Friday, April 29, 2011

This week's hot concerts

Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs

10 p.m. Friday, April 29, Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. $8. 704-333-9799.

Having relocated from her native London to a farm near Athens, Georgia, the former Headcoatee (who many know from her Whites Stripes’ duet) makes up a cancelled December show with her acoustic duo.

A.W.O.L. The Benefit

11 a.m. Saturday, April 30, Symphony Park, South Park, 4400 Sharon Rd. $30-$40/VIP $50.

Duke University grad turned hit maker Mike Posner and duo Matt & Kim headline this cutting edge benefit concert (which benefits Don’t Break the Bond and Camp Care). Hot hometown acts Paper Tongues, Simplified, Sugar Glyder, Matrimony, Lucky Five and BPL also perform.

Don Dixon & Marti Jones

8 p.m. Saturday, April 30, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $15-$17. 704-376-3737.

The famed producer (and Lancaster native) behind R.E.M’s “Murmur” and much of the jangle pop of the `80s South returns with his lovely fellow singer-songwriter wife before heading out with Mary Chapin-Carpenter this summer.

Tim Barry/Jenny Owen Youngs

8 p.m. Saturday, April 30, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $10-$12.

The former Avail frontman always approached his Richmond band’s working class punk as a rich storyteller so his foray into acoustic singer-songwriter-dom seems fitting. Tour mate Youngs writes fantastically catchy yet intelligent pop songs.


7 p.m. Saturday, April 30, Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St. $61.50-$113.70.

The likely current heir to Michael Jackson’s triple threat of pop/R&B singer/dancer/entertainer promises a ton of hits, slick moves, and famously auto-tuned fellow hit mater Akon opening the show.


Tuesday, May 3, Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard St. $39.50.

After years playing Asheville and Raleigh the dark modern rocker finally makes its Charlotte debut. With two new touring members, the group hasn’t let the loss of towering bassist Carlos Dengler slow its momentum.

Ziggy Marley

8 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard St. $39.50.

Having just published his “Marijuanaman” comic book, the former Melody Makers’ leader and Bob and Rita Marley’s oldest son, previews material from his upcoming fourth solo album “Wild and Free.”

Del tha Funky Homosapien

7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5, Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. FREE for 21 and up, $8 for under 21.

The veteran rapper and Gorillaz collaborator (most notably on the hit “Clint Eastwood”) makes a rare Charlotte appearance on the heels of his new triple disc release, “Golden Era.”

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Whisky River celebrates anniversary, tickets discounted

Whisky River, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s Epicentre night club, celebrates its third anniversary Friday with country singer Rodney Atkins. General admission tickets for the concert have recently been reduced to $20 (they were originally $30). Pit passes, which guarantee a spot near the front of the stage, are still $50.

Kelley Earnhardt (Dale, Jr's sister and co-owner and general manager of JR Motorsports) will host the event.

Atkins' number one country hits include "Watching You," "It's America," "Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)," "These are My People," and "If You're Going Through Hell." Atkins released a new single, "Take a Back Road," on iTunes earlier this week. His next album is scheduled for a summer release.

Whisky River is located at 210 E. Trade St. Doors open at 5 p.m., music starts at 7 p.m. The event is 21 and over. Tickets are available at

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs talks new album, plays Milestone Saturday

Former Avail frontman Tim Barry and up and coming singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs play the Milestone (3400 Tuckaseegee Rd.) Saturday, April 30th with Charlotte’s Pullman Strike (8 p.m., $8). Barry fronted one of my very favorite punk bands. Avail was my go-to wake-me-up when I had to open the coffee shop at 5 a.m. and remains a go-to pick-me-up when I’m frustrated or angry. His working class storyteller approach to songwriting translates well to a stripped down acoustic setting.

Youngs is a more recent favorite. The more I find out about her, the more I think she’s a kindred spirit. She loves "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (Darkhorse Comics put her in an ad for the "BTVS" comics) and she appreciates bad movies! Before I knew those things I'd discovered her catchy folk-pop songs, her sense of humor and a sweet voice that is capable of tackling pretty much anything as she’s proven with unexpected covers. She approaches Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” with a balance of irony and seriousness and the video is adorable. She reminds me at times of a younger Aimee Mann. Her pop-rock and folk-pop originals are good and at times great. I've put "Last Person" and "Led to the Sea" on my kid's iPod mixes (which inevitably become family favorites).

Youngs is working on her next album with producer Dan Romer. She had the following to say about the upcoming release, which she hopes to release early next fall.

"I’ve been pretty freaking excited about it. I can see the end of the tunnel. Things are starting to sound like songs. We just had a horn session and a strings session. I'm super pumped about that. The players were phenomenal. Dan is a great arranger and on top of that picks players who have been playing with each other for a long time and have a wide skill set.

"Dan and I tried to approach this record in a few ways that are new and with a renewed commitment to certain objectives. We have a really heavy focus on dirty percussion. We’ve been going through a lot of antique woodblocks. We built this thing, the tambour-drum - a 50 gallon metal oil drum with a tambourine loose on top of it. You can get the weird metal sound out of the drum and the tambourine has that weird rattle to it.

"I'm trying to sing better (too). We’re trying to make the record less like a record that has been tediously put together and more natural. I think a lot of the songs will imply or show that I'm a little bit happier, which is nice. Although I’ve thought similar things in the past and have been proven wrong by listeners. I’ve also done a lot more speculative songwriting as well. There’s one song that’s kind of about volcano sacrifice and one about electro convulsive therapy. Another is about this kid during the Jonestown Massacre. There were a couple of people who weren’t killed. One had his hearing aid turned off. One boy hid in the woods and the song is about him coming out of the woods and seeing 900 dead bodies. It can’t just be about love and heartbreak all the time. I wanted to apply my love of reading to the lyrics."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

British underground garage rock veteran makes South home, plays Charlotte

The idea of moving to the English countryside seems exotic and romantic to me. I wonder if Holly Golightly, one of my favorite British female singers, felt the same way moving to a farm outside Athens, Georgia a few years back. Before her move with Lawyer Dave, her partner in her latest band the Brokeoffs (pictured above), I’d only gotten a chance to see her once live a decade ago in Chapel Hill. But thanks to her proximity Golightly is close enough to make a Charlotte gig a reality. She plays Snug Harbor (1228 Gordon St.) with the Brokeoffs Friday, April 29th.

