Sunday, December 20, 2015

Final thoughts and my Tremont weekend photos

Saturday night Tremont Music Hall held its final show - a day long festival-style bill that ended with Charlotte's Antiseen taking an ax to the stage. The ax didn't do much damage - only 200 Insane Clown Posse fans could take that stage down, as they did back in the late `90s when the stage collapsed during their set.

Here are my personal photos of many former and current employees and both shows - Friday's Junior Astronomers, the Verdict, and Watch Husky Burn, and Saturday's headlining Antiseen set. Mostly these photos are about some of the folks that worked there, although there are plenty of people I remember who were not there.

I saw my first show at Tremont in September 1995. It was my boss' band Laburnum. There are few things you can depend on to always be there in your life. Favorite bands break up. Favorite restaurants close. Pets die. I always felt like "General Hospital" was one fixture in my life - I've been watching since I was 5. Tremont was the other. It survived three owners, as well as the opening of almost every other venue in town besides the Milestone and Double Door. It's almost a point of pride for the people involved that it was development, not competition, that killed it.

Watching Junior Astronomers final set there Friday reminded me what Tremont was all about. It's rare to see local fans so excited about local bands - we often take them for granted, which is understandable. But Junior's fans gave as much as they got, singing along, crowd surfing, fists pumping. It gave me chills. Locals championing locals. The guys in Junior Astronomers started playing, like so many other Charlotte musicians, on Tremont's stage as kids and they encompass what fostering a youthful local scene is all about. They're good. They tour nationally. They nurture the local and regional music scene. And most importantly they inspire the kind of enthusiasm that's contagious.

As a mother I don't know that I want to live in a city where kids and fledgling musicians don't have a place to go, to watch bands, to learn to perform, book, and promote.

Friday, December 18, 2015

This week's hot concerts

John Cowan and Darin & Brooke Aldridge

Friday 8 p.m., Don Gibson Theater, 318 Washington St., Shelby, $27.50,

 The New Grass Revival founder, Doobie Bros’ bassist, and solo artist teams up with the award winning NC bluegrass couple for the first of a series of concerts which find the soul singing bass player revisiting material he hasn’t played in years, including songs by his groundbreaking new grass band, the Doobies, and the duo’s renowned work.

Friday 8 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $12-$14,
Describing this NC act is a playful exercise in musical terminology. With roots in folk, art, pop, rock, world, and um, roots, this now 10-year-old Durham-based act play with the abandon of punks at RenFair. But its broad appeal extends to the pop side too. Its song “Amy’s Friend” was heard in Amy Shumer’s summer comedy “Trainwreck.”
Dillon Fence

Friday 8:30 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $18-$20,

In the `90s this NC power pop act went from playing frat parties to scoring college rock hits like “Living Room Scene.” Two decades after its demise (and with the occasional reunion tour), this marks the classic lineup’s only holiday show and boasts Hootie and the Blowfish’s Mark Bryan as the opening act – much like the early days.

Junior Astronomers/The Verdict/Watch Husky Burn

Friday 9 p.m., Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave., $8-$10,

The second to last show before the 20-year-old rock club closes its doors features one band made up of former employees whose tenure dates back nearly to the club’s beginning, a one-time reunion of a Charlotte dream pop band few thought would regroup, and a local linchpin that spent its formative years honing its indie-rock sound there.

Gina Sicilia

Friday 9 p.m., Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave., $10-$12,

You’ve heard of blue-eyed soul? Consider this Philly songstress brown eyed blues whose rich alto swims in electric blues and R&B with splashes of pop and Americana. Her latest is “The Alabama Sessions,” which was featured on several reality TV shows. She on to her next project, kicking off a fan funding campaign last month.

Temperance League

Friday 9:30 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $5,

Consider it a friendly duel? The best of both worlds? Or at least the best of the largest metropolitan areas in the Carolinas when Charlotte rockers Temperance League and always experimental vets It’s Snakes meet Durham’s punky Red Collar and recent NC transplant Mike V., leader of New Jersey’s show-stopping rock n’ rollers the Everymen.

