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Green Day 

Plus, a double-shot of liquid love

The Loaf managed to commandeer a St. Patrick's Day float this year, which I was invited to ride on throughout the parade route. "Sounds fun," I said. "Do I get to throw stuff?"

"New rule," I was told by someone at the office. "Throwing things is now prohibited."

"You're shitting me," I replied. "No candy or gum? No. . .Creative Loafing drink coozies? What, do they think a drink coozie is going to put someone's eye out? I wanna throw something!"

After a few more minutes of this, I was told that if I wanted to ride, to be in front of the Death Star (er, the Charlotte Observer complex) at 10am. Well, no throwable coozies, no me. And so, at about 11:15 Saturday morning, I headed for the Center City (arguing about "downtown" and "uptown" is so 1990s) to buy lunch from a street vendor and allow my (one quarter) Irish blood to feel warmed by all the shamrocks and green Dr. Seuss hats.

I settled in on a stoop, directly behind what I deduced to be a mother and her two kids. One, a young boy, had serious ants in the pants, pulling and clutching at himself and dancing around. The other kid pretty much kept her composure, as little girls with annoying brothers are apt to do. She strenuously waved at everyone who passed, often with both hands. The boy would rise and do a little mini-cabbage-patch frug every time a float passed. As the Creative Loafing float drew closer, I was curious to see the pair's reaction. Would we pass muster? Or just gas?

The little ribbon-bedecked girl gave a little half-hearted wave, and then began petting a bandanna-wearing Labrador retriever. The little boy? He again rose to do a jig and, no doubt dismayed by the lack of thrown candy and drink coozies, turned ass-first towards the street and began shaking his tailfeathers for all he was worth, looking over his shoulder to gauge the effect of his rumpshaking on the collective Loaf psyche. His mother sat there and laughed, and playfully mussed his hair after the little show was over.

Somewhere, I imagined a father waiting patiently in an idling SUV with a "W — The President" sticker affixed to the back, next to one of a soccer ball. It was also at this point I decided that me, a float, a little leftover election hangover, and drink coozies would have been a bad combination in any case.

Saturday night, I decided to head to the venerable Double Door Inn to take in a show by Lou Ford and David Childers and the Modern Don Juans, two bands with a couple of things in common. First of all, they're probably the top two roots acts this town has seen in the last 10 years or so, with the possible exception of the Avett Brothers. Secondly, they both feature bassist Mark Lynch.With both acts used to headlining and drawing a relatively large audience all by their lonesome, there was some talk of how to pick who would play first. After a coin flip, Lou Ford took the stage — to the relief of one band member, who was hoping to get the soberer Lynch (i.e., the first one) — and blistered through a set of their patented "Rural Pop." The band seemed to have a little crackle and pop in their giddy-up, with even the slow songs simmering at high heat. By the time the band played "Something/Ender" — their "something to end the show with" song that features the lines "this is the last bar, the last bar of the last song, of the rest of my life" — you hoped they were only covering their asses just in case.

Childers took the stage like General Sherman, positively intent on burning down the house. Eschewing some of his quieter material for a crash-and-burn set that kept the beer lines long, he delivered one of the best local shows I've seen in ages.

Speaking of delivering — no doubt impressed by his pulling double duty, people kept delivering shots to Lynch, which, to his credit, he allowed to sit there alongside the beers that also seemed to be mounting in number. While Childers and guitarist Randy Saxon played one of the few slow numbers, Lynch made his way to the side of the stage and handed out the. . .handouts. Shots were downed all around, with Lynch once again taking to the stage. Makes sense. If you're playing two grueling shows in one night and aren't getting drunk yourself, you might as well keep the audience plied with the Great Forgiver.

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