Friday’s concert marks her second time in Charlotte in the last couple of years. I missed her the first time she played Snug Harbor, but even my hardest-to-please friends raved about it.

I discovered Golightly when a Headcoatees album wound up in a gift (laundry) basket that a friend gave me for Christmas in college. My friend knew I was a fan of girl groups, Brits, and punk, so the recommendation was fitting. Golightly (named for a character in my favorite old movie, "Breakfast at Tiffany's") was already a solo artist by this point and I found that I enjoyed her solo albums more than Thee Headcoatees (the sister band to Billy Childish’s garage rock combo Thee Headcoats).

I lost track of her a few years ago, but the Charlotte shows have placed her back on my radar.

She and the Brokeoffs release “No Help Coming” Tuesday, April 26th. The album reflects the rootsy Americana, country, and blues of her new surroundings, but it’s still steeped in Golightly’s signature style – quirky, retro sass and a bit raw. It’s easy to imagine her singing some of these songs in a dirtfloor speakeasy forty or fifty years ago. The girl group charm, lo-fi garage rock quality, and tea-soaked accent I love remain. What’s interesting to me now is that Golightly always sang with a strong English accent, but there was also a bit of a slow drawl to her phrasing. Maybe she was bound for the deep South all along.

Monday, April 25, 2011

More acts headed to Verizon this summer

The summer concert calendar is starting to fill up. Maroon 5 and Train announced Monday morning that the two Grammy winning groups will team up for a summer co-headlining tour. The tour will hit Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Charlotte August 2nd. A few days later on August 5th, Kings of Leon return to Verizon with special guest Band of Horses.

Maroon 5 Singer Adam Levine announced the upcoming co-headlining tour via the band's website Friday (in the above video). Dates were announced Monday. The Maroon 5/Train tour kicks off July 22nd and the Charlotte date is the first of its East Coast run. Reported opening acts will be Gavin DeGraw for the first leg of the tour (which includes Charlotte) and Matt Nathanson on the second. Special fan ticket packages go on sale Tuesday, April 26th.

Tickets for both the Maroon 5/Train and the Kings of Leon dates will go on sale to the public May 14th. Presale for KoL's Charlotte show begins May 10th. Kings of Leon last played Charlotte in September 2010. This marks the Tennessee rockers first full US tour since the release of its latest album "Come Around Sundown."

Kings of Leon recently headlined opening night of the Coachella Festival and taped an episode of VH1's "Storytellers" that will relaunch the series May 13th.

Gospel/R&B singer to record live concert in Fort Mill Thursday

R&B singer Shirley Murdock, who had her biggest solo hit with 1987's "As We Lay," will record her upcoming live concert CD/DVD, "The Journey," at The Broadcast Group Complex (8400 Regent Parkway, Fort Mill) Thursday, April 28th. The concert boasts a star supporting cast of veteran female R&B singers - Kelly Price, Regina Belle, and Beverly Crawford, who will join Murdock on stage at different points during the show.

Murdock, a native of Toledo, Ohio, started her career as a gospel singer but ventured into R&B after becoming a backup vocalist for the `80s funk family band Zapp. Murdock was a featured vocalist on the 1986 Zapp hit "Computer Love" and went on to chart as a solo artist. Her solo hits included "Go On Without You," "No More," and "As We Lay" (which was co-written by Zapp's Larry Troutman).

After touring with the inspirational play "Be Careful What You Pray For" (with Cuba Gooding, Jr.) in 2000, the singer-turned-actress returned to the gospel music of her youth with her first gospel cd "Home." She worked on that record with Grammy award winning producer Cedric Thompson (an Anderson, SC native). She and Thompson are re-teaming for "The Journey" and his hometown connections dictated the live recording happen here.

"This gives him access to the wonderful musicians and singers in that area, not to mention the beautiful venue we'll be ministering, recording and filming in," she explains.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Homegrown act makes its Merlefest debut

Among the musicians performing at the 23rd annual MerleFest, which begins Thursday in North Wilkesboro, is the ToneBlazers, an acoustic quintet with roots in folk, bluegrass, country, and old-time. The group is steeped (as well as based) in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The bulk of songs on its new cd, "Red Clay Roots" were written by North Carolina songwriters such as Michael Reno Harrell as well as by members of the group.

Its member have performed with well known acts like Loretta Lynn, Alison Krauss, Mark O'Connor, and Doc Watson. It actually has a few connections to MerleFest, Watson's nearly 25-year-old tribute to deceased son Merle. Guitarist/mandolin player Randy Gambill lives in North Wilkesboro and is an instructor at Wilkes Community College, the site of MerleFest. Bassist Billy Gee resides in Moravian Falls and runs a guitar repair business. One of his clients is Watson. (The original trio of Gee, Gambill, and Dale Meyer are pictured above).

The ToneBlazers will perform multiple times over the four-day festival. If you miss MerleFest the band plays the US National Whitewater Center on June 9th.

MerleFest runs Thursday, April 28th through Sunday, May 1st. The Zac Brown Band will headline opening night with the Del McCoury Band and another North Carolinian, Randy Travis. Jerry Douglas, Sonny Landreth, and the Doobie Brothers headline the main stage Friday. Sara Jarosz, Joan Osborne, Lyle Lovett, Sam Bush, Donna the Buffalo, and Watson are among Saturday's performers. Robert Plant and the Band of Joy will help close out the festival on Sunday, May 1st.

MerleFest tickets are available at 1-800-343-7857 or online.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This week's hot concerts

Jeremy Current Band
8:30 p.m. April 22,  Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $5. 704-358-9298
The Charlotte songwriter celebrates the release of “Dark Land of the Sun,” his first full-length which boasts star players and was financed in part by a Kickstarter campaign. Bailey Cooke and Mark Mathis open. 

