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Good Charlotte Sort of like a more thoughtful Blink-182, they say. And Teen People and YM like them, so you know they're cute. And they get played on the radio, and have Charlotte in their name. Yes, they sport a smattering of tattoos, and even a band logo based on tattoo flash. Someone at Epic Sony played the color-by-numbers alternative band game quite well here, except for the music, done in shades of gray. With Mest. Friday, Tremont Music Hall ­ TCD

Holiday Benefit CD Release Party A pile of hip regional bands recorded some tracks over a two-day session at the Muse for this upcoming release, with proceeds earmarked for non-profit organizations providing help for children and families. The record, A Christmas Evening at the Muse, was recorded live back in the summer and features some great local talent including Poprocket, The Goldenrods, Les Dirt Clods, Justincase with John Tosco, David Childers, Tom Constanten, Violet Strange and more. Check theeveningmuse.com for all the bands planning to show up at the gig. Saturday, The Evening Muse. ­ SS

Bob Margolin The Steady Rollin' one has added a few new cogs to his band: Charlottean Tom "Mookie" Brill (who played with Margolin from '89-'92) replaces Tad Walters on upright and electric bass, harp, guitar and vocals, and Russ Wilson replaces Wes Johnson on drums and harmony vocals. After releasing Hold Me To It in 1999 with Charlotte producer Mark Williams, the ex-Muddy Waters sideman decided to work on his new album at home; it's said to feature both acoustic and electric material. As with most of these cats (I'm determined to keep that phrase alive), live is where he shines. Recommended. Friday, Double Door. ­ TCD

Motown Lounge Tour A showcase for new acts on the legendary Motown label, which Motown CEO Kedar Massenburg hopes to revive to the hit making, career breaking status it enjoyed for all those gravy years in the 60s and 70s. Featured here are Prophet Jones, already moving up the charts, Mary J. Blige acolyte Sharissa, Lathun, and smooth crooner Remy Shand. Saturday, H20. ­ TCD

Abe Reid The former Blue Rags member Reid is completely back on his feet after a car crash nearly killed him a little more than a year ago, and his low-fi Piedmont Blues haven't suffered in the slightest. Abe's music is in the style of his heroes (regional musicians like Guitar Gable), mixed with a bit of Stones-y, rock & roll flair. Reid's boho style is one of the more authentic around, and he's certainly lived the life, having seen both the light and dark sides. Thankfully for us, he's lived to tell about it. With Used Carlotta. Thursday, Fat City. ­ TCD

Rev. Horton Heat/Dash The trio known as Rev. Horton Heat can rev up a party instantly with the first notes of their testosterone-loaded rockabilly. All that's needed with this sort of assault are guitars, standup bass and drums ­ and that's exactly what you get. The long-running alterna-cow punk of Dash (formerly Dash Rip Rock) always amazes during a live performance, leaving heads achin' from shakin' after they're done. It's a shame the band, after 15 years, hasn't received its due props. This is a whoppin' double-bill. Thursday, Tremont Music Hall. ­ SS

Slobberbone Denton, TX band Slobberbone get advertised in magazines like No Depression as well as rock & roll rags, and well they should. The band combines traditional roots rock/barfly songwriting with huge slabs of feedback to create a brand of country punk only seen when Hank III or an inebriated Ryan Adams hits the stage. Singer Brent Best snarls and rips his way through a set like an Oklahoma twister, and when he grinds into the chorus of "Gimme Back My Dog," you're so scared you offer him yours. If there's a criticism of the band, it's that singer Brent Best sounds so much like an East Texas version of Pogues frontman Shane McGowan (minus the accent) that at times, one wants to check his teeth just to make sure. Tuesday, Double Door Inn. ­ TCD

Train/Ben Folds Train keep rolling along, spurting out minor hits with simple and generic rhythms which are basically harmless (though admittedly a couple of tracks on the new record are pretty durn catchy). Ben Folds has gone solo with a nifty new disc called Rockin' the Suburbs, it's a twisted record of geek-rock where Ben plays all the instruments, coming up a winner with infectious power-pop and all the accompanying trimmings. Also on this WEND-sponsored bill are rockers Remy Zero and current darling of the critics, Pete Yorn. Friday, Grady Cole Center. ­ SS

Used Carlotta Virginia's Used Carlotta are fairly adept at tellin' front porch stories through dry vocals and tight musicianship. Their records offer classic elements of country music, along with touches of gospel and Appalachian waltz, presented with just enough kick. There seems to be a certain ingredient missing, though, keeping their take on Americana from becoming essential listening. Opening for Abe Reid. Thursday, Fat City. ­ SS

Luther Vandross He wrote "Here and Now," which has probably undone more bra straps than any song since "Let's Get It On." What more do you need to know? A Neil Diamond for urbanites, Luther remains the preeminent smooth R&B crooner of the last 20 years, and may well be responsible for all that horny bleating you now hear on the radio. Which is not his fault, mind you ­ Luther's always kept it above board while gettin' down and dirty. Friday, Ovens Auditorium. ­ TCD

David Wilcox Folkie troubadour Wilcox creates a cool shade of folk-blues for those hot summer months or brews up warm cider on cold winter nights. Take your pick. Expect James Taylor-esque crooning and plenty of witty insights courtesy of his native Western North Carolina setting. Check the new release, Very Best of (A&M), as a primer on this wry, colorful teller of tales. Friday and Saturday, Neighborhood Theatre. ­ SS *

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