Friday, January 30, 2015

This week's hot concerts

Reverb Fest Presents Eskimo Kisses
Friday  8 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $10-$12,
While the Northeast digs out, Charlotte is playing Eskimo. Kisses that is. Rated one of the city’s top home grown independent festivals in 2014, the six band bill features Nashville’s Diarrhea Planet, Carolinians Southern Femisphere and Museum Mouth, and Charlotte’s Junior Astronomers, Serfs, and Patois Counselors (Bo White’s new band making its live debut).

Temperance League/Richard Bacchus
Friday  9 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., Free,
The Charlotte rock sextet celebrates its third album, "The Night Waits" - a sort of love letter to the city inspired by the dichotomy of making a living while making art - with two sets. One's early. One's late sandwiching D Generation's Richard Bacchus who played guitar with the `90s NYC glam punk act before settling in Raleigh. 

Crystal Bowersox
Saturday  8 p.m., Don Gibson Theater, 318 Washington St., Shelby, $22.50-$24.50,  
The down to Earth single mom, songwriter, and road warrior continues to trade on the momentum gained as an “American Idol” season 9 runner-up crossing the bluesy Janis Josplinesque voice she demonstrated on the show with the tempered country rock of her own rootsy original material.

Mardi Gras Party
Saturday  7 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $8,
The dancehall vibe of Louisiana returns to NoDa to celebrate Mardis Gras with long-running Cajun/Creole outfit Carolina Gator Gumbo and the Charlotte band’s Western Carolina cousin Zydeco Ya Ya, who add a dash of zydeco and swamp pop to the stew. Two step lessons begin at 7:30 p.m. with the bands starting at 8 p.m.

Eryn Woods
Sunday  8:30 p.m., Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave., $8-$10, 
The mohawked Atlanta-based, Pride Festival favorite is like a campier, Southern Robyn. She boasts a colorful following of fans called Kupcakes, which fits the rainbow of feel-good emotions her brand of pop-punk and spikey dance music inspires. She’s paired with Stitchy C, 403 M.O.B., and Ambiguous.

Motion City Soundtrack
Monday  7 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory, $31.58,  
To commemorate the decade mark of the release of its most commercially successful album, “Commit This To Memory,” the Minneapolis pop-punk combo are playing the Mark Hoppus-produced (Blink 182) record in its entirety and stirring up nostalgia for Bush era emo angst. With Copeland and Better Off.

Snocore Tour
Tuesday  7:30 p.m., Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St., $20-$23,  
Although fans remain divided over Flyleaf adopting a new singer after Lacey Sturm’s exit, the Texas hard rockers’ fourth album “Between the Stars” finds them evolving beyond angst-driven metal into a still aggressive sound that’s more No Doubt on steroids. They team with Adelita’s Way, Framing Hanley, and Fit For Rivals for the annual Snocore Tour.

Wednesday  10 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., Free,
The Charlotte rock trio is simultaneously looking forward and back with the recent release of its new three track EP “Bye Bye Danger Woman” and a month long residency featuring it’s 2013 “Collywobble” rock opera which will be performed in individual acts each Wednesday in February.

Thursday  9 p.m., Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St., $15,  
On its third album - 2014’s “Filling in the Color” - the Alabama duo continues to meld disco and dance music, horn-laden funk, loose R&B and groove-oriented rock that forms an intersection of modern electronic music and the jam band world that band member Zion Rock Godchaux’s mom helped start as a member of the Grateful Dead.

Friday, January 23, 2015

CLT rapper releases another thought provoking music video

Charlotte rapper Deniro Farrar released another new video from his "Rebirth" EP this week. When it comes to thought provoking videos, Farrar isn't messing around. There's usually some interesting juxtaposition or unexpected twist in the up and coming artist's music videos that further places him in league with other national acts. It's not always pretty, but is much more cerebral than your average guns, booze, and booty clips. The video for "Burning Bills" features Farrar on the run from klan members, but what's interesting is it's not obviously set 100 or even 50 years ago. The story also plays out like a fantasy that is well matched with the eerie track.

The track does include profanity and the video features some violence, although mostly off screen. So keep that in mind before clicking play.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

This week's hot concerts

Gregory Alan Isakov
Friday  7:30 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $17-$20,
The acclaimed South African singer-songwriter, who was raised in Philly and runs a small farm in Colorado, has released two stunningly good indie-folk records. His latest, “The Weatherman,” lit up Billboard’s folk charts and put him in the company of songwriters like Dylan, Springsteen, and contemporary Josh Ritter.