Groove 8
8 p.m. April 23, Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. $10. 704-372-1000.
Celebrating its 5th anniversary this unit exhibits stellar musicianship making soundtrack ready compositions that groove on funk and laid back jazz and feel almost effortless. If only Quentin Tarantino would tap them for his next project. 

10:30 p.m. April 23, Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $8-$10. 704-376-3737.
The Charlotte rock band goes out on a high note with the release of its nearly posthumous new disc which is limited to 200 copies and includes the remainder of songs from its unfinished full-length and a few older tracks. It will be available at this weekend’s farewell show. 

Plaza-Midwood Spring Party
7 p.m. April 23, Petra’s, 1919 Commonwealth Ave. $5-$7. 704-332-6608.
Charlotte’s Jon Lindsay hosts his second neighborhood variety-style show with a cookout, his last solo show of 2011, and music from the Loudermilks, the Houston Brothers, Jay Garrigan, Anna Bullard, Miles Swartz, and triangle area acts Old Bricks, Jack the Radio, and Eston Dickson with comedian Jeremy Shane.

Iron & Wine
8 p.m. April 26, Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. $20-$24.
As with his latest album South Carolina native Sam Beam broadens his scope live surrounding himself with a 10-piece band including horns and backup singers to recreate the breadth of that acclaimed new album “Kiss Each Other Clean.” 

Mike Herrera/Gasoline Heart
8 p.m. April 26, Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd. $8-$12.
The MXPX frontman who has moonlighted in alt-country and `50s rock bands Tumbleweed and Arthur, respectively, joins Gasoline Heart’s Louis DeFabrizio for a solo acoustic tour. Expect tracks from Herrera's varied projects. He released "Live from the Basement" on Thursday to kick off the tour.

Oh No Fiasco
8 p.m. April 28, Double Door, 1228 Charlottetown Ave. $5. Ladies Free. 704-376-1446.
This promising Knoxville-based dance-rock outfit combines elements of No Doubt, Muse, and Paramore with a powerful female vocalist and a creative, theatrical side that gives them a playful visual dynamic to go along with its catchy pop-rock songs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Charlotte R&B singer unveils new video tonight

Charlotte-based R&B singer Sunshine Anderson will celebrate the release of her latest video, "Say Something," at the Sunset Club (1820 South Blvd. #106) tonight. The video was actually shot at the club and may feature some faces that are familiar to Charlotte.

"The majority of the people in the room were from North Carolina," Anderson told me during an interview to preview her CIAA gig in March. "I was just so happy about that. We have talent agencies and modeling agencies and all kinds of things going on here. So why not?"

Anderson had a hit a decade ago with "Heard it All Before," which peaked at #3 on the R&B/hip-hop charts. After another album in 2007, a move to Atlanta, the birth of her daughter, and the breakup of her marriage, Anderson found her way back to Charlotte in time to release her third album last November. "Lie to Kick It," the song featured in the video above, was the first single from "The Sun Shines Again."

The video release party is free and begins at 8 p.m. WPEG Power 98 ran a "making of" webisode a while back that you can watch here.

Speed Street goes funk, soul, country

The 17th annual Food Lion Speed Street Festival kicks off Thursday May 26th with a party starting line-up of old school soul, `80s funk, and country. Rose Royce, the R&B group best known for its 1977 hit "Car Wash" as well as the follow-up "I Wanna Get Next to You" will share the Coca-Cola Stage with `80s funk/R&B outfit Midnight Star. The latter's hits include "Freak-A-Zoid," "No Parking (On the Dancefloor)," and "Operator."

Country singer Pat Green rounds out the line-up on the Miller Lite Stage. The San Antonio native is best known for the 2004 single "Wave on Wave," 2006's "Feels Just Like it Should" and 2008's "Let Me."

Other acts for the three-day festival were announced previously. Friday's bill includes Everclear and Josh Turner whose performances were rained out last year. Eddie Money, Clay Walker, and Starship close the festival on Saturday.

Speed Street takes place in uptown Charlotte Thursday May 26th through Saturday May 28th. The festival opens at noon each day. The Coca-Cola stage will be located on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. between Brevard and Caldwell streets at The NASCAR Hall of Fame entrance. The Miller Lite Stage will be located in the parking lot at the corner of Third and Poplar. The event is free.

Free NASCAR Rev'd Up concert kicks off all-star week

The third annual NASCAR Rev'd Up event kicks off NASCAR Sprint All-Star Week May 18th with a free concert at the NASCAR Hall of Fame featuring country star Gary Allan and singer-songwriter Josh Kelley.

Allan's number one singles include 2003's "Man to Man" and "Tough Little Boys" and 2004's "Nothing on But the Radio." His more recent Top 40 singles includes this year's "Kiss Me When I'm Down" and last summer's "Get Off on the Pain."

Kelley has been a pop/adult contemporary artist until recently. The Georgia native, who is married to actress Katherine Heigl, made his country album chart debut last week with "Georgia Clay." It charted at #16.

NASCAR Rev'd Up begins at 4 p.m. with vendor displays and interactive activities. Live music starts at 7:15 p.m. The event will take place at the NASCAR Hall of Fame plaza on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jackson Browne names Charlotte songwriter "best"

In "Rolling Stone's" new "Best of Rock 2011" issue (#1129) magazine staffers and notable artists pick their current favorites in the music biz. Categories include best sideman (the fabulous Buddy Miller, who in my book is a great solo singer-songwriter as well as a fine sideman) and best ukelele hero (who else but Jake Shimabukuro). Under the heading "Best Roots" songwriter Jackson Browne mentions Charlotte singer-songwriter Benji Hughes who released his ambitious double album debut (and really fine collection of songs) in 2008.

Of Hughes, Browne says: "Benji Hughes, from North Carolina, is also an unbelievably good singer-songwriter. He looks like he stepped out of the back cover of an Allman Brothers record in 1975. He's wickedly funny but also utterly romantic. Music is just so alive and kicking under the radar right now."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Add Lucinda to list of sold out concerts this April

I noticed this afternoon that tickets for Lucinda Williams' show at McGlohon Theatre are sold out. April has been quite the month for sell out concerts in Charlotte. Ke$ha's Get Sleazy tour date at The Fillmore Tuesday sold out well in advance as did Amos' Lee's show this Saturday at Knight Theater and next month's Carolina Rebellion with Avenged Sevenfold, Godsmack, Seether, Hinder, Three Days Grace, Stone Sour, Alter Bridge and several others.

