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Fear and Loafing 

Special gangs edition

Some weeks, I can be forgiven for not wanting to go out too much, right? I mean, our city's aswarm with gangs, if you believe the local media. They're relatively easy to find, luckily, thanks to some helpful hints published in the Charlotte Observer. In an obvious attempt to sneakily blend in with overweight football fans, the little gangstas are said to be fond of white T-shirts. Alternately, you can suss out one of the work-hating little bastards by their habit of wearing clothing with the #13 or Sacramento Kings logos on them (if you see someone wearing Sacramento guard Doug Christie's jersey, #13, you have a double gangsta. Run like hell.). But despite the never-ending danger inherent in life in Charlotte in our new Gangsta Era, I bravely stepped out this weekend anyway, because if we don't, then those little too-lazy-to-get-a-friggin-job bastards win. Or something.

Wednesday, the Evening Muse hosted a show by the local act Sea of Cortez, a seven (and sometimes eight) member band that play what I like to call Spaghetti-O Western music, a sort of indie-fried take on ambient music. Seeing such a large group together at once, I immediately ran down my gangsta checklist. After scanning the musicians, I decided I was probably safe, as all of the assembled were wearing suits, with nary a white T-shirt or Vlade Divac jersey in sight. I then turned my thoughts to a more pressing concern -- it seems that Charlotte may soon become, thanks to the current vogue of sharing band members, home to only one band, comprised of some 200 or so musicians. Both Sea of Cortez and the headliners, the NYC-based free-jazz band The Eastern Seaboard, feature members of local indie conglomerate Pyramid, who, at last count, are in about 31 bands. At this rate, expect a Pyramid gang sign any day now. (Only possible red flag: Sea of Cortez member Rodney Lanier said something about the next "set," which, thanks to the Big O, we know to be possible gang blather.)

Last weekend's Charlotte International Auto Show at the Convention Center was full of more beautiful cars than you've probably ever seen in one place before. I loved it because it provided an easy, legal way to have some of the same fun our little lazy gangsta nubbins have on a nightly basis. Pay seven dollars to get in, and you can sit in all the fancy new cars you want to! Granted, you can't crank any of them, and very few of them have spinning rims or anything, but what better way to see if you're cut out for gang life?

Friday night was the Steeple's one year anniversary bash (actually, the whole week kind of was, but who's countin'?), and the club celebrated by throwing a birthday bash with local act Babyshaker and the Vancouver-based Radio Berlin. Being alert to danger, when I entered the club I sensed trouble. Not a single white T-shirt in sight, but my, all the black! Black miniskirts, black eyeliner, black T-shirts and jeans. Could I have happened upon some sort of aberrant gang, a sort of gang that couldn't dress straight?

Luckily, all was settled when Radio Berlin took the stage. An equal mix of the Cure and Bauhaus, it turned out it was a gang of goths. Not much different, really. Both types of gangs have arrested development; the main difference lies in their color preference.

Recently, I overheard some schmo say that "if it doesn't have an acoustic guitar, Tim isn't going to be there." Which, of course, is patently ridiculous -- I haven't seen an acoustic guitar in weeks. (To this person I would add, if said event has grown people dressed like rubber-clad goofballs, I probably ain't gonna be there.)That said, we invite you to submit any events you might be throwing/ hosting/ planning on crashing to me, at Events attended will be based on schedule, of course, but anything goes, really. Throwing a picnic? Concert? Party? Fashion show? Gang meeting? I'll try my best to be there, especially if you're servin' the oat sodas.

In fact, look for me to report next week from Reedy Creek and Freedom Parks, where gang members evidently meet every Sunday to discuss business. We can sniff out local trends quicker than our local police department, so be on the lookout.

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