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WEDNESDAY 8.7

David Lee Roth / Sammy Hagar -- You know why this stupid thing is selling out across the country? Because people have lousy taste. No, that's not it -- rather, it's the fact that no hard rock bands play stupid girls'n'drinkin' music anymore, the kind of music that rocked high school parties where you'd pull your Camaro up in the yard and open all the doors while you tried to drink away your nervousness. Now, that might be a good thing, but people still thirst for such salty music, and this tour's living proof. God knows Van Halen isn't making it anymore. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Davis)

Sonic Youth -- We usually don't mention many out-of-town shows, but this one is worth the drive, frankly. They've released their best album in years, Murray Street, it's their only North Carolina appearance, and they're touring with "5th member" Jim O'Rourke, the Chicago-based indie svengali and co-mastermind behind one of the greatest side projects of all time, Gastr Del Sol (lil plug there). I saw them first opening for Neil Young about a decade ago, and it's not exaggerating much to say it was a life-changing experience (then again, I was only about two years removed from a mullet at that point). With Mary Timony of Helium and Erase Errata. The Ritz, Raleigh (Davis)

FRIDAY 8.9

Allison Moorer -- Another novel idea for the Nashville music biz: a country singer who mostly writes her own material. It's a rare beast indeed in the world of commercial Nashville music (see Porter Hall, TN below). She's expressive without being trite and genuine with shades of her Alabama native blood coming in strong. Vocally, she approaches Amy Ray of Indigo Girls in that "pay attention to me" crescendo and musically she shadows Bonnie Raitt. The new record, Miss Fortune, is treated in the right places with strings and comes out this week, so the gal ought to be pumped up for this gig. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

Avett Brothers -- Part sweetwater harmonies, part jug band, and 100 percent authentic, Concord's Scott and Seth Avett, formerly of Nemo, mix North Carolina traditional musics (Piedmont blues, bluegrass and roadhouse country) together into a sound that ought to have labels sniffing like mad, if only they knew what pure, grade-A Texas tea smelled like in the first place. Check out their Country Was for a great primer. Fat City (Davis)

Porter Hall, TN -- The core of this fictional town, and cool band name, are the duo Molly Conley and Gary Roadarmel. They've left behind their angst-laden punk outfits and gone country. And we mean potent, pained and powerful Country music, not Nashville music. They've artfully separated themselves from the Nashville music biz and taken a ride into the hearts of honky-tonks in America. The good thing is they can put a tear in your beer and rock your liver with the twist of a chord, all the while making the musical and vocal camaraderie work to their advantage. With Custom Grass Snakes. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Shukla)

SATURDAY 8.10

Lil Charlie & The Nightcats -- Flashy West Coast blues staples are touring the country in support of their eighth album, That's Big!, a none too bashful title track describing a woman's anatomical goodies. Their take on blues keeps purists satisfied while bringing casual toe-tappers into the fold with horns, harp, sharp clothes and fiery guitars. The new record can be flip-flopped with any of their earlier discs as far as the music goes, but don't take that as a band running out of ideas; LCN is simply a good blues band giving folks what they want. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Mid-Summer Slam -- Testosterone, thy name is Fat City today. For a paltry fee, you get 90-degree-plus temperatures, ex-Spite singer Chris Boone's new band Star Motor Company, Clout, Lo-jack, Juggernaut, personal faves Gonzalez, Swift, Drill 187, the bludgeoning riffology of Fat Tortoise Butcher, and Lunasea. Incidentally, Enya and Indigo Girl tapes will be handed out to all those who make it through the whole event. Fat City (Davis)

Two Dollar Pistols / David Childers -- After a recent Pistols show, a friend of mine remarked that he could see the group opening for just about any band of the genre today, on a big stage, and fitting in just fine. I concur. Singer-songwriter John Howie and guitarist Scott McCall have the Pistols hot and smoking as never before, with the stripped-down band losing none of its trademark fire. Recent noteworthy crowds seem to have convinced the band to make Charlotte its home away from home, playing roughly a show every couple of months. David Childers has a new CD out this week titled Blessed in an Unusual Way, which early listens suggest is his best (and most genre-defying) yet. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

WEDNESDAY 8.14

Morgan Heritage -- Another reggae clan keeping the music alive and well in Jamaica and around the globe. The Morgans mix in gospel-flavored, roots reggae with uplifting wordplay and contemporary overlays to keep things in the know. Along with the first family of reggae (OK, if I need to mention that name, then reggae just ain't your thing), the Morgans are riding the crest of popular Jamaican music. Hey, mon, there's nothing wrong with some positive vibrations in our knee-jerk, reactionary world. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Yamagata -- Hmmm, to tag these blokes as a Jam band does disservice to their "arms spread wide" mix of diverse musical genres. The Memphis band keeps things flowing with a stylistic blend ranging from Led Zeppelin to Wes Montgomery and Frank Zappa. Their rock rolls, the jazz is pumping and the groove eclectic. Look for their freshly released set of new tunes titled Connect. With Rebus and the fabulous Mad Dog Trio. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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