Add those to the Avetts Brothers at Bojangles Coliseum and Derek Trucks and wife Susan Tedeschi's show at McGlohon earlier this month and its been quite a hot month for concerts. We'll find out next week if Iron & Wine's show at Amos' Southend is yet another to add to this list.

On the flipside there are still really good seats left for Usher and Akon at Time Warner Cable Arena on the 30th. Of course that venue has a lot more seats to fill.

Mini Review: Wanda Jackson at Visulite

Wanda Jackson took her audience on a journey through her 50-plus year career Saturday at Visulite Theatre and what a treat it was. She could've simply played the highlights of her catalog and tracks from the recent Jack White-produced album that's serving to introduce her to a new generation. She did both of those things, but what added to the show was how Jackson engaged the audience with personal stories from her life.

She talked about dating Elvis Presley, who encouraged her to lend her feisty growl to the new fangled rock n' roll genre that was bubbling up in the `50s. She admitted to having the ring that Presley gave her checked out by a jeweler (yes, it was real) and bending to the whims of White to record an Amy Winehouse tune.

I rarely think of 73-year-olds as adorable, but shimmying in her hot pink fringed jacket during "Shakin' All Over" and joking with the folks on the front row, Jackson was exactly that. She introduced almost every song by year and put each into context. The bulk came not from the White-produced "The Party Ain't Over" but from her long storied career. There were rockers like "Shakin'" and "Nervous Breakdown" (from "Party") and one of her biggest hits "Fujuyama Mama." She also did a tribute to Presley, played the single that served to transition her from country to rock in the mid `50s, and nodded to the gospel career she pursued through much of the `70s and `80s.

I'm sure at least half the crowd left thinking about how vibrant they'd be in their `70s. If only. (Sorry, no photo since my phone died).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mini Review: the Whigs, Company of Thieves

After playing practically every venue in town from The Milestone to Verizon Athens' trio the Whigs made its Neighborhood Theatre debut Thursday.

I’d wanted to see opener Company of Thieves (we missed local opener gogoPilot unfortunately) since its first album was released (a new one, “Running from a Gamble,” is due May 17, check out the new single here). The band hails from Chicago, but there’s something a little exotic about its take on indie-rock. Its songs are accessible but there was something kind of off and arty about its first album that made it stand out. I was originally drawn in by female vocalist Genevieve Schatz (pictured) and she was at the center of Thursday’s set. I’ve always been a sucker for wacky dancers (as a kid I was fascinated by Natalie Merchant during 10,000 Maniacs’ first “Saturday Night Live” appearance for instance) and Schatz’s moves while not quite wacky were animated and cute reminding me more of Metric than Merchant. My husband compared her to Bjork and CSS’ Lovefoxxx (both who he absolutely adores) and when CoT ventured into a moody bluesy exercise toward the end of its set he said it brought to mind Big Brother & the Holding Company (my reference point was much more obscure so we’ll skip it).

We first saw the Whigs in December 2003. That first gig didn’t leave much of an impression, but over the years that band has evolved into one of the best straight up solid rock acts in the Southeast and maybe anywhere. Parker Gispert has grown into a great rock songwriter and frontman, hopping about on one foot (it was hard to get a picture of any band members because they were constantly in motion). Bassist Tim Deaux, who joined in 2008, plays parts that add color and depth. And drummer Julian Dorio is its secret weapon.

Thursday’s set list wasn’t my favorite, but it did begin with a fantastic opener - “Like a Vibration.” That’s not to say it was a bad show in the least. Most of my favorite Whigs’ songs are favorites because I heard them live first, so I expect some of Thursday’s choices to grow on me that same way. There were fewer tracks from its latest album “In the Dark,” instead a handful were culled from its 2005 debut. Those gave me a renewed appreciation for that record.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hot Concerts: Week of 4/15-4/22

Smokey Robinson

8 p.m. Friday Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd. $54.50-$98.15.

The voice behind “Tears of a Clown,” “Tracks of my Tears” (both with the Miracles), “Being With You” and numerous others brings his legendary pipes to town.

Hollywood Undead

7 p.m. Friday Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard St. $34.75.

The masked sextet’s new disc “American Tragedy” bridges boy band and juggalo with its unusual mix of pop harmonies, hard subject matter, hip-hop and heavy rock.

Wanda Jackson

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

The 73-year-old queen of rockabilly is enjoying a career resurgence in part thanks to her fantastic new Jack White-produced album “The Party Ain’t Over.”

Aimee Mann

8 p.m. Saturday McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St. $24.50-$34.50. 704-372-1000.

The Oscar nominated songstress and voice behind `80s hit “Voices Carry” plays fan favorites and debuts material from the upcoming musical based on her 2005 album “The Forgotten Arm.”

Ari Hest

8 p.m. Saturday Evening Muse, 3227. N. Davidson St. $12-$14. 704-376-3737.

The singer-songwriter (think Pete Yorn with a hint of Michael McDonald) recently released his first disc of new material, “Sunset Over Hope Street,” following a year-long songwriting web experiment.

Dirty Heads

7 p.m. Sunday Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. $13-$15.

“Rolling Stone” named the Sublime-like So-Cal reggae-rock outfit one of the its Best New Bands of 2010 and its tracks can be heard on videogames, film, and TV. With New Politics.

Coheed & Cambria

8 p.m. Monday Fillmore, 1000 Seaboard St. $35.25.

The prog-metal quartet celebrates its 10th anniversary by playing its debut, “Second Stage Turbine Blade” in its entirety as well as an acoustic set.

Gurf Morlix

8 p.m. Tuesday Evening Muse, 3277 N. Davidson St. $15-$17. 704-376-3737.

