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WEDNESDAY 12.11

Guns 'N' Roses -- Guns 'N' Roses! Guns 'N' (frickin) Roses. Man. Long time, huh? So Axl still hasn't put out the long-promised CD Chinese Democracy. He probably never will. We might even see actual Chinese democracy before the record comes out. And no Slash, either -- they replaced their top-hatted guitarist with one who wears a bucket on his head. Interesting, if nothing else. Oh, and Rose has the Replacements' Tommy Stinson playing with him, and Axl evidently thinks enough of him that he won't relent to Stinson reuniting with Paul Westerberg ('ol Axey might be the only guy who, by doing nothing for a decade, can cause controversy). Verdict: It might be a freakin' train wreck, but the carnage ought to be fascinating to watch. BiLo Center, Greenville, SC (Davis)

Mandorico -- The new disc, flamatam!, has hot reggae tunes that rear end Latin tropical beats that sideswipe funky, itchy rock tunes and come around to do it all over again on the next tune. Where else would you find such blends of tropical sounds but from Mandorico? The new lineup still gets it right with horns, guitars, keys and an attitude of a fiesta. The new record is out on the forward thinking regional indie label A-Tone music. With Gruv Union, a hip-hop punk funk band that ought to start off the evening right. Amos Southend (Shukla)

The Radiators -- New Orleans' Rads have been rocking the roots for almost 2 and 1/2 decades with the original lineup! Isn't that something like 75 years in dog years of rock and roll? Anyhow, they're swamp-rock, groovy hippie band and Crescent City R&B all rolled into one. Don't squint your eyes looking for trendy duds and flashy stage shows, just open your ears to hear how good rock is played, properly on the stage. Visulite Theatre. (Shukla)

Thursday 12.12

Garrigan Brothers Holiday Review -- Other than the circus-like name, I know little about what's in store for patrons of this show, but I am fairly sure that it will include Mike Garrigan, recently here playing with Athenaeum's Mark Kano, and Poprocket's Jay Garrigan, who regularly gigs around these parts. I think they have another brother who plays drums, but I could be mistaken. Either way, expect a lot of singing, dancing, Andy Williams-style cardigan sweaters, and brotherly good cheer. The Evening Muse (Davis)

Friday 12.13

Green Light -- A trio creating quite an eclectic sound of instrumental jazz/fusion with splashes of rock. A proper reference point would be Mahavishnu Orchestra. If Green Light's agenda is to create a mood filled spacey aura, they succeed quite smashingly. The jazz is contemporary, though not of the bland noodle variety, but one focused in an improv direction. Isn't that what good jazz is supposed to be? Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Shukla)

Underoath -- Their latest slab of muzak, Changing of Times (Solid State), is a take on melodic, almost ethereal punk rock nailed with non-decipherable screamed vocals. Hey, even guttural vocals, properly placed, can be a part of the whole. Look, you try howling at the top of your voice while gargling thumbtacks for 90 minutes, night after night. With Brazil and My Chemical Romance. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Jason LeVasseur -- Jason is a mellow rocker who was in the local band Life In General for a few years and released a solo record last year. I was never a big fan of the aforementioned band, but LeVasseur's solo stuff is moody pop with intelligible lyrical panache that keeps me wanting to hear more. The guitars are given just enough effects and Jason's voice has a perfect bite to keep things chugging along. If you check out one singer/songwriter this week, make it this one. With Christine Kane. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

Matone -- You may have caught this band opening for moe. last month at the Grady Cole Center. The two bands have some influences in common, but Matone's approach is less intense, more fluid. Taking their cues from bands that like to jam, you'll hear some psychedelia, some Southern rock, some jazz, and even some funk. This show is a special Winter Solstice benefit for the Uptown Shelter, so be sure to bring some warm clothes to donate. As if that weren't enough, your five bucks also gets you an opening performance by the great Renelvis, Charlotte's preeminent Elvis impersonator. If you haven't seen him before, this is a great chance to see one of the city's more distinctive performers. Visulite Theatre (Brian Falk)

Saturday 12.14 Lou Ford -- They haven't played the 'ol Queen City much recently, instead focusing their energies on regional and national touring. No matter. The band, even in absentia, still ranks among the very best in this city's recent history, and the band's puritanical songcrafting, while not prolific, remains as ever a perfect counterbalance to the Edwards brother's ruminations on the untamed heart. Double Door Inn (Davis)

The Subteens -- You gotta like any band with "sub," "teen" or "youth" in the title -- see the UK Subs, Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub and even dutchie-passing fallen teen stars Musical Youth. The Memphis-based Subteens play it the old-fashioned way, with loads of grain-fed indie sensibility a la the poet laureate of the style, Paul Westerberg, and a solid knowledge of the first 10 pages of the Mel Bay Chord Handbook. I mean that as a compliment. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Davis)

Doc Watson -- I say this year after year, but if you've never seen the man play live, you owe it to yourself to pawn some CDs or sell some blood if that's what it takes -- you're gonna wish you did. Doc's influence on flatpicking guitar is immense, and he's been a leading inspiration to most any folk artist who's picked a tune post-1960 -- including folks like one Bob Dylan. His is a virtual songbook of American music styles, incorporating blues, country, gospel, and even R&B. All this, mind you, done waaay before such things were widely accepted. He can still give friend and fellow picker Jack Lawrence and grandson Richard (son of Doc's late, lamented son Merle) a (guitar) run for their money, and he's funnier than you'd expect -- his wisecracks alone were worth $10 last time I saw him. Plus, even at his ripe old age, he still plays near Springsteenian-length gigs. With Richard Watson and Jack Lawrence. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

Wednesday 12.18

One Year Later -- They've got all the melodic pop hooks down pretty solid while the songwriting is pretty perky in itself. So what's wrong with that? Well, each song sometimes sounds like the second verse of the previous song. To those who seek catchy sing-along rock songs, by all means check em out. I need to hear more oomph to get the sound in my head to stay there, though I think they can be a fun date band. Amos Southend (Shukla)

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