Goodbye Tremont

Saturday 12 p.m., Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave., $10-$15,

In typical Tremont fashion, the Southend club will go out with a day long, 17-band bill that leans on what the club stood for – all ages, local metal, punk, and hard rock. The Body Bags kick things off followed by Tattermask, Everthrone, F-Dux, 403 M.O.B., the Beat Downs, the Fill-Ins, and a host of others before Antiseen tears up the stage one last time.

Parranda Navidena

Saturday 7 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $20-$25,

Immerse yourself in Latin American culture, music and food at the 2nd annual Venezuelan Christmas celebration featuring music from former Gran Coquivacao singer Juan Carlos Acaya and his Miami/Venezuela-based band SwinGaitero, who’ll play holiday classics following tropical band Ultimanota and dance by Raices Venezolanas.

Acoustic Syndicate

Saturday 8:30, Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $15-$20,

Once Western Carolinas’ biggest new grass export, these days the Cleveland County quintet spends more time on the farm (or at nine to five jobs) than on the road. But the band always makes time for its annual show at Visulite, especially following the reinvigorated group’s 2013 rural Americana-steeped release “Rooftop Garden.”  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

This week's hot concerts

Weirdo Winter Formal
Friday 7:30 p.m., Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave., $7,
Charlotte’s indie underground celebrate Tremont with a punk prom which will undoubtedly look like your high school dance gone wrong – or right. Noise punks YARBS, garage rock foursome Del Rio, a reunited Mon Frere, keytar duo Sext Message, punky, female-fronted fuzz-pop trio Alright, and soulful pop-rockers Good Bones play.

Samantha Fish
Friday 8 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $15-$18,
There’s a raw, by-the-seat-of-her-pants quality to this young blues guitarist and Blues Music Award winning singer’s new album, “Wild Heart.” Produced by North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther Dickinson, who crisscrossed Southern studios with Fish to record, “Wild Heart” captures a true blues-rock slide player, shredder and soulful singer.
John Scofield and Jon Cleary
Friday 8 p.m., McGlohon Theatre, 345 N. College St., $27.50-$37.50,
Modern jazz guitar pioneer Scofield and British ex-pat/New Orleans’ R&B pianist Cleary join forces following new albums. Scofield’s “Past Present” features his band from 1990, while Cleary’s “Gogo Juice” includes some of recently departed New Orleans’ legend Allen Toussaint’s last work. He wrote most of the horn arrangements.
Southern Culture on the Skids/6 String Drag
Friday 9 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $18,
The chicken slinging North Carolina institution returns for what’s become an annual holiday-timed concert. This time the blatantly Southern twang trio bring Chapel Hill’s reunited 6 String Drag along for the ride. Songwriter Kenny Roby’s band was a force in alt-country in the `90s and is back with an intense new record after a six year hiatus.
Luis Miguel
Monday 8 p.m., Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St., $34-$164,
Recording since the age of 11 and winning his first Grammy at 14 (for a duet with Scottish pop star Sheena Easton), the Mexican crooner is a best-selling Latin music giant with practically unmatched celebrity in Spanish-speaking circles. He’s been a tabloid magnet for decades and his personal life is as rich as his famous voice.  

Between the Buried and Me
Thursday 7 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $20,
It would be fitting for the progressive metal outfit with Charlotte roots to play the venue where it got its start before it closes for good four days later, but the 15-year-old technical metal wizards moved to bigger stages a few years ago. The band ends its current tour here with Enslaved. Intronaut, and Native Construct.
Rising Appalachia
Thursday 8 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $15-$18,
Sisters Leah and Chloe create quiet, harmony-driven world folk with soul edge. The duo’s music crosses the strong feminist voice of Ani Difranco with the eclectic tone of Michael Franti. In fact they’d be a fitting addition to Franti’s yoga and music tour, promoting sustainability in everything from roots music to what the clubs they play serve.