The Americana producer and musician pays tribute to slain Texas songwriter and friend Blaze Foley as well as screens the documentary “Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

NC Music Factory announces Friday concert series

The NC Music Factory will begin a Friday After Five live music series beginning April 29th. It will feature national touring acts each Friday through mid-June. The weekly concert series begins with alternative rock band Eve 6 at the Coors Light Super Cold Activation Summer Kickoff Party where concertgoers can beat the oncoming summer heat with huge ice sculptures, ice block dancers, and a one hundred percent chance of snow in the Fountain Plaza at the NC Music Factory (1000 Seaboard St.).

The line-up includes several `90s alt-rock hit makers as well as Charlotte favorites. The weekly lineup is as follows:

1/29: Eve 6 (pictured above) with American Aquarium

5/6: Acoustic Syndicate

5/13: Fuel with U-Phonik

5/20: Cowboy Mouth with Simplified

5/27: Big Bad VooDoo Daddy

6/3: Tonic

6/10: Vertical Horizon

6/17: To Be Announced.

Tickets to each show are $5 and a full season pass which includes admission to all eight shows is available for $20. Tickets are available at Scott Clark's Toyota City (13000 E. Independence Blvd.) is also offering free passes.

Events open at 5 p.m. each day with headliners taking the stage around 9. Although the outdoor shows will be over by 11 p.m. Music Factory venues will continue the party inside until 2 a.m. Tickets include concerts admission plus entrance to Butter, Bask, Halo, Mattie’s Diner, The Saloon, VBGB Beer Garden, Wet Willies, and the Red Bull Outdoor Lounge. A portion of the proceeds from the events benefit Kids First of the Carolinas.

Simplified celebrates cd release Friday at Visulite

Charlotte rock band Simplified, who has been selling out The Visulite for a couple of years now, will celebrate the release of its latest album “Brighter Days” Friday at the Elizabeth Avenue venue. It sounds like the group pulled out all the stops for the new disc working with producer Jerry DePizzo, the saxophonist for jam rock band O.A.R. (who Simplified has opened for in the past). Jeff Juliano who has worked with the Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, and Train mixed the album and Brian Lucey, who mastered the Grammy winning Black Keys’ album “Brothers” (one of the best sounding albums of last year) handled that aspect of “Brighter Days.”

Fans of Simplified (pictured above) should dig the album’s warm vibe. There are feel good tracks like the reggae-tinged “Sitting on a Mountain” and “My Life” as well as more rocking ready-made singles like the opener “Shall We Begin." I can easily imagine the latter falling into rotation at WEND 106.5. There’s a bit of Dave Matthews and a bit of Matchbox 20 and vocalist Clee Laster’s voice kind of reminds me of the offspring of Matthews and Eddie Vedder but with more restraint. The whole record boasts the kind of relaxed feel Simplified is known for – the kind of chill that warrants a pair of flip-flops and a beer.

If you can't make the show the album is available at, iTunes, and to order online. 8 p.m. $12-$15. 704-358-9200.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mini Review: William Fitzsimmons and Slow Runner at the Muse

Before William Fitzsimmons’ set at Evening Muse Tuesday, his first Charlotte show in quite a while, I heard someone in the audience comment that they liked his voice and music but realized just how sad his lyrics are once they started reading his cd’s liner notes. It's true. Fitzsimmons writes great sad songs (even his one cover - The Smith's "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" - was fittingly depressing).

The Illinois-based songwriter did address such topics as death and divorce, but the show certainly wasn’t a downer.

Backed by Charleston trio Slow Runner, who turned in an opening set on par with Fitzsimmons’, it was a night of thoughtful pop and folk. Several of Slow Runner’s songs, one of which currently appears in a Nivea commercial, have an aura of familiarity to them as good pop music sometimes does. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the songs from their new album “Damage Points” is picked up by VH1.

While Slow Runner gave more of a loud pop-rock performance, Fitzsimmons, who has had a couple songs on “Grey’s Anatomy,” was a quiet singer. That was perfectly ok because most of the time you could hear a pin drop (or more likely a cell phone ring) making it a perfect show for the intimate Muse. The songs may have been serious, but the singer-songwriter was not. He was self-aware and slightly self-deprecating as he joked about his seriously sad songs in a deep speaking voice that was quite the opposite of his singing voice. Of the terrific new tracks from his album “Gold in the Shadow” he said “New songs can be boring.” But in this case, they weren’t.

The arrangements and set up made the songs off the new disc less orchestrated and a touch more raw, an approach that I actually think benefits both the album and the live show. He and the band stepped off the stage with the audience encircling them for the last unamplified song, “Good Morning” (which is how I snapped the photo above).

Food Lion Speed Street festival reveals closing night line-up

Food Lion Speed Street, the annual 17-year-old uptown festival that leads up to the Coca-Cola 600, revealed its closing night line-up today. The bill for Saturday, May 28th, the night before the big race, will feature headliners Eddie Money and Clay Walker with Starship kicking off the concert earlier. It was announced last week that Friday's performers will be power rock trio Everclear and country singer Josh Turner. Both Everclear and Turner were on the 2010 line-up, but both shows were rained out so organizers brought them back this year.

Money had an impressively long run of hits during the `70s and `80s including "Baby Hold On," "Two Tickets to Paradise," "Shakin'," "Take Me Home Tonight" and "I Wanna Go Back."

The latest incarnation of Starship features Mickey Thomas, the voice behind the group's massive `80's hits "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (from the "Mannequin" soundtrack,) "We Built This City" and "Sara." Thomas had already earned a Top 5 hit singing lead on Elvin Bishop's "Fooled Around and Fell In Love" in the `70s before joining the group that evolved from Jefferson Starship. The set will feature singles by both Starships and feature new female vocalist Stephanie Calvert.

Walker, who broke onto the country scene nearly two decades ago with "What's It To You," has had 31 Billboard charting singles. His number ones include "Live Until I Die," "If I Could Make a Living," "Dreaming with My Eyes Open," and "Rumor Has It." His more recent hits are "Fall" and "She Won't Be Lonely Long."

