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CL previews upcoming shows (Sept. 16-20) 

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 16

Crowntown Showdown After taking the month of August off, the Showdown returns with another six-bands-for-five-bucks attitude. Seriously, what's your excuse for not going? You get to hear six great bands for a low price, and if you don't like one, you only have to bear with it for maybe 30 minutes. Working the next day? The show's over by midnight in most cases. Really, laziness is your only excuse – there's not even football on Wednesday night. Featuring Wavy Space, Sara Pray, Now You See Them, Jackson Cozort, The Hamiltons and Red All Over. Double Door Inn (Jeff Hahne)

Ramsay Midwood Just what the world needs, another singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas, right? Except Mr. Midwood's dark and rustic hillbilly boogie is marinated 500 miles east of there in Delta swamp blues, and shot full of odd characters telling even odder stories. (Midwood sounds like Levon Helm fronting the Gourds with early Tom Waits serving as his narrative inspiration.) His 2000 release, Shoot Out at the OK Chinese Restaurant was a cult hit with Euro Americana fans, and 2006's Popular Delusions & the Madness of Cows continues the tradition. Late show after Paul Atkinson & Friends. The Evening Muse (John Schacht)

THURSDAY, SEPT. 17

Benjy Ferree The D.C. musician based his 2009 release – Come Back to the Five & Dime, Bobby Dee, Bobby Dee – on the fucked-up life of child actor Bobby Driscoll, who was Disney's Golden Boy in the '40s and '50s until puberty and acne (I shit you not) got him dropped from Walt's payroll. Driscoll drifted into heavy narcotics use, rebounded briefly as an artist and actor at Warhol's The Factory, and was found dead in an abandoned tenement and buried in a pauper's grave in 1968. Ferree doesn't deliver a blow-by-blow account, but Driscoll's ghost haunts a rollicking set that filters '50s rock through a Glammy '70s kaleidoscope. Opening for '60s psychedelia retro-rockers The Black Hollies. Milestone (Schacht)

FRIDAY, SEPT. 18

Cravin' Melon Former Loafing music scribe Kevin Morgan once opined in these pages that "he, too, craved melon," so that he could throw it at the group's collective, well, melons. I'm no big fan of the band's brand of light rock either, but then again, I'm pretty sure they didn't pick up their guitars to be Bobby Dylan Mach II, either. As with the Hooties and Edwin McCains of the world, it's melodic rock to chug brews, pat backs, and flirt with girls (or guys), too. While the music might come across to some – like the aforementioned Mr. Morgan – as annoyingly toothless, a lack of bicuspids doesn't necessarily stop some from enjoying the softer side of the musical pantry. Sylvia Theatre, York (Timothy C. Davis)

David Mead After a half-decade or more of major-label strife, Mead released his best (and most ambitious) record to date, Tangerine, on his own Tallulah Media back in two-ought-six. After moving back to Nashville two years ago from Brooklyn, word around The Music City has been that Mead's been readying a new disc. For once, at least, there's what the military calls actionable intelligence in all that chatter: Mead's new Almost and Always (Cheap Lullaby) should be available at tonight's Muse gig. Get thee to a CoinStar machine, stat. With Zach, Sarah Bettens. The Evening Muse (Davis)

Charlie Robison Robison's recent post-marital breakup album, Beautiful Day, is a collection of songs by a guy looking further inward, unlike his past recordings about other folks and their tales. Texas country crooner and dandy songwriter, Robison's music is laced with Tex-Mex drinking music, blues and honky tonk boot tappers. His authentic Texan voice and the twang of the guitar permeate the new album, which also includes a take on Springsteen's "Racing in the Streets." Visulite Theatre (Samir Shukla)

SATURDAY, SEPT. 19

Medeski, Martin & Wood There's nothing typical about this avant-garde trio. Sure jazz is the modus operandi, but keyboardist John Medeski, drummer/percussionist Billy Martin, and bassist Chris Wood explore its depths as well as the outer edges so naturally that it's hard to guess where the improv ends and the accessible groove begins. Their two decades of explorations have culminated in the latest recording Radiolarians III. All three have also individually performed on innumerable other recordings and projects. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

SUNDAY, SEPT. 20

Kill Hannah The snarky music critic in me wants to hate this quartet, but I keep tuning in. Maybe it's cuz the melody-soaked electronica rock, with an unapologetic '80s bent, is bloody danceable. Wake Up the Sleepers is the upcoming new album with fun beats courtesy of keyboards and guitars and sometimes dead on, sometimes silly lyrics that are musically colored with good time rocktronica. OK, just one more song and gonna turn them off. With Red All Over. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

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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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