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WEDNESDAY 8.6

Chris Smither -- A round of applause, please, for singer/songwriters still delivering their signature tunes three decades down the road from their initial debut, and still sounding good. Smither's voice has aged like a