Food Lion Speed Street combines NASCAR fan events and live music. It takes place over three days in uptown Charlotte between May 26 and 28th and is free to the public. The festival begins each day at 12 p.m. Thursday's line-up will be revealed next week. Click here for a complete line-up of Speed Street events.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Avett Brothers' next NC show set for Greensboro.

Fans that witnessed the Avett Brothers sold out concert Saturday at Bojangles Coliseum are already clamoring for an encore if the band's message board is any indication. They may have to wait until October. The Concord-based group announced its next North Carolina date will be at The Greensboro Coliseum Complex's White Oak Amphitheatre Saturday, October 8th. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 15th at 10 a.m. and will be available via, by phone (1-800-745-3000), or at the Complex's box office in Greensboro. Tickets are $37.50-$45 and a portion of the proceeds benefit Gate City Rotary Club. Internet pre-sale begins Wednesday, April 13th at 10 a.m. (Photo above taken from stage at Bojangles Arena Saturday, credit: Crackerfarm).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Elvis Costello back at Belk in July

Elvis Costello will return to Blumenthal Performing Arts' Belk Theater Saturday, July 16th with his band the Imposters (Steve Nieve on keyboards, Pete Thomas on drums and Davey Faragher on bass). What's more, Costello's set list will be determined by the "The Spectacular Spinning Songbook," a game-show style wheel packed with 40 song titles including hits, rarities, and covers. You can play an online version of The Wheel on his website. This approach guarantees his Charlotte set to be quite different from his Charleston and Asheville sets on July 18th and 19th, respectively.

Costello (pictured above) first employed the Spectacular Spinning Wheel on tour in 1986. "Rolling Stone" reported that select audience members will be asked to spin the wheel between songs and will have the chance to sit on-stage in the "Society Lounge" where "light refreshments" will be served.

The Charlotte date is the first in a brief Southern run for "The Revolver Tour."

I'm fascinated by all things random and chance (like the shuffle feature on my iPod) so I'm quite excited by the possibilities and uncertainty of Costello's set list. I'm not sure if the choices on the online wheel reflect the actual wheel, but I wish "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea" would make the cut.

Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. 704-372-1000;

Locals Eyes of the Elders up for possible Bonnaroo gig.

Charlotte hip-hop outfit Eyes of the Elders is in the running to play the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. The group is currently 7th (out of a whopping 500) in the Road to Roo competition in which the most downloaded artists move on to the final round. Bonnaroo's music supervisors will then choose two artists from the top eight to play the 2011 festival this summer.

To download the Eyes of the Elder track (via Facebook) and simultaneously cast your vote for homegrown hip-hop go here. You'll receive a download of EOE's new single and be entered to win two tickets to Bonnaroo. Voting ends Friday, April 15th at midnight. Bonnaroo takes place June 9th-12th in Manchester, Tennessee.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review: Sold-out Avett Brothers' concert at Bojangles' Coliseum

The Avett Brothers returned to the Charlotte stage Saturday for the first time since August 2009. The last time it played Bojangles Coliseum the release of its Rick Rubin-produced major label debut was still nearly two months away. Anticipation and promise were on the horizon, but that gig didn’t sell out. 

With the Rubin record, an “Austin City Limits” episode, a live DVD of that Charlotte show (which airs on Palladia), and a February performance with Bob Dylan at the 53rd Annual Grammy awards, the now higher profile band easily sold out the venue well in advance this time. 

The Avetts chose John Denver’s telling “Back Home Again” for its intimate opener as the original trio gathered at stage front with acoustic guitars and upright bass. Lyrics like “Sometimes this old farm feels like a long-lost friend” were no doubt ones the Concord band could’ve written about their own home. The warmth with which the hometown crowd greeted them gave me chills. The intensity of the crowd as the full band launched into “Head Full Of Doubt, Road Full of Promise” (from 2009’s “I and Love and You”) made it feel like a finale. That instantaneous momentum didn’t let up as the crowd sang and shouted loudly through a Cajun-tinged version of “The Fall” and concert staples “Die Die Die,” “Shame,” “Distraction #74,” and “Go to Sleep.” 

The band, as always, was a bundle of energy. Cellist Joe Kwon never seemed to stop vibrating. Scott Avett seemed lighter than ever before, lifting off the stage as he pumped his kick drum pedal with one foot and kicked the other out behind him. Seth Avett exhibited a similar effortlessness during the encore high kicking repeatedly as if simultaneously channeling both the Rockettes and Bruce Lee.

Seth Avett’s “January Wedding” slowed the runaway pace and gave way to a new song that the group has reportedly been playing since New Year’s. The arrangement was fuller than older songs, but still true to the band’s sound. Older tunes like Crawford’s solo “Letter to a Pretty Girl," “Hard Worker” and “Pretty Girl from Cedarlane” (all from 2004’s “Mignonette”) were somewhat surprising inclusions while set staple “Swept Away” was omitted. “The Gleam II” EP was well represented with the intimate “Tear Down the House” and “Murder in the City” (always a showstopper for me). 

There were a few differences in the set from the previous Coliseum date including two large video screens, streamers draped across the lighting rig, and a triangle of beaded chandeliers hanging over the crowd and adding a bit of much needed ambiance to the venue. 

For fans that have seen the Avetts numerous times fresh arrangements of some songs added another layer. “Kick Drum Heart” got a bigger piano power pop treatment that morphed into a jammy Southern rock breakdown before leading into a bouncy piano pop version of “Colorshow.” “Pretend Love” verged on becoming a country torch song. I could imagine Patsy Cline doing it. Other surprises included a second cover (I don’t think I’d ever heard them do one before tonight). This time it was John Prine’s “Spanish Pipedream,” which the Avetts recorded for a Prine tribute.

After 22 songs in nearly two hours the band predictably closed its set with “I and Love and You,” leaving practically the entire room with its three fingers raised. The group returned for the hyper spoken-word stomp of “Talk on Indolence” and ended the set with “Laundry Room.” 

