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WEDNESDAY 5.29

Bill Mize -- Mize is a Tennessee acoustic finger style guitarist and past winner of the National Finger Style Guitar Competition. One of his pieces, "The Road Scholar," was also included on the Narada Records Masters of the Acoustic Guitar CD, and he's released four records independently during his career. In other words, Mize is a mighty fine player, and anybody who's ever given the acoustic guitar a try is likely to learn a thing or two from watching him play. The Evening Muse (Lynn Farris)

King's X / Tapping the Vein -- While not the prototype for grunge and the "alternative" sound that some writers would have you believe (to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a band is just a band), spiritualistic King's X have carved out a nice little niche in the music world with their brand of melodic thrum. Guitarist Ty Tabor, bassist Doug Pinnick and drummer Jerry Gaskill might not be Nirvana as far as power trios go, but when they blend some three-part harmonies with the heavy-yet-airy guitar work they're known for, you'll be enlightened. (Davis) / Singer Heather Thompson has the requisite somber voice and guitarist Steve Stegg creates a moody vibe over the rest of Tapping the Vein's dark, gothic pop. It's gloomy yet danceable, left of center yet accessible, and the overall package is a "hit and miss" affair that thankfully leans more toward hit. Considering the new album The Damage (Rebelution) is their debut, there's plenty of elbow room to mature their sound further. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

Quasimojo -- Trio from Chattanooga have a fair sense of interplay, and they pencil in "New Age Southern Rock" as their credo. It all rocks pretty well without going off the edge and has enough oomph to keep things rolling along. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

THURSDAY 5.30

Evoka Project -- The Winston-Salem-based band has gotten serious buzz in major label land for quite a while now, and at press time, it's poised to become the first act to actually live in that town to procure a major label deal since where-are-they-now-who-were-they-then band The Right Profile back in the 80s. The unfortunately monikered James Taylor is a talented songwriter with a touch of Jarvis Cocker flash to him, all the better to round out the band's punchy Brit-pop-infused sound. It's not reinventing the wheel, but they do throw some nice chrome rims on there. With Jonasay. Amos' Southend (Davis)

Mush Tour -- Several indie hip-hop artists on Mush Records are touring the countryside spreading their agenda. So what's it all about? A quick primer: Radioinactive's disc, Pyramidi, is self-explanatory, as they spew out 30 tracks of dissonant hip-hop. Labtekwon is an MC who pumps out jazzy raps reminiscent of a dub poet. Other comrades on the bus include Boombip & DoseOne and Reaching Quiet. The most intriguing of the batch seems to be cLOUDDEAD, as their sound is sent through several shredders and topped with collages of toasty raps. Their self-titled disc isn't too far from the likes of Tricky. An intriguing evening of hip-hop, as it should be, more musically intelligent and with less crotch grabbing. The Hungry Duck (Shukla)

FRIDAY 5.31

Duane Jarvis -- The former Odds guitarist is a road warrior of the first order, having played gigs with Dwight Yoakam, John Prine, Lucinda Williams and a host of others. While always an entertaining counterpoint, I've always like Jarvis best solo-style -- his songs are sanded to perfection sometimes, but always avoid becoming pop-country crap due to their sparse, tasteful Arts & Crafts style workmanship. Heck, even when accompanying the big dogs, the soft-spoken Jarvis' bite is always worse than the bark. He knows when to go for the bone, and it's usually when you least expect it. He deserves better analogies than these, but I'm on deadline. With David Childers. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Davis)

SATURDAY 6.1

East Coast Brewgrass Festival -- Nice array here for Fat City's annual blue/new/brewgrass extravangza, featuring most of the creme of the genre in the area. Featured are the Larry Keel Experience, fresh off touring with Tony Rice and Vassar Clements, Davidson PopGrass band Cast Iron Filter, Smokin' Grass, the irrepressible Snake Oil Medicine Show, the A.L. Wood Band, the Gravy Train Express, and more. If my memory serves me, the entry fee gets you top-flight regional beer all day, and all the 'grass you can handle. Fat City (Davis)

Sarah Lee Guthrie / Johnny Irion -- A distinct voice box is always a plus in folk-country music. Add genuine warmth and properly penned tunes and you have the likes of Sarah Lee Guthrie. Yes, she's kin to famous folks bearing her last name, but we'll let her speak on her own terms. Sarah's husband Johnny Irion helped produce her self-titled record last year and pumps out ripping roots tunes on his own freshly released Unity Lodge (Yep Roc records). This record is destined to become an indie classic and is released exactly 30 years after Neil Young's Harvest, to which it owes obvious debt. Our own Rainy Day Lewis will open. Samir's gig of the week. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

X-periment -- Even though it'll likely be a lower-profile, cooler gig than some of the frenetic X-periment shows of years past, this one is worth taking in if only to remind oneself of the incredible highs the X-perimental drug is capable of producing. Singer/saxophonist Tony McCullough is near-genius on his instrument, and the band can still lock and load on a groove with a jazz-like nonchalance that shames most area bands. They don't quite hit you with the wall of sound Fugazi-like noise like they once did, but then again, neither does Fugazi. Latorre's, Latin American Cuisine (Davis)

SUNDAY 6.2

Nineteen Forty-Five / The Moto-Litas -- A double bill courtesy of that Charlotte wannabe town Atlanta. Nineteen Forty-Five (the moniker is the band's tribute to Debbie Harry's birth year) play a "Pixies move down to southern climes" flavored rock. The exchange of male/female vox skating over layered and fuzzy guitar work is downright catchy and buoyed more so as all the right lyrical steps are made. The Moto-Litas are a quartet of femmes bent on playing raw rock slowed down just enough for toe-tapping fun. Both bands have releases on Atlanta's Daemon Records. Fat City (Shukla) *

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