Destructo/Motez/Anna Lunoe/T. Williams
Friday,  10 p.m., Label, 900 NC Music Factory Blvd., Free, $15, $50 VIP,
The Ship2Ship Tour sails into Label captained by EDM pioneer Destructo (aka electronic music promoter, A&R exec, and DJ Gary Richards), Aussie by way of Iraq house DJ Motez, up and coming Australian producer and artist/DJ Anna Lunoe, and London's T. Williams, who perform individual sets as well as collaborate on stage later in the night. 

Saturday  8 p.m., Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St., $20-$23/$32.95 VIP,
Since revving up his chainsaw for the 1992 hit “Lumberjack,” Jackyl singer Jesse James Dupree and his bluesy Southern rock band have enjoyed a recent renaissance thanks to his role on Reelz network’s “Full Throttle Saloon.” The show follows Dupree and co-owner Mike Ballard as they run the biggest biker bar in the world.

Marshall Tucker Band
Saturday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $33.58,  
The Spartanburg country-rock stalwart kicks off its 44th year together this week with the Searching for Rainbow Tour. Led by singer Doug Gray the group continues to unearth old live recordings and tour relentlessly just as its music and name reach new ears thanks to TV, commercials, and Florida Georgia Line’s MTB name-dropping song “Cruise.”

Yonatan Gat
Saturday  9 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $7, 
During its run from 2005 to 2011, Israeli rockers Monotonix were notorious for outrageous stage antics and blistering garage rock. Guitarist Gat takes the unpredictability a step further experimenting with improvisations that bounce from surf to Middle Eastern to rock to Afrobeat - a task that led The Village Voice to crown him the best guitarist in NYC.

Saturday  10 p.m., Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave., $12,
Armed with an instrument he created from metal, strings, and electronics called the Magic Pipe, Mike Silverman is like the MacGyver of music. He powers through quirky funk with a booming baritone that resonates with character. Magic Club VIP ticket holders can experience the pipe up close during a pre-show Q&A and demonstration.

Mac McCaughan
Sunday  6 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $10,  
It’s been over a decade since influential Chapel Hill indie rockers Superchunk played Charlotte despite touring again in 2013 and 2014, but Superchunk/Portstatic frontman and Merge Records co-founder McCaughan makes a rare solo appearance. Turn up for his scrappy, intimate set and remind him why his other bands should book shows here too.

Funk Cancer Benefit
Sunday  3 p.m., Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St., $20,
The third annual benefit concert and silent auction has raised over $15,000 for brain tumor research at Duke University. This year’s lineup includes Pat Walters and Steve Stoekel from the Spongetones joining the Coconut Groove Band for a set of Beatles’ tunes, Coconut Groove pumping out Steely Dan and Chicago covers, and Bump City East charging through Tower of Power’s best.

Australian Bee Gees Show
Thursday  7:30 p.m., Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd., $62.48-$81.59,  
While some tributes honor acts that may tour through town next summer, this Aussie homage to the disco-eclipsing trio offers something you won’t hear live unless Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake decide to take their “SNL” act on the road. This nostalgia trip - on loan from Vegas’ Excalibur Casino - captures the group’s look and sound.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Whitewater Center reveals lineups for Spring festivals

Tuck Fest, the US National Whitewater Center's annual outdoor lifestyle and live music festival, revealed part of the 3-day event lineup. Jason Isbell and J.J. Grey and Mofro will headline Friday and Sunday nights, respectively.

The festival runs April 17-19. Saturday's lineup has not been announced.

Indiana-bred Strand of Oaks - songwriter Tim Showalter backed by a full band - will join award winning Americana singer-songwriter and former Drive-By Trucker Isbell Friday. Acclaimed NC songwriter MC Taylor, who performs under the name Hiss Golden Messenger will open Sunday's show followed by roots rockers Bronze Radio Return and Mofro.

The three-day festival includes a variety of outdoor exhibitions, demonstrations, and sporting competitions including biking, paddleboarding, trail running, kayaking, climbing, slacklining, and adventure racing.

The US National Whitewater Center hosts weekly live music and monthly outdoor concerts from March to October. It begins its concert season with the 5th Annual Green River Revival March 14. The daytime concert, which follows the Color Me Green 5K that morning and the dyeing of the river, features Durham's Bombadil and Charlotte's Matrimony.

