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THURSDAY 1.30

Brian Doyle Band -- Charlotte rocker lays out a blues-tinged mellow and acoustic jam. His latest record, Falling Forward, is rocking in places and reflective in others, all the while spinning straight up rock & roll. The Southern edge comes across in a couple of tracks, while the blues come on thick in others. He tips his hat to Dylan quite a bit, and even throws in some slide guitar in the mix. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Semi-Pro -- Last time around, I said "Great stuff in the vein of Fu Manchu or Nebula with more of a punk bloodline (think early Mudhoney, perhaps), all gleefully blissed out with James' rock-star-ready pipes." Nothing's changed, and I mean that in a good way -- the band still nicely walks the line between stoner rock and punk, never getting too deep into the bong or the in-crowd. The band's busied themselves as of late recording their new CD, Delayed By the Fog. If it's anything like their other records, it's well worth picking up. Amos' Southend (Davis)

FRIDAY 1.31

DJ Mea -- The Icelandic-looking Mea (who actually hails from the Midwest), a statuesque blonde (also not natural, likely), is a bit of a 21st century Madonna -- captivating, whitewater pop-house with nice Mea vocals layered on top. She's a fast riser in electronic circles and hasn't done anything yet to suggest she doesn't deserve it. Then again, like the roaches, don't count Mrs. Guy Ritchie out too quickly. Liquid Lounge (Davis)

Roman Candle -- The duo don't profess to follow any style of rock. It's just prickly, ragged and stellar musicianship, laced indie rock that begs attention from first listen. Let's go ahead and call it refreshingly tattered Beatlesque pop, but whatever you do, just don't ignore it. Their notoriety is burgeoning on the musical landscape, so line up early for this double bill of coolness. Opening for Charlotte's chanteuse-fronted mood rockers Bellglide. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

Sage Francis -- Could it be that Charlotte's starting to develop an independent hip hop fan base? Let's hope so, and hope folks keep bringing cats like Sage Francis to town. His Personal Journals CD, released a while back on Anticon, was a stone cold stunner of a record and articulated his life and surroundings in much the same engaging, linguistically dense way Mike Skinner has done with his "band" The Streets. Along with the sage Sage, you also get Gruvis Malt, C-town's own Supastition, Dominant7 and DJ Notik 1. Hart-Witzen Gallery (Davis)

Scott McCloud -- The coolest track on McCloud's latest disc On The Gig is "Driving Slow In the Left Lane," and it's moody jazz that's perfect for chilling on a drive or for some lights dimmed, late night toe-warming with a loved one. The rest of the record is pretty much boppin' funked up jazz. McCloud's sax glides in and out of contemporary and traditional jazz with the ease of slipping on a warm jacket. The new record is a nice effort by a woefully unsung jazzman in our own fair city. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Shukla)

SATURDAY 2.1

Baleen/Pyramid/Dynamite Brothers -- A great triple bill here, featuring Pyramid, back from playing the Sundance Film Festival; Baleen, the wonderfully amorphous organic/electronic collective; and the Dynamite Brothers, who are seemingly into Stax Records as much as they are Marshall stacks. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Country & Western Bill -- This group actually contains two Bills, Bill Walpole and Bill Noonan, as well as Woody Dale Jones and Dillard Richardson. What they play is the great pre-countrypolitan and countrypolitan music of the 60s and 70s -- or, as Noonan describes it, "cowboy, truck driving, and prison songs." Count on the band to play 'em hard and loose, much like the alcohol and women they'll be memorializing. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Davis)

Damion Wolfe -- Wolfe's a songwriter and performer who has a few tricks up his guitar-playing sleeves, but he squashes the poetry into a marmalade of parody. It's a shame, because his lyrical panache seems unintentionally corky. But all is not lost, with unusual guitar bits and a pleasant delivery coming to the rescue. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Shukla)

My So-Called Band -- The guitar is crunchier, the bass sounds lean and mean and the drums rock out like mofos. The trio returns with their best and most potent record to date, reflecting the sign of the times, Always Something There to Destroy Me. Ryan's guitar seeps into the skin pores while Chris Peigler's booming bass pounds the noggin into submission and the drums roll out the red carpet of sizzling punk rock. The band sounds more raw, pissed and in the groove on this record than all earlier ones combined. With a pile of bands opening up, this is MSCB's CD release party. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

SUNDAY 2.2

Tommy Castro Band -- West Coaster Castro's hit upon a good mix: Lay off the jackhammer riffs a bit, stir in some Memphis-by-way-of-Muscle Shoals soul, and only drill when necessary. When he does, the sparks-a-flyin' result is even more impressive. Soulful, too, in that sweet sort of way that Stevie Ray Vaughan couched his recordings. Double Door Inn (Davis)

TUESDAY 2.4

Galactic -- Acid jazz elements, retro funk and the proper hipster jamming created by New Orleans' Galactic rinse out and spruce up contemporary sounds. The mostly instrumental band speaks through music, not flaky raps. The band's command and respect of the past, without getting mired in cheesy noodling, speaks in their favor. This tour is billed as the Freestyle Tour with DJs and diverse musicians warming up. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

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