew one of the tenants. 

Local musician Andre Francois of two of our favorite local bands, the defunct Lights, Fluorescent and My Captain, lost his home along with two other tenants. I immediately texted Francois’ friend and the Lights’/My Captain bassist to see how he was and if he’d lost the vintage Ovation Breadwinner guitar he was rarely without (he's playing it with My Captain in the photo, taken at the Milestone in July, above). It was engulfed in the fire along with, according to O’Neill, everything in two apartments and two poor cats.

O’Neill and friends from the neighborhood have organized “Play It Forward,” the Riviera Apartment fire fundraiser at Petra’s Piano Bar, just a couple blocks from The Plaza. The event takes place Friday, October 12 at 9 p.m. O’Neill, who lives at the Riviera, reported the fire. His home was undamaged, but he says three tenants lost practically everything they owned and according to news reports nine were displaced. Most live pay check to pay check and had no renter’s insurance.

“Being a witness to the event and living the cliche, but serious, scenario of 'If your house was on fire what would take?' I felt a moral responsibility to help my friends, who incidentally happen to be artists and lost everything that supports their craft and life,” O’Neill said about putting together the fundraiser. Admission is $5 (although I’m sure larger donations are appreciated). Clothing and other necessities will also be accepted at the event and there’s a definite need for those. Clothes for both women and men are needed.

The concert will feature O’Neill’s band the Adulterers, Great Architect, Ross Wilbanks Experimental Guitar, Bo White, and Projectorism. Live music will be sandwiched between screenings of an experimental film from Wilbanks’ “Baloos” series.  

Adds O’Neill: “In the day and age of habitual cynicism and well-read doubt about politics, economy, morality, and/or an overall feeling of a lack of control over one's circumstances, it is empowering to know you can make an effort to heal your immediate surroundings, if just little.”

As for Francois, Andre texts that “the support from family and friends has been insane.” His friends already chipped in to get him another guitar. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

22nd Latin American Fest boasts rock, salsa, dance

The 22nd Annual Latin American Festival takes place at South Park’s Symphony Park on Sunday, October 14 with a bevy of international Spanish language artists taking the festival stage. The lineup includes JarabeDePalo, a veteran rock band from Barcelona, Grammy award winning Venezuelan favorite Los Amigos Invisibles, who blends electronica, bossa nova, disco, and jazz, Brooklyn’s boogaloo soulsters Spanglish Fly as well as Miami’s Bachaco fusing reggae, dancehall, ska, hip-hop and Colombian cumbia, and Charlotte’s Orquesta Mayor performing salsa classics. 

 While that contemporary lineup keeps the crowd moving on the Rumba Stage, the Carnaval stage features traditional music and dance. Other attractions include Latin food, visual art demonstrations, crafts, dance, children’s activities, and vendors. Tickets are $5. Children under 8 are admitted free. The festival begins at noon and runs until 8 p.m. Proceeds support the Latin American Coalition and the Latin American Women’s Association. For more information check out

Friday, October 5, 2012

Musicians pay posthumous tribute to local songwriter

Before Charlotte songwriter and psychologist Tim Lemmond died of cancer in March 2011 after struggling with the disease off and on for eight years, he wanted to finish his final album - an album that many fans and friends had requested after hearing him perform the songs live. 

"He literally worked on the recordings until the day before he went into the hospital for the last time," said his wife Laurie Reed. "He was still listening to those songs and changing the order and still working on them in the hospital."

Sunday the album will finally see release during the Tim Lemmond Legacy Concert and scholarship fund launch. Proceeds from the sale of the album and the concert will benefit the Tim Lemmond Music Scholarship at Community School of the Arts, which will provide music lessons for children served by the Children's Home Society. The non-profit agency provides support for biological, foster, and adoptive families, many of whom are in transition. As a psychologist Lemmond worked with social services, group homes, and children in foster care, so the scholarship will specifically benefit the kinds of children he worked with and cared for. 

Sunday's performers include students from CSA, some of which have experience with Children's Home Society. Adult performers include John Tosco, who is promoting the event through Tosco Music Parties along with CSA and CHS, Reed, Kevin Edwards, who engineered Lemmond's new album in his home studio, and a bevy of other locals. They'll be performing Lemmond's original music. 

After Lemmond's death it took time for his loved ones to complete the project. 

"Kevin worked a long time to master it and do some more sound engineering. It was hard. For a while people kept saying when will it be ready?" Reed recalled. "Once Kevin finished his part I began to understand how hard it was. I had to get in my part and do the writing. Our son did the jacket. It was hard stepping back into it."