Grace Potter, all killer legs and swinging hair, opened the show with a 45-minute set. And what an opener she and her band the Nocturnals were. It might have been hard for a lesser act to follow Potter whose powerhouse vocals and instrumental versatility is as impressive as her stage presence and good looks. Who else could shimmy in a sequined miniskirt and heels and cover Gillian Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues” minutes later? She will be back in Charlotte at the Fillmore in August. The Avetts will play Greensboro October 8th. Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Khalifa, Gray, Potter, Ke$ha among upcoming concerts

Ke$ha’s concert at The Fillmore Saturday, April 16th may be sold out but fans will have another chance to catch her when she returns to the area in August. She’ll play Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre August 10th with party starters LMFAO and Spank Rock.
If you miss Grace Potter & the Nocturnals opening for the Avett Brothers tomorrow night (or if you’re enamored with the fiery songstress after Saturday’s show) you’ll get a chance to see her again when she and her band headline The Fillmore August 26th.
In other concert news David Gray will play Ovens Auditorium July 2nd. Lisa O'Neill will open. Tickets for all three shows go on sale Friday, April 15th at 10 a.m.
Wiz Khalifa's (pictured) Rolling Papers Tour rolls into Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre July 20th. Big Sean and Chevy Woods are also on the bill. Tickets for that show go on sale Wednesday April 20th at 10 a.m. Tickets for all shows are available at, The Fillmore box office, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

JJ Grey and Lucero headline US National Whitewater Spring Festival.

The US National Whitewater Center kicks off the spring season and its concert series with Americana and roots rock heavy hitters. Modern bluesman J. J. Grey and Mofro and renowned singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves perform on the island Coca-Cola Zero stage Friday, April 15th. Saturday, April 16th it's the biting, rootsy rock n' roll of Memphis sextet Lucero (pictured above) and Athens' rockers Bloodkin.

The weekend festivities also include the USA Canoe/Kayak National Team Trials during the day. Music begins at 7 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets cover entry into both concerts. $20 advance, $25 day of show, which is actually a good deal considering what you'd pay to see either headliner separately. There are no single day tickets available.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Josh Groban offers student discount for June concert.

Josh Groban will offer specially priced student tickets for his upcoming "Straight To You" World Tour, which makes a stop at Time Warner Cable Arena Friday, June 10th.

Student tickets are now available for $25 with valid ID at the venue box office, Ticketmaster outlets, or online at and Tickets purchased online can only be picked up at the venue box office with valid ID.

Regularly priced tickets are $76.65 to $96.15 including ticketing fees. Even with fees the discounted student tickets are $33.15. While the seats that are currently available at this price aren't the best in the house, they are still on the lower level. It looks like its a good time to be a Groban fan. Maybe other artists will follow suit?

This week's hot concerts (4/8-4/14)

8 p.m. Saturday Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. $20-$23.
Founders Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum make their way back to Charlotte for the first time in over five years still steering the hair metal hold-out responsible for “Up All Night” and “Fly To the Angels.”

William Fitzsimmons
8 p.m. Tuesday Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $15-$17. 704-376-3737.
The hirsute songwriter’s new album “Gold in the Shadow” is nothing short of lovely; a deep, delicate listen that’s easy on the ears and cracking album charts internationally.

Taj Mahal Trio
7 p.m. Wednesday Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $35-$55. 704-358-9298.
The adventurous blues and Americana legend (who dips outside those geographic parameters) is somewhat of a national treasure that doesn’t seem to let up with age.

The Whigs
8 p.m. Thursday Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $14-$16. 704-358-9298.
This fired up Athens trio practically stole the show when it opened for Kings of Leon in September. It continues to evolve into one of the South’s best rock acts on its third album “In the Dark.”

Rusted Root
8 p.m. Thursday Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave. $25-$28.
For a 1995 hit, this world music rooted jam band’s biggest song “Send Me on My Way” certainly has legs enjoying a resurgence in the `00s through TV’s “Chuck,” “Ice Age,” and an Enterprise commercial.

Matthew Mayfield
8 p.m. Thursday Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave. $5/Ladies Free. 704-376-1446.
This Alabama rocker’s husky vocals and orchestrated pop-rock songs strike somewhere between Ryan Bingham and the Fray. He continues his three week Thursday night residency.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Carolina Gator Gumbo plays Rodi Saturday with guest fiddler.

Resident Cajun party band Carolina Gator Gumbo will play Gastonia eatery Rodi Saturday. I can't think of a better reason to head to Gastonia. Gator Gumbo is a wonderfully warm, energetic combo that's as well educated in its genre as it is enthusiastic about it. I don't get to Gaston County often, but the food at Rodi is enough to warrant the drive.

Because regular fiddler Tom Eure (pictured with the group above) isn't able to make Saturday' show, Chapel Hill's Matt Haney will fill-in. The band reports that, "Matt learned Cajun fiddle from masters including Dewey Balfa and has performed with greats like Tracy Schwartz." He also performed with the Bone Tones and now has a trio with his wife, Sara.

The aptly named band will be firing up diners from 8 to 10 p.m.

Grace Potter to headline Bonnaroo Buzz Tour.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, who will open the Avett Brothers' sold out show at Bojangles Coliseum Saturday, are set to headline the Bonnaroo Buzz Tour. The 13-date tour runs May 17th to June 9th - the same day the four-day Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival launches in Manchester, Tennessee.

The Bonnaroo Buzz Tour stops at Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre May 29th. Tickets on sale Friday.
The bill also includes Futurebirds, Gary Clark, Jr., the Black Box Revelation, and comedian Julian McCullough. Potter (pictured above at "VH1 Divas Salute the Troops") is also on the line-up for this year's Bonnaroo which includes headliners Eminem, Arcade Fire, Widespread Panic, and the reunion of Buffalo Springfield.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Benefit for Tyger and Enoree Rivers Sunday

Musicians will gather Sunday to raise funds and awareness for The Tyger-Enoree River Alliance, an advocacy group for the Tyger and Enoree Rivers in South Carolina’s Sumter National Forest. The bill includes Kings Mountain native and Nashville songwriter Curt Collins, Pamela Dale, Jon Durham and Freddy Vanderford, Brandon Turner, Kennon Knight and Dusty Singleton. A cookout will kick off the event at 1 p.m. with entertainment to follow. Raffles will be held for a Fender acoustic guitar and two custom cigar box instruments called Double Neck Low Bows.

