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Castro and Heads On Sticks 

Halloween and Renaissance maketh a faire week

Halloween's not one of my favorite holidays. It's doesn't have food and football going for it, like Thanksgiving, nor does it have the promise of a bounty of presents, like Christmas. Fireworks? Nope. Grilling out under the stars? Nada. Halloween has two things going for it: candy and costumes. The first I'm not fond of, and the latter is geared mostly toward kids and adults who wish for more self-expression in their day-to-day lives (naughty anything seemed to be a polular choice). On the other hand, good Swedish rock is welcome any day of the week, so I headed to Tremont Music Hall to check out The Soundtrack of Our Lives, hereafter known by the acronym TSOOL, unless I need to add to the story to make word count. I got there a bit late, after agonizing over costume choice. My first idea was to wear my normal clothes along with one of those "Hello, my name is" tags, affixed with the name of reclusive writer/genius Thomas Pynchon. The other, which ended up going with, was a Fidel Castro getup including boots, camouflage pants, a Cuban shirt, a beard and a pocket full of cigars. Not fine Cuban smokes by any means; I settled for a pack of Swisher Sweets from Eckerd. To much excitement, I passed out cigars upon entering Tremont, feeling equally like a Communist leader and a proud new Pa (one fellow, clearly happy, stated that he was going to go home and roll a blunt with his). TSOOL were in fine form, fresh from the CMJ Music Conference and on their way to Atlanta. Why, I wondered, were they playing the small stage at Tremont Music Hall? Well, it turns out that the brother of TSOOL singer Ebbot Lundberg lives in Charlotte, where he works in law; evidently, he also works in creating huge Viking costumes for himself and his old lady. The show ended rather early, which led a lot of folks to linger, wondering what to do next. You don't douse yourself in fake blood or dress like a slut to go home at 11pm, it seems. Especially not the latter. -- Tim C. Davis

For whatever reason, I love me some Renaissance Faires. I love the Colde Beer, the gigantic Turkey Legges, and the tasty Breade Bowls with beef stew. I love the good walk you get out in the woods of Huntersville, and the fact that there's still a few square miles of land around without a cookie-cutter subdivision on it. I love the corseted bosoms of the ladies, the opportunity to buy cheap incense, and the sheer diversity of the crowds the event draws. I enjoy the advertising too, done in ye olde gruesome Medieval way: A shop selling hair ties showed their wares on disembodied heads on sticks which, to these eyes, is preferable to the way advertising today works, selling everything on the disembodied personages of supermodels. I like seeing people out in the woods doing things like smelling camel dung or wondering aloud why elephants moved so slowly (er, maybe they weigh four tons, are old, and carry kids around on their backs all day?). I enjoy the use of added vowels on the ends of words describing Renaissance-era anomalies like Ye Olde ATM. I liked the fact that a kid with a talent, like the lank-haired young man with a violin, can get paid to hone his craft. I enjoy the jousts, in all their stupid glory. I dig the thinly veiled adult fare too, like the proud same-sex pairs and others really getting into the Washer Woman skit, in which all would douse each other in water and roll around on the ground, bosoms a-heaving. I like that the fair(e) does a nice job of mixing in an educational experience for the youth, so they're not led to believe that a weird race of extravagantly dressed people has suddenly arisen in the woods outside Huntersville. And no, I'm not going to end with a subdivision joke. -- Tim C. Davis

I don't mind checking out in-store performances at Manifest Discs & Tapes because if I get bored, I can shop(!). Last Tuesday, though, there was no time for shopping as the place was hopping with friends, family, all sorts of industry folk and the just plain curious to see Charlotte's justincase celebrate the national release of their brand spankin' new CD on Maverick Records. And as strange (um, bad) luck would have it, lead singer Justin Tosco woke up on what was probably the biggest day of his young life thus far without a voice. Ulike stereotypical rock stars on a major label, though, Tosco didn't cancel the gig, and as far as I could tell he didn't even have an entourage with throat sprays or herbal tea concoctions pampering him, either. He managed to pull the whole thing off quite well, and still provoked countless " Love You's" from several of the young girls in the crowd. I got a good laugh as well when the radio personality introducing the band thought that asking which high school Tosco had graduated from made a good trivia question. Did I already mention the band is from Charlotte and the crowd was full of young girls? -- Lynn Farris

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