Reed also wasn't sure what to do with the proceeds from the album until she received a letter from a girl who'd received a scholarship for music lessons to Community School of the Arts in Lemmond's name through the minister at the family's church. 

"In February I got this letter from this little girl thanking me for supporting the Community School of the Arts. She said, 'I love my voice teacher and I forget about my illness.' It was just so touching and it just clicked for me. I am going to turn it back in for other kids to get the lessons that she’s getting," Reed  explained. She decided to focus on children like those Lemmond worked with. "I felt that connection with kids in foster care and in social services with difficulty themselves, family stressers and big life challenges - those are the kids who often have the least access to the arts." 

The Tim Lemmond Legacy Concert takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday, October 7, at McGlohon Theatre (345 N. College St.). Tickets are $15. Children 12 and under get in free. Tickets are available online here. For more information or to donate to the Tim Lemmond Music Scholarship fund go to

This week's hot concerts

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
8 p.m. Friday, October 5, Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $27-$57.85.
The leggy live powerhouse’s star continues to rise following its summer tour with Kenny Chesney and the release of its latest "The Lion The Beast The Beat."  But it’s live where the bluesy rock group really finds its groove.

Dead Prez
8 p.m. Friday, October 5, Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St. $20-$23.
The political rap duo of M-1 and Stic.Man ready for the October 16th release of its long awaited (eight years) third full-length studio album, “Information Age,” with a pair of Carolina shows that promote music, mind, body, and visual art.

Howard Hewett
9 p.m. Friday, October 5, Tempo, 4809 Wilkinson Blvd. $20.
The one time leader of `80s R&B/pop trio Shalamar (“Dancing in the Sheets,”), Hewett continues to straddle jazz, R&B, and gospel (his “Say Amen” is a classic) as the smooth crooner begins his fourth decade in music. 

Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers
8 p.m. Friday, October 5, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $10-$12.
Looking like she was plucked sunkissed from the `70s, this country-soul throwback’s rootsy songs and lived-in delivery attracted the attention of The Gap who tapped her (and the Avetts) for its current “Icon Redefined” campaign. She and her band are also doing a fun series of  "live from the tour van" covers like the one above.

8 p.m. Sunday, October 7, Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $44.50.
After conquering the hipster underground the French electro-pop outlet for songwriter Anthony Gonzalez (who is set to score Tom Cruise’s upcoming film “Oblivion”) had a bona fide alternative hit with the 2012 single “Midnight City” (which has apparently tripled ticket prices in as many years). 

Death Angel
7 p.m. Monday, October 8, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $15.
The San Francisco thrash veterans return after over a year of opening dates with Anthrax. It will revisit its 1986 debut album “The Ultra-Violence” in its entirety while touching on both recent material and old favorites.

Nick Lowe
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 9, McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St. $25-27.50. 704-372-1000.
Charlotte benefits from its close proximity to the triangle area where the influential British songwriter celebrates his label’s (Haw River-based Yep Roc) 15th anniversary. He’s best known for “Cruel to Be Kind” and his work with Elvis Costello and was recently honored with an all-star tribute album. With Chuck Prophet.

Jackie Greene
8 p.m. Tuesday, October 9, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. $15.
On his last album (produced by Nicki Bluhm’s husband Tim, coincidentally) it became even harder to pin down this singer-songwriter who convincingly delves into poppy country-rock and Southern soul with the gusto of a classic artist. His next album promises more introspection, which he may hint at during his show.

Dent May
8 p.m. Tuesday, October 9, Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. $8.
Imagine Elvis Costello making bedroom recordings of synth-y `80s R&B that flirts with sunny California pop, radio funk, and reggae. The result may resemble this bedroom artist who sounds closer to the English Beat than his deep South Mississippi surroundings.

Matt and Kim/Oberhofer
8 p.m. Thursday, October 11, Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $27.
With just keys and drums the quirky synth-rock duo can go head-to-head with most live rock acts with heavy doses of charm, chemistry, and body-moving catchiness. Opening act Oberhofer is a fast rising star on college and internet radio with its infectious single "Away Frm U."

Bonnie Raitt
8 p.m. Thursday, October, 11, Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd. $56.95-$73.35.
Nearly 25 years after her commercial and critical breakthrough “Nick of Time,” the singer-guitarist remains one of the most influential mainstream female blues-rock artists. Her latest album - the Joe Henry-produced “Slipstream” - marks her first in six years.