The Tyger-Enoree River Alliance conducts litter drives, water quality monitoring, wildlife enhancement, and community issues on the Tyger-Enoree Rivers and in the surrounding watershed community. The event will take place at Bruce T. Rush Pavilion on the Anne Springs Greenway near Lake Haigler in Fort Mill. Suggested donation is $10. For more information on the alliance visit

VH1 suggests you get to know the Civil Wars

If you were at either of the Civil Wars' Evening Muse shows, be glad. The Nashville duo of John Paul White and Joy Williams sold out the NoDa venue in February and will undoubtedly move on to selling out larger venues given that VH1 has added it to its "You Oughta Know" lineup. The network added its video for "Barton Hollow," the title track from its Top 12 album, into rotation last week after a 10-week run on CMT.

It doesn't seem like there's a lot of crossover between the two networks, but Civil Wars could easily fall into either camp straddling the line between Americana and the adult contemporary pop that VH1 often finds "You Oughta Know"-worthy.

The group formed in 2009 after the two songwriters were paired together in a writing session. Since then a key placement on "Grey's Anatomy" (for its song "Poison & Wine"), live television appearances, spots on NPR, and endorsements from peer-fans Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott, and Sara Barreilles have helped spur big iTunes sales.

If you haven't heard the combo yet its "Live from Eddie's Attic" EP is still available for free download on its website.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Last chance to see the Stellas.

Popular Charlotte rock band the Stellas will perform a farewell show Saturday, April 23rd at Evening Muse.

"We wanted to go our separate ways musically and pursue different things," says vocalist/guitarist Adam Middleton. "We all felt like the Stellas had gone on as long as it could (or) should."

He and drummer Jacob Worden have already started a new band, the Spiveys, who has been playing shows and stirring up a bit of a local buzz. Its already at work recording its debut album with Joe Kuhlmann. If you like catchy, airwaves-ruling `90s pop-rock or the Stellas you should definitely check them out.

Middleton reports that he'll also be involved in Stellas' guitarist/vocalist Shaun McFall's new band the Mail Order Brides.

The Stellas, who toured the Middle East performing for US soldiers in 2009, was at times capable of brilliant pop-rock moments. I thought its song "Vampires" (from its 2008 debut disc "Cry Baby Cry") could've been a runaway hit and often included it on mix cds for friends (yes, I still do that). The Stellas had several of those smart, catchy rock songs.

Luckily the band will release the remainder of those as an extremely limited cd (only 200 copies pressed, which pretty much guarantees I'll be at the show).

"Included will be five tracks from our unfinished follow-up to 'Cry Baby Cry' plus a few songs we re-recorded for radio," says Middleton.

Copies will be for sale at the Evening Muse (3227 N. Davison St.) show on the 23rd. 10:30 p.m., $8-10.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mini Review: Dashboard Confessional solo acoustic at Amos'

Chris Carrabba, the driving force behind Dashboard Confessional played an acoustic solo show Friday at Amos' Southend to commemorate the 10th anniversary of DC's debut album, "The Swiss Army Romance." He started with my favorite track, "Screaming Infidelities" (which I assumed he would since its the first song on that album) and ended with my friend's (who took the above photo with her phone) - "Hands Down." In between he played "Swiss Army Romance," took requests, and led his devotees in spot-on sing-alongs with an appreciative grin.

Carrabba could just step away from the microphone and the legion of 1,000 fans hanging on his every word would dutifully finish a passage or completely run with it as they did during the final verse of "The Best Deceptions" late in the show. There was a connection there that illustrated how much his words mean to his audience and made those group sings different from a beer-raising, party anthem that everybody knows the words to because they've heard it on the radio a zillion times.

The set-up was simple. Carrabba in jeans and a blue button-up switched between a few classic old acoustic guitars, one of which was so worn it looked as if Coca-Cola had sprayed across the top where the finish was wearing away (I loved the look of it). His performance was so engaging I barely noticed the lack of a backing band. Songs like "Hands Down" and "As Lovers Go" (during which he verged on going hoarse) were a little slower and certainly less pop-punk than the album versions. Another highlight was "Vindicated" from the "Spiderman 2" soundtrack. Again, really not missing anything in its acoustic form.

Also of note, he didn't do an encore, mentioning that he didn't want to waste time (his and the audience's presumably) by pretending to leave the stage then return to a shower of applause just to play some more. "That would take like six minutes, that's what? Two songs," he said.
I wish more performers felt that way. He'd already received the adulation, so why not just skip the formalities and give the crowd a couple more songs.

Friday, April 1, 2011

YouTube sensations to play The Saloon at NC Music Factory.

YouTube sensations make their way from computer screens to stage April 26th at The Saloon at the NC Music Factory. The YouTube DigiTour lineup includes the Gregory Brothers, who have racked up hundreds of thousands of mouseclicks with Auto-Tune the News, as well as singer-songwriter David Choi, parody artist Dave Days, Mystery Guitar Man, covers drummer Ricky Ficarelli, rapper DeStorm and others. These may not be household names, but their videos have been viewed over a billion times collectively. Days (pictured above) is actually the most subscribed artist on YouTube. A Weird Al Yankovic for the modern era his video sendups of Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Lonely Island (my favorite - not as crass as the original but still maybe not for kiddies) have been watched millions of times. On the flipside Choi’s romantic breakup-song videos have garnered over 2 million hits each as well. Tickets are $20.

In addition to the DigiTour you can expect to see more music at The Saloon (1000 Seaboard St). The restaurant/bar/venue has gone through changes recently expanding its stage and lighting in order to host more national acts and bigger local draws. The transition began with the sold out Edwin McCain New Year’s Eve show. The former Black Bear Saloon, which serves a large menu that’s broader and better than your average bar food as well as late night fare, is adding a variety of acts to its calendar. Kids from School of Rock will perform at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and will return next weekend to pay tribute to Queen. Locals Evelynn Rose play Thursday. Wavy Train will warm up moe. fans Saturday, April 9th and more pre-show events are in the works to coincide with the Fillmore and Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre concerts.