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CL previews upcoming concerts (Oct. 21-27) 

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 21

Social Distortion Ever since seeing Social Distortion open for Neil Young way back a loooong time ago, I've always had a soft spot for Mike Ness. His eff-you, slicked-and-kicked-back crouch as a punk front man, I've since learned, isn't much different from the swept-back, hang-on-for-dear-life way one might ride a kustom motorcycle. Both are best experienced live and loud, and work best when it's less about speed than tons of torque and sheer attitude. He's no Joe Strummer, mind you, but if you're making a list of the most imposing yet intelligent front men in rock, this Ness is a lock. With Middle Class Rut, The Strangers. Amos' Southend (Timothy C. Davis)

THURSDAY, OCT. 22

Spider + Octopus Here's an intriguing duo strolling along to acoustic folk and sparse pop with nary a hurry. The shuffling beat veers off into shoe-gazing and country folk while evoking both urban street musicians and lonesome highway juke joints. There's calculated minimalism here that's rather authentic, coaxing moods out of simple strumming, sighing and crooning. With Kathleen Haskard. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

The Mars Volta Every few years, there comes along a band to unite that faction of us who get off equally on the stylings of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis (Steve Hackett totally did the tapping thing before Ed Van Halen, let it be said), Mike Patton-era Faith No More, goofy-ass, comic book-like concept records, and, say, Sepultura. Until that long-rumored At The Drive-In reunion happens (and it appears that it will, at least for a tour), the Volta are the best we have. They're totally batshit nuts in both songwriting and performance, they leave it all out there on the stage, and, most importantly, they know when to stop noodling in favor of riding the riff leviathan for a few minutes. The Fillmore (Davis)

FRIDAY, OCT. 23

Erin McCarley Singer-songwriter-guitarist McCarley was part of the Ten out of Tenn tour that stopped through town last winter. Since then, she played Bonnaroo (winning over many who caught her set in the beer garden there) and released her latest CD, Love, Save the Empty. Her music has been featured on a handful of TV shows, but that doesn't make her sappy or commercial. It just means more people are starting to notice her talent. Tremont Music Hall (Jeff Hahne)

SATURDAY, OCT. 24

The Public Good Featuring John Elderkin and Steve Ruppenthal, former members of the 90's Chapel Hill, NC pop combo the Popes, the Public Good are a new century quartet with harmonies wrapped around lyrics bemoaning love lost and pitfalls of aging. The songcraft is tightly wound, straddling between hard pop and rock. Sam Esquith and Chris Garges round out the quartet. It should be a fab night of power pop that also includes headliner Don Dixon. Snug Harbor (Samir Shukla)

Mike Doughty Best known as the front man for '90s cut-ups Soul Coughing, Doughty's most recent disc, the out-now Sad Man, Happy Man, is a rather straightforward rock platter, as compared to his more eclectic/electric earlier work. Doughty's way with a hook still shines through, however, and his easily-recognizable pinched vocals and quirky way with words (the dude wrote a hit called "Super Bon Bon," for crying out loud. WTF?) add further weight to his mewling muse. Put another way, this isn't a Semisonic or Verve Pipe reunion gig – Doughty's a real musician (and published poet, travel writer and inveterate blogger) who continues to grow his sound without regard to crowds, cutbacks or commercial concerns. The Evening Muse (Davis)

Revolting Cocks Founder Al Jourgensen will only appear at select shows (not at this gig), but plenty of debauchery and industrial dance and rock mayhem should be on hand as the Revolting Cocks turn the volume to max, with DJs and guitars on high alert. RC began as a side project for Ministry's Jourgensen, but has, off and on over the years, taken a shape all its own with a rotating crew of like-minded lunatics. With Jim Rose Circus, Left Spine Down and Blownload. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Cycle of Pain The bass leads this pack of screaming guitars courtesy of founder and bassist John "J.D." Deservio (Black Label Society). The quintet is touring in support of debut self-titled release from this past spring, and although hard rock and metal are the firmament, funk and hip-hop check in on a regular basis. Think metal, AC/DC, liquor and a vocalist channeling Chris Cornell. With Shinedown. Uptown Amphitheatre (Shukla)

TUESDAY, OCT. 27

Lenny Kravitz The artist formerly having some of the most impressive dreadlocks is out on tour in support of the 20th anniversary of Let Love Rule. Sure, he's got a new album coming out next year, but let's remember where he started – the usually acoustic and emotional debut disc. This time around, he's only playing in 15 cities, and Charlotte is one of them. Nice catch. The Fillmore (Hahne)

Vivian Girls When trying to come up with a description of indie rockers Vivian Girls, words like rough-around-the-edges, punk, far-from-polished, scratchy, gritty and grungy all came to mind. It's fitting, then, that they should be influenced by Nirvana and playing where that trio once did – The Milestone. This group's from Brooklyn though and making quite a name for themselves, slowly but surely. Milestone (Hahne)

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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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