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Music Menu 

Alternative Champs & Friends -- By now, you likely know The Champs. Blissfully obscene, sometimes drunken, and always entertaining, not to mention costumed. Bet on a Santa Set tonight (perhaps some eunuch elves?), and loads of their unhinged friends. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Davis)

Aqualads -- For some reason, while terrific, Christmas day always screams for a little unwinding by the time nightfall comes. And what better way to shake off the cold weather -- and the fact that you got a bunch of damn socks instead of that new Pavement reissue you wanted -- than to listen to some of the warmest tones Charlotte music has to offer, courtesy of the Aqualads? Twangy Christmas, everybody. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Justincase -- Charlotte's favorite major-label siblings return for a big 'ol hometown show at Amos' tonight, and will be featuring songs off their new album, Justincase. The young'uns Tosco, who, legend has it, were discovered by Michelle Branch, have played more shows in the past two or three months than in the year previous, which ought to bode well for their stage show. With like-minded popster Josh Lamkin. Amos' Southend (Davis)

FRIDAY 12.27
Jump Jenkins -- You've probably seen local musician Scoot pumping up his guitar and playing with comrades around town at coffee joints, sports bars and clubs. If you haven't, shame on you. Now get the taste of Scoot's full-blown sound with local hip musicians Ziad (sax), Kerry Brooks (bass) and Brian Sullivan (drums), collectively known as Jump Jenkins. The music is funky jump R&B with bits of blues and downright jovial pop underpinnings. George Washington Bookstore & Tavern, Concord (Shukla)

Pyramid -- One of the true originals of Charlotte music: distorted loops and tape hiss and blips alongside strummed washes of guitar and caught-in-the-throat lyricism. Music like this -- the kind that seems like it hurts coming out of the performer -- somehow transforms midair for Pyramid, and by the time it hits the audience, tastes like sweet release. The band will be leaving soon after the show to play some songs at the Sundance Film Festival, as a couple of their songs are set to appear in the movie All The Real Girls. Jerry Chapman plays the early show. The Evening Muse (Davis)

Sister Hazel -- Sunny stuff, no doubt, and catchy, but there's just something missing here. I can't put my finger on it. How to say? It's not awful, like, say, most MTV cut-and-paste "alternative" acts, and the band does have a certain craftsman's polish. It feels halfway inspired, even if the inspiration is just a good old-fashioned barbecue with friends and a few cold cans of "pop." What's the word I'm looking for? Generic. Not offendingly generic, just generic. For many, it'll get the job done. It's just that others, like myself, prefer stronger medicine. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

Bellyfull -- The Rhythm of Creation is the recent joint by this Charlotte combo and it properly presents the band's agenda of jazzy forays into funky R&B via the Jam highway. The title track is a spacey exploration lurking in the solar system known as Jazz. The band puts forth mostly instrumental stuff but the songs with lyrical overlays aren't too shabby either. With Marsupial. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Shukla)

Jennyanykind / The Dynamite Brothers -- Following an early set that will feature a couple of good songwriters in their own right (Chris Rosser and Joe Rathbone), Chapel Hill's Jennyanykind and the Dynamite Brothers will share a late double bill and shake things up a bit. Led by the Holland Brothers, Jennyanykind have a tasty new album titled Peas and Collards available on the net ( The rootsy release should be out in stores early next year. The Dynamite Brothers, who really aren't brothers at all, well, they like their distorted kind of honky tonk rock kind of loud. (note: The Dynamite Brothers will also appear with local siblings The Houston Brothers on Thursday at Fat City.) The Evening Muse (Lynn Farris)

Snagglepuss / The Goldenrods / Maryz Eyez -- Fine eclectic bill here, with the kindhearted new-wave stomp of Hope Nicholls and Snagglepuss, the sleepy-eyed wizardry of Benji Hughes and the Goldenrods, and Michigan's Mary'z Eyez, a slyly sexual pepperpot punk band from Kalamazoo (forgive me -- the analogy well is running dry). The Steeple Lounge (Davis)

Bessie Mae's Dream -- The J word is everywhere and mainstream newspapers are writing about Jam bands with a breathless sense of discovery. Let's see, original jam bands, i.e., jazz outfits, go back, what, seven or eight decades? All good music is essentially jam music. NC's Bessie Mae's Dream are pretty unrepentant in their quest for a Deadhead renaissance. To their credit, they manage to create original spacey jams while giving tasty swirls to covers of the Dead and others, keeping dullness to a minimum and head swaying to a maximum. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Shukla)

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