Friday, January 16, 2015

This week's hot concerts

Dickey Betts & Great Southern
Friday  8 p.m., Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St., $35/$60 VIP,  
Three months after his old band the Allman Brothers took its final bow and six years after giving up extensive touring, the 71 year old influential Southern rock and blues guitarist is back for a quick four day jaunt around the South.

Winter Jam
Sunday  6 p.m., Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St., $10 at the door,  
The annual touring Christian music festival celebrates 20 years with Skillet, Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Building 429, For King & Country, Newsong, Family Force 5, and speaker Tony Nolan with a pre-party featuring Blanca, About a Mile, and Veridia.

Tosco Music Party
Saturday  7:30 p.m., Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., $17-$23,  
The sing-along and variety-style live music sampling kicks off 2015 with the first of three annual concerts in the 25-plus year series. Acts are Charlie King, Charlotte Jazz Orchestra, Elias Roochvarg, Evan, Xie, Hawaiian Kine Band, Jenna Lindbo Justin Tosco, Kim Richardson, Little Big String Band, Renee Ebalaroza, Sweet Claudette, and others.

Monday  7:30 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $14-$17,  
With pop-punk anthems that pogo with angry calls for social justice and equality, the Pittsburgh political punk band began celebrating its 20th anniversary with the release of last year’s aptly titled retrospective “A Document of Dissent.” Now it commemorates the 10th anniversary of its album “The Terror State” by revisiting it live in its entirety.

River Whyless
Wednesday  8 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $8-$10,
With its 2012 debut the Asheville roots quintet, who releases its self-titled EP Tuesday, traded in contemplative, pastoral songwriting, rich string arrangements, bright, but melancholy harmonies and frank delivery that evokes Band of Horses or the Avett Brothers mixed with the sweet female fronted `90’s alt-pop bands like the Cranberries or the Sundays.

King Tuff
Wednesday  9 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $10-$13,
The rock n’ roll alter-ego of Kyle Thomas is a favorite of Sirius/XMU’s indie set. On his third record for SubPop, “Black Moon Spell,” he takes gnarly stoner-rock distortion and speeds up the tempos for a ride that’s more psychedelic garage rock funhouse than mid-tempo fuzz meltdown. It’s also bigger on pop hooks than college radio suggests.

Hot Club of Cowtown
Thursday  8 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $22,  
On the Texas swing trio’s seventh album, “Rendezvous in Rhythm,” the band delves into Gypsy jazz and American standards using legendary French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli and guitarist Django Reinhardt and Paris in the 1930s as inspiration.

Wednesday 13
Thursday  8 p.m., Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave., $12-$15,
The L.A.-based, China Grove native returns to his old rocking grounds two days after the release of his latest album, “Monsters of the Universe: Come Out and Plague,” which finds the punk/metal horror rocker focusing on recent interests in aliens and conspiracy theories. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of signature gore and camp.

Covers for a Cause
Thursday  9 p.m., Double Door, 1228 Charlottetown Ave., $5, 
A who’s who of local musicians pay tribute to Fleetwood Mac at this Community School of the Arts fundraiser. Performers include Reeve Coobs, Sam the Lion, Benji Hughes, Chalkies, Mike Strauss, Gigi Dover, Truckstop Preachers, Amigo, Pam Taylor, Lenny Federal, and Loose Lugnuts.

Michaela Anne/Girls Guns & Glory
Thursday  8 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $8-$10,   
For a New York transplant and country singer-songwriter Anne has a knack for capturing honest longing, independent spirit, and the weepy twang of the Southern experience on her debut album, “Ease My Mind.” She’s paired with snappy-dressing, Boston roots rock outfit GG&G, who Rolling Stone named one of 10 bands to watch last fall.

Friday, January 9, 2015

This week's hot concerts

Michael McDermott
Friday  8 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $8-$10,
Hailed early on by Stephen King as a new Springsteen and having since lived a wild life that inspired the film “Rounders” (its screenwriter gave him his first deal), the once down and out Chicago born singer-songwriter is on an upswing having raised over $50,000 for his next album with his band the Westies via Kickstarter.

A Night with Charlotte Legends
Saturday  8 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $10,  
The trio of Donna Duncan, Gigi Dover, and Lenny Federal open this ongoing series showcasing the city’s strong musical roots with artists that built the local scene and have been playing here for decades. The first night focuses on three staples in blues, Americana and soul.

Sext Message
Saturday  9 p.m., The Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd., $5-$7,
Milestone owner Jonathan Hughes (25 Minutes to Go/HU/LK) and his rock n’ roll fashionista wife Stephanie make adorably sexy, lo-fi keytar pop - having purchased the totally `80s instrument after a big tip from Ke$ha no less - in this electronic duo. They celebrate the release of their ton-of-fun first album.

