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Pearl Jam / Sleater-Kinney -- At this point in their career, Pearl Jam has become something of the wise old conscience of 90s alt.rock, having fought Ticketmaster, Clear Channel, hair loss, drummer loss, and loss of radio play. What they have done is retool themselves as a sort of modern-rock Grateful Dead, playing their countless hits along with standards from across the years, with every show's set being different (and sold online). Neighbors Sleater-Kinney have garnered enough critical huzzahs to make Joni Mitchell blush, and for good reason. If Pearl Jam and Co. helped kill off hair bands, the howl of S-K's Corin Tucker might have helped nail shut the revolving door of grunge pretenders -- thank God or Greil Marcus. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Davis)


Chris Whitley -- Texan Whitley takes his floating falsetto on a moody, bumpy ride littered with rock, blues and jazz. He dives in headfirst and comes up for air only when survival is at stake. His haunting originals and even more shimmering covers, like the spine-tingling "The Crystal Ship," encompass a sound built on sheer musicianship with just a touch of feedback. Whitley is on the road pumping his latest acoustic disc Hotel Vast Horizon, with playing and writing that prompts one to stand at attention, voluntarily or otherwise. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

Kevin Welch -- His track "Glorious Bounties," from the most recent recording Millionaire, harkens a great, long-lost Springsteen track that could have been recorded by Chris Isaak. Now that the name-dropping is out of the way, Welch creates potent shuffle rock on the country tip that's moody and echo-laden while conjuring a sense of walking down familiar trails. He's been around long enough to respect the soft spots while hammering the elusive riff... most of the time. Sylvia Theater, York (Shukla)


Antiseen -- No one should be surprised to open a thesaurus and discover that the antonym of "politically correct" is "Antiseen." They've been critter eatin', rebel yellin', trailer trashin', blood splatterin' and bombs droppin' with the singular guitar attack of Joe Young and the unmistakable blood gurgling yowl of Jeff Clayton for two decades now. Most of the other hooligans who've played with the duo over those years are slated to show up for the slaughter. The must-see gig of the week, if only to experience the thrill of the ride. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Def Leppard -- Yes, Def Leppard. Yes, they paid the price for the rolling Sodom and Gomorrah show that was The Lep in the 80s and early 90s. Yes, they did have a hand in foisting Robert John "Mutt" Lange on us, and as a result must bear part of the blame for Shania. That said, the band has managed to give us a dozen or so tracks that'll probably go down as some of the best (mass-market) radio pop of the 80s. They're currently trying to remake the band as sort of a racier Bon Jovi, focusing on softer Viagra rockers like the band's cuddly-yet-horny track "Animal." It's a gambit that may or may not work, but it's reason enough to tour, they seem to think, as do thousands of their fans, who still wish they could be up on stage with 'em. And why not? Here's betting they still get the girls. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Davis)

The Seldom Scene -- You can look up bluegrass in the dictionary and The Seldom Scene will come up as a reference. Their bluegrass is packed with so many harmonies and assured instrumentation as to turn even the most jaded heads in anticipation for the next tune, a simple fact of having played together for more than three decades. Whether it's an original or their stack of rousing covers such as "After Midnight" or "Stomping at the Savoy," The Seldom Scene paint bluegrass as masterworks, not just front porch gatherings. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)


Kevin Montgomery -- He's got the sort of "riding through the desert while the radio is playing," mellow, 70s country-rock persona. No, Don Henley didn't change his name: Montgomery holds his own with evocative tales of running off to California, suicide and torn lovers. His voice carries it all off into the dimming light, either welcoming the night or sighing another lonesome tumble into another day. The Evening Muse (Shukla)


Seether / Trapt -- Seether are hard rockers bowing to those that have come before -- Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots -- and scrapping with those that are arriving -- themselves, for one. They don't produce page-turners, but the tunes are interesting enough in the crunch of guitars with enough requisite angst. Trapt are quicker with licks and chops but attain a more melodic thud. Knob twister GGGarth produced Trapt's debut record and the results are fairly catchy, sing-along ditties. All in all, a couple of up and coming outfits making their way out of the alterna rock jungle. (Shukla) // That's one jungle that ought to have been clear-cut by now. Another package tour consisting of a faceless load of goatee farmers, hoisted on us from major labels who think that all kids want to listen to is what passes for illiterate, half-baked, fifth-generation Bush. Even the damn band names sound like they were test marketed before being chosen, so as to contain the appropriate amount of generic angst to get the kiddies to ante up the dollars (and God knows they are). For the love of Scott Weiland, enough! Tremont Music Hall (Davis)


Don Dixon Band -- The former Arrogance bassist and singer is no stranger to these parts, having both played (with Arrogance, and with wife Marti Jones) and recorded others (R.E.M., David Childers, Snagglepuss). Two of the man's records belong in any album collection worth its salt: the delightfully named Most Of The Girls Like To Dance But Only Some Of the Boys Like To and Romeo At Juilliard. Dixon the musician is much like Dixon the producer -- not afraid to take chances, either with instrument choice or musical direction, even if it means changing his mind mid-song. Dixon's backing band for this show features Spongetone and producer Jamie Hoover, as well as Hootie and the Blowfish drummer "Soni" Sonefeld. With Kyle Davis. Double Door Inn (Davis)

ph balance -- Signed to Indigo gal (and fellow Georgian) Amy Ray's Daemon Records, pH Balance continue to quietly persevere on the Southeastern club scene, thanks to Pam Howe's magnolia-sweet pipes paired with some tasty kudzu-style rapping and trip-hop-style beats. Sort of fuzzy and funky and feral all at the same time, the band comes off as something of a thrift-store Digable Planets, without the accompanying self-righteousness. The Evening Muse (Davis)

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