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CL previews upcoming concerts (July 15-19) 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 15

The Lighthouse and the Whaler Call 'em the Campfire Coldplay. Featuring something of the orchestral sweep of a My Morning Jacket, alongside the jouncy jangle of someone like Seawolf, The Lighthouse and the Whaler are, relatively speaking, a young band in time-spent-together terms (they formed in 2008 when Michael LoPresti, Evan Storey and Aaron Smith met up in a park to jam, and ended up with their first single). On the debut EP, A Whisper, A Clamour, LoPresti perhaps shines brightest upon first listen – he's got a little of the Buckley family in his voice – but the band's quietly militaristic, utterly musical about-faces more than give them general room to operate. With Big Time. Snug Harbor (Timothy C. Davis)

Crowntown Showdown How can you tell the monthly showcase "Showdown" is getting bigger every time? This go 'round it's being held at the Neighborhood Theatre – there's your first hint. As always, it's six bands/artists for five bucks. This month's showcasing American Aquarium, Brandy Robinson, Bums Lie, Eric-Scott Guthrie, Machete and Overzealous. On most nights, people would pay $5 just to see one of them, but now you get to see them all for one low price. It starts at 8 and is usually done around midnight, too, so you'll make it to work on time the next day. You've got no excuse – unless you just hate good music. Neighborhood Theatre (Jeff Hahne)

THURSDAY, JULY 16

Sequoyah Prep School These boys aren't the new kids on the block, but they are beginning to stand out with their Southern charm. It's good time music, for good old boys and girls, with an edge that just barely leaves a scratch but is still so good it makes you want a band-aid anyway. Something is in the water in the Carolinas, and everybody just needs to keep drinking up. With Flagship. Visulite Theatre (Sam Webster)

Castanets Raymond Raposa is Castanets, and through four previous full-lengths, Castanets has been good; often more than good. But with his upcoming September release, Texas Rose, The Thaw & the Beasts, Raposa has taken the Great Leap Forward. Here, the San Diegan channels his inner Willie Nelson into his tightest songs yet, adding the gothic accents (processed beats, synths, howling guitars, etc.) that embellish his best previous work and here take him in even more compelling directions. The result is luminous and organic, songs that glow through the dark like phosphorescent jellyfish viewed in sparkling high-def. (Speaking of which, fans of Matthew Houck's Phosphorescent, especially, should take note – this, too, is beautifully fucked-up folk-twang.) With Ma Turner (of Warmer Milks) and Bo White. Milestone (John Schacht)

FRIDAY, JULY 17

Lost In The Trees This is not quite the type of haunting experience you probably imagined encountering at the Milestone. This 12-piece orchestral ensemble from Chapel Hill, lead by mastermind and tortured soul Ari Picker, creates beautiful, soul-bearing music combining folk with unconventional classical that will make your toes curl. Picker could sing about a rock, but with stunning composition and sweeter-than-buttercream vocals, your head would still be spinning in amazement. With Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players, LA Tool & Die and Lady Blanche. Milestone (Webster)

Jim Weider's Project Percolator Actually, he spells it "ProJECT PERCoLAToR," which I'm sure has some meaning, but I've neither the time nor the energy to parse it. No, Jim Weider's not the weightlifting supplement guy, but rather a seasoned tickler of the Telecaster guitar. His new project (excuse me, ProJECT) features fellow roadhawgs Rodney Holmes (drums), Mitch Stein (guitar) and Steve Lucas, along with a sampler and loop machine or two. Weider's real claim to fame is having played with The Band, albeit a "The Band" which was a little past its expiration date and perhaps more correctly described as "A Band." Regardless, Weider's more than just another guitar player. Double Door Inn (Davis)

SATURDAY, JULY 18

Ben Henry These days, Ben Henry is all over the place on the Charlotte music scene. When he's not playing drums with The Lesser Pauls, he's rocking an electric guitar in front of a Marshall stack with the duo The Have and the Have Nots. He hasn't forgotten his acoustic roots though and can still be seen at solo gigs like this one. His manic guitar playing is the background for quirky vocal rhythms. He's one of three talented guitarist/singer/songwriters on the bill – with Erika Blatnik and Andy the Doorbum – all of whom are worth checking out. Common Market (Hahne)

SUNDAY, JULY 19

Sean Walsh & the National Reserve Move on over, Bon Iver and Band of Horses. We have to make room for more heartbroken, tenderhearted boys with guitars and pains they need to work out. At least let Sean Walsh & the National Reserve on the bandwagon. They'll tear you up and break you down, but leave you swaying to the music, smile on your face, oblivious to what's around you that could possibly ruin that moment. This may be a trend, but hopefully it'll be like leggings and just never go away. With Erika Blatnik. Tremont (Webster)

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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