Pullman Strike
Saturday  9 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $7-$10,  
The Charlotte roots rock quintet celebrates the release of its second album, “Silver Lining,” a classic country-rock effort built on lonesome pedal steel, earnest delivery, shuffles and waltzes with complementary guitar picking that adds color and texture with echoes of Drive-By Truckers, Ryan Adams, and Fleetwood Mac.

Radok Fest
Saturday  10 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $5,  
Greevace, Lavamouth, gogo Pilot, Pig F****r, and David Childers pay tribute to the Creative Loafing photographer Chris Radok on the anniversary of his death. Radok, who was known for his music photography and shot for the publication for many years, was murdered during a break-in at his home in January 2011.

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra
Wednesday  7:30 p.m., McGlohon Theater, 345 N. College St., $14.50-$34.50,  
This 12-piece New Zealand ensemble started by Flight of the Conchords’ Ben McKenzie has drawn global attention for its loose, humorous stage show, choir-like harmonies and inventive multi-ukulele renditions of Justin Timberlake, Kings of Leon, Prince, Dolly Parton and Toto songs.

The Independents/Black Cat Attack
Thursday  9 p.m., The Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd., $8,  
It’s hard to think of a better indie horror punk pairing than the Carolina-based stalwarts the Independents and Ontario’s Black Cat Attack. Both make charging, dark and catchy punk. The former was managed by Joey Ramone before his death and the latter features female singer Valerie Knox.

The Whigs
Thursday  9 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $12-$15,  
Since blasting out of Athens with a nerdy garage rock swagger in 2005, the trio has become one of the hardest working American rock bands touring clubs and releasing consistently good albums that show slow growth and maturity while never hampering the original energy. Its latest is its fifth album, “Modern Creation.”

Jarekus Singleton
Thursday  9 p.m., Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave., $10-$12, 
A former college basketball star and rapper who formed his blues combo the year an injury ended a potential career in sports, the Mississippi electric blues guitarist merges innovation through his mix of rock, blues, and hip-hop played on unique custom Clevenger cut-out guitars while carrying the tradition of B.B. King and Muddy Waters. The above video features footage from Charlotte's Double Door Inn. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Charlotte rappers Farrar and Duru Tha King drop new video

Rising Charlotte rappers Deniro Farrar and Duru Tha King released a new video for Duru's track "Torn Love" earlier this week. Farrar also appeared with YB, Bankroll, and Bird on Duru Tha King's hometown anthem "#NewCharlotte" last September.

Farrar enjoyed national attention in 2014. MTV aired his videos and he garnered favorable write-ups in major music magazines as well as toured the US.

You can watch the haunting clip above. It does contain a bunch of profanity, so consider yourself warned. Like much of Farrar's work it presents the struggle and conflict between the hardcore lifestyle of drugs, guns, and crime and spirituality and knowing what's right and wrong, which comes from family and community.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Avett to release duet tribute to Elliott Smith

On the heels of the announcement Tuesday that the Avett Brothers will headline Merlefest this year, comes the news that Seth Avett and singer-songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield will release an album of duets by Elliott Smith. "Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith" will be released on Ramseur Records March 17.

The album was produced by Avett and recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville and in Concord and Mayfield's home of Kent, Ohio. The album also features Scott Avett on banjo, cellist Joe Kwon and violinist Tania Elizabeth of the Avett Brothers' band and Nashville bassist Paul Difiglia, who played with Langhorne Slim and has filled in for the Avett's Bob Crawford live.

Avett and Mayfield talk about the project, which started in October 2011, in the video above.

Dates for a subsequent tour will be released shortly.

Smith died in Los Angeles in 2003 at the age of 34.

The tracklisting is below:
1. Between the Bars
2. Baby Britain
3. Fond Farewell
4. Somebody That I Used to Know
5. Let's Get Lost
6. Twilight
7. Ballad of Big Nothing
8. Angel in the Snow
9. Pitseleh
10. Angeles
11. Roman Candle
12. Memory Lane

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Manson, Slayer, Slipknot, Korn head up Carolina Rebellion

Carolina Rebellion revealed the lineup for the fifth annual hard rock festival, which will be held at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway May 2 and 3.

Korn, who heads up Saturday's lineup with Marilyn Manson, reunited with guitarist Brian "Head" Welch at the 2012 Carolina Rebellion. Welch left the band in 2005 after becoming a born again Christian and rejoined the group permanently in 2013.

