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Full-Tilt 'Gin-yer 

Of Mountaineers and MoFo's

Nothing announces the holiday season like utterly meaningless college football bowl games. And since we're a world-class city, Charlotte has its very own utterly meaningless college football bowl game, the charmingly named Continental Tire Bowl. The participants in this inaugural skirmish were the Universities of Virginia and West Virginia. If downtown streets Friday night were any indication, most of West Virginia was in Charlotte intent on a big "ol par-TAY. Surely this many people didn't actually go to the University of West Virginia. I mean, they couldn't be out drinking the night away, since they would have to go back to their normal workaday lives as brain surgeons and heads of foreign policy thinktanks. Which leads us to the other alternative. They're not actually West Virginia grads or students, but normal folks like you or me who just want to attach their name to the glory, the grandeur of those two words. There were some Virginia fans out Friday night, but they tended to keep to themselves. To hear a few speak, they're not big on the befouling of their fine university -- hell, their state's -- name by their neighbors to the northwest. To them, they're a brand name with history and a good bloodline -- say, Coca-Cola. Adding "West" in front of Virginia changes the whole meaning into something like RC Cola. (I'll resist the urge to joke about West Virginia bloodlines -- but did you hear the one about the guy who killed his bride on their honeymoon night because she was a virgin? "If she ain't good enough for her own family, I sure don't want her in our'n." Ba-da-boom. Thank you, Mr. Editor) So anyhow, Virginia had the last laugh -- even though West Virginia trounced them in the public intoxication category -- by trouncing some serious WVU ass 48-22 where it counts most -- on the football field. Yes, Virginia, there is a. . .oh, nevermind.Living uptown is great 90 percent of the time. Restaurants, bars, and even the odd store are right there within walking distance. The other 10 percent of the time is a shop of horrors: parades, loud nightclubs, drug dealers, homeless people, and greedy ex-politicians turned architects who tow the cars of folks who park in their completely empty parking lots. To escape this, I headed to the Montford Drive section, the denizens of which, in a mocking nod to North Davidson's moniker of NoDa, have taken to the name MoFo. Basically, the area's become a DUI wet dream for a cop, interspersed with the best bowling alley in Charlotte, George Pappas' Park Lanes. I set my sights on Mojo Restaurant and Spirits, where The Avett Brothers were playing with Jem Crossland and the Hypertonics. The show was delayed a good 15 minutes or so, as the Avetts had a new 8-foot square banner with their name and logo emblazoned on it, and weren't going to begin until they had it up. Why they didn't think to put it up before showtime is anybody's guess, but folks seemed to enjoy the diversion; I heard more than one group of people launch into their Spinal Tap impersonations. Saturday night, the Dynamite Brothers played The Evening Muse with Chapel Hill's Jennyanykind. Frankly, all there is to say about this show is that you owe it to yourselves to check out the local-ish Dynamite Brothers as soon as possible. What's not to like -- a Keith Moon-like drummer who sings, a bass player so active he has blisters on his hands, and a guitarist (Mitch Rothrock, who also plays bass for Jennyanykind) who seems equal parts Howlin' Wolf and Howlin' Pelle Almqvist. There wasn't much of a crowd, but the band didn't seem to notice, nor did the few fans caught up in the music. I've said it before and I'll say it again (or rather, am saying it again -- whatever): Charlotte's original music scene is probably as strong and diverse as it's ever been. Want to know why all the good bands have traditionally been from everywhere in North Carolina except our fair city? The answer for about a quarter of them is simple: they've moved from here.
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