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WEDNESDAY 4.2

Matador Red -- A relatively new quintet here, featuring some veteran area players: Leon Daniel (formerly of Cyclone Mack), Greg Pancake, Thomas Hendley, Shannon Mims and Anje Seufert. The band has been working with Mitch Easter as of late, a producing choice that would seem to be a perfect fit for the group's Chicago (the band, not the musical)-style fusing of jazz and folk and pop (and harpischord, if my ears don't deceive me). Good mature songwriting, with enough hooks embedded in the melodies to keep the listener honest. Perhaps they should call themselves "Charlotte"? With Major Nelson. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Too Young To Die (Benefit For Suicide Prevention) -- This is a national tour put together by the folks and affiliated bands at the Charlotte-based label Deep Elm. Most of the bands on the tour -- Brandtson, Red Animal War, Desert City Soundtrack and David Singer -- have tracks on the accompanying namesake-bearing CD comp. Emotive rock and lyrical validity are the standard bearers of the label roster. My favorite in the batch is the intriguing David Singer, who gives new meaning to therapeutic folk-rock. Added guests for this evening include Frontpage, and proceeds will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

FRIDAY 4.4

Deep South Raleigh Showcase -- A gathering of triangle area bands. Waylandsphere are a keyboard-driven merger of rock, jazz and spacey grooves. They're touring behind a new disc, Salt Works Meditation, that's filled with sprawling jams. Barefoot Manner is an acoustic quartet playing bluegrass and traditional tunes with stand up bass, guitar, percussion and mandolin. They converse like veterans with a genuine backwoods groove. Warming up the early crowd will be Old Habits, playing a freestyle mix of blues, folk and bluegrass. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

Greasy Beans / Danny Barnes -- Asheville's Greasy Beans prop up their namesake with traditional bluegrass. Danny Barnes was prime suspect of the innovative bluegrass outfit Bad Livers. He's got an endless resume of guest spots, film soundtracks, compilations and production credits. Danny composes quite a roster of contemporary roots music with banjos, acoustic guitars, fiddles, mandolins and dobros; he's a music catalyst of highest caliber. Get there early. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

Howard & the White Boys -- Chicago-based blues quartet adds soul to Windy City traditions with robust vocals and prickly guitars. They've taken their mentor Buddy Guy's style of thick chops and made out like funky torchbearers. Their repertoire of originals spans 15 years and is enhanced by dance-inducing covers, including "I Thank You" and "Sex Machine." Double Door Inn (Shukla)

John Gorka -- The possessor of a mellow baritone and an indefatigable touring schedule, the "new folk" artist's music isn't the most edgy stuff in the world, but then again, it doesn't really have to be: His lyrical subjects include personal freedom, God and social justice. You know, all the stuff we're now talking about again. Sylvia Theater, York (Davis)

Semi-Pro / Push Cult -- A couple of Charlotte rockers on hand here. Semi-Pro rock out with fuzzy, stoner guitars strangling trebly drums. A new record, Delayed by the Fog, is in the works, so expect plenty more garage-fueled slabs a la Scientists and Nebula. Push Cult are average, but promising, modern rockers with a moody outlook and a hard rock vibe. A band called Tyler is also on the bill. Fat City (Shukla)

SATURDAY 4.5

Dodd Ferrelle & The Tin Foil Stars -- Georgia boy Ferrelle's been gaining something of a reputation recently for his rave-up take on gothic country-rock music. Ferrelle's newest album, Always Almost There, was produced by Athenian legend David Barbe, who helped add a loose, pub-like feel to the proceedings somewhat missing on Ferrelle's last one, Carriage on the Hill. Not really country, nor rockabilly, nor alt.anything, but well done, and what Southern Rock might sound like were VH1 to play it (once again, I meant that as a compliment. I think.). Rodi, Gastonia (Davis)

Hazel Virtue -- South Carolina modern rockers resurfaced recently after a hiatus of four years. The new members and outlook have them ready to roll with original singer Eric Britt showing maturity in the writing and crooning department. It's power pop shaded with just enough psychedelics and immaculate harmonies as shown off on the nifty new record The Face and the Shine. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

The Nighthawks -- There's something to be said for being a good bar band. Do it authentic enough, and you can make yourself a living at it, long as you're willing to go to work most every day like everyone else. Formerly the vehicle for guitar slinger Jimmy Thackery, the band's rocka-blues-soul-billy is still as tight as a session player's free T-shirt. Harpist Mark Wenner is still in charge, and while the lineup has changed around a bit (currently a four-piece), the sound is as confident and uncategorizably catchy as it always was. Double Door Inn (Davis)

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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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