Saturday's lineup features Korn, Manson, Rise Against, Sammy Hagar & the Circle (which includes Chickenfoot/Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson), Chevelle, Cheap Trick, Papa Roach, Bush, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, Jackyl, Of Mice & Men, Motionless in White, Periphery, Beartooth, Young Guns, Marmozets, and Islander.

Sunday's lineup includes Slipknot, Godsmack, Slayer, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm, Queensryche, the Pretty Reckless, In This Moment, In Flames, Suicidal Tendencies, Tremonti, Testament, Hatebreed, Starset, Butcher Babies, We Are Harlot, and Exodus.

As with other recent festivals, in its fifth year Carolina Rebellion's lineup continues to diversify toward a larger cross-section of metal and hard rock with classic rock stalwarts (Cheap Trick, Hagar), grunge era heavy hitters (Weiland, Bush), nu-metal and rap-rock forerunners (Korn, Papa Roach), punk, thrash, and hardcore (Rise Against, Suicidal Tendencies, Hatebreed), female rockers (Pretty Reckless, Halestorm, In This Moment), Southern metal (Jackyl), and newer bands like Butcher Babies, Of Mice & Men, and Periphery. As always the festival boasts some of the biggest names in metal in Slayer, Godsmack, Slipknot, and Manson as well as influential artists like Testament and Exodus and old fashioned rock bands Chevelle and Slash and Myles Kennedy.

"We wanted to acknowledge not only the best in current rock with the likes of Slipknot, Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin, and more, but also celebrate some great iconic rock bands like Sammy Hagar & the Circle, Cheap Trick, and Slayer ant others to give the Rebels the wildest range of rock n' roll possible," says co-executive producer Gary Spivack of RockHouse Presents.

Discounted pre-sale tickets are currently available for $99 per weekend pass and $59.50 for a single day pass. Those prices will rise January 16. VIP lounge passes are available starting at $110. Camping passes, military discounts, layaway, and discount packages are available here.

Avetts added to Merlefest lineup

Those craving another North Carolina Avett Brothers show after the band's New Year's Eve in Raleigh may want to pick up Merlefest tickets. The Concord-based band announced today that it will return to the four-day Wilkesboro roots music festival Saturday, April 25.

Merlefest also announced the addition of the Earls of Leicester, who play Friday. The Avetts join Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Hot Rize, Lee Ann Womack, North Mississippi All Stars, Del McCoury Band, Marshall Tucker Band, Robert Earl Keen, Sam Bush Band, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis and a slew of others. The entire lineup is available here.

The Avetts, who have closed out Merlefest in previous years, have a strong connection to the festival. Seth Avett in particular has spoken often about attending the festival as a teenager and Doc Watson's influence and generosity.

The Avetts also announced Tuesday that it will play alongside a completely different lineup of bands at Bottlerock in Napa Valley. It will share the stage with No Doubt, Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant and Foster the People - which certainly speaks to the band's versatile appeal.

Tickets are available for Merlefest here.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My top shows of 2014

I saw a lot of good shows this year - many with my 5 year old and one with both children (Against Me!), which brings about a new set of problems and a new appreciation for certain bands. For most of these I was flying solo. Here are the ones that stand out the most. 

Lionel Richie at PNC Music Pavilion - My sons and I had already watched Richie's streaming Bonnaroo set, so we knew what to expect which was a wicked sense of humor and a sweat-soaked, hit-filled performance. I'm not the only one that hopes he'll be back next year as he promised.

Phantogram at The Fillmore - The light show alone was a feat and light years beyond what the Brooklyn duo pulled off in Asheville a few years ago. It looked and felt like what I imagined club shows would be when I was growing up and unlike in Asheville, I didn't feel like the oldest person in the room. 

Damon Albarn at Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh - My husband and I drove our 5 year old three hours to see one of his musical heroes and although he didn't play any of Blur's hits, it was still an amazing show. His varied work makes him an accomplished role model, but it was also his humbleness, his musicianship and his ability as a band leader that made me glad we brought the kid. 

Outkast at Funkfest - After waiting out the storm, the reunited duo finally took the stage. The rain that did pour couldn't dampen the excitement of finally seeing the hip-hop greats whose performance and charisma was the complete opposite of its awkward Coachella set earlier this year. 

Nostalghia at The Fillmore - Opening for Chino Moreno's +++s, this gothic industrial/chamber rock trio completely won over the crowd thanks mostly to its astoundingly charismatic and quirky frontwoman Ciscandra Nostalghia and its powerful songs. 

DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist at The Fillmore - Paying tribute to Afrika Bambaataa by employing the rap pioneer's record collection and a digital collage of visual art and video, these two created a historical lesson in the evolution of hip-hop and electronic music that was both educational, moving, and a party.

Antiseen's Return at Tremont - After the loss of founding guitarist Joe Young to a heart attack in May, the Charlotte punk legends ended the year on an up note introducing new guitarist Russ Ward to a warm, enthusiastic crowd that seemed relieved that Jeff Clayton decided to rock another day. 

Andy the Doorbum's Alien Native Movement album release show at Charles Holloman Productions - This show was cloaked in mystery. No one knew what to expect from the eccentric freak folk musician (and beloved door bum). What we got was performance art that you couldn't take your eyes off of. 

Lee Fields  & the Expressions at Tremont - There's so much warmth in the room when this NC-native and should-be soul legend returns. Now in his `60s he sounds great, moves great, and remains a gracious frontman for a crack backing band of accomplished if much younger musicians. 

Valient Thorr at Chop Shop - It was the Carolina-bred metal band's first show with a new bassist and its first Charlotte show since the mid-2013 release of its last album "Our Own Masters." Even though it was at the tail end of a five band, five hour show, the delight it brought to the stage made that tiresome wait worth it. This is one of a handful of bands I want to go see once a month. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

This week's hot concerts

The Luciferian Agenda
Friday  10 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $5,  
As hands-on producer for his father David Childers’ acclaimed 2014 album, “Serpents of Reformation,” busy musician Robert Childers drew widespread attention for the unique brand of unbridled, rhythm-centered, gospel-infused folk noir that he regularly creates in his own Luciferian Agenda.

Saturday  10 p.m., Smokey Joe's, 510 Briar Creek Rd., Free,
After traveling the world for nine months - and recording a new album ("The Fearless Corporate Rock Killers") in places like Germany and Greece - Bryan Bielanski returns home to Charlotte to celebrate the resulting album's release.

Jesse Clasen
Saturday  10 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $5,  
As vocalist for HRVRD and Bear Romantic the emotive Charlotte singer and producer was never afraid to experiment. Where others might’ve faltered Clasen seems to have a magic touch, pulling off whatever ideas he has with impressive results (running his voice through guitar pedals for instance). He starts off 2015 with a rare solo performance.

Dillon N’ Ashe/Giant Squid Squad
Saturday  9 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $6,
On its debut album “Far Away” this brother-led Asheville-raised, Boston-based trio illustrates jam-friendly rock with jangly guitars, soulful singing, splashes of reggae and funk, and nimble blues guitar work. It’s paired with Giant Squid Squad, which features members of Actual Proof and Bubonik Funk.

Thera Roya
Sunday  9 p.m., The Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd., $5-$7,  
During long, tempo-shifting songs this Brooklyn trio trades in dynamics-driven metal that drifts between noisy, hardcore assault and methodically sludgy stoner metal with passages of dark, textured, lyrical and intricate guitar work that’s at home in an indie rock landscape. With Black Chasm and Lamperjaw.

Tuesday  9 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $5,  
The electronic outfit headed up by producer Clay Bowman and sound engineer Adam Sweelly celebrates the release of its new EP, which - if its Soundcloud page is any indication - is a collection of easy-on-the-ears, laid back, but danceable electronic music. With Queen City Dub.

Bill Hanna Jazz Jam
Tuesday  9 p.m., Double Door, 1218 Charlottetown Ave., $7,  
Some of the same musicians that help the Bechtler Museum celebrate its fifth anniversary on Friday participate in this long running weekly jazz series headed up by local music legend Hanna who, when not touring or teaching music, has spent the last 55 years playing and building a community for jazz in Charlotte.

Wednesday  10 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., Free,  
On its 2014 split release with the Seduction, this Charlotte trio formerly known as Stone City demonstrates more range and pop sensibility than your average stoner rock band. There’s a touch of Alice in Chains mixed with a heavy melodic helping of fellow Carolinians ASG. It starts its Wednesday night January residency at Snug this week.

Glen Phillips
Thursday  8 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $20, 
After touring with the reunited Toad the Wet Sprocket, the band's frontman returns for an intimate solo gig with Natalia Zuckerman. Having recently released a collection of demos and B-sides, he's promises rarer tracks from his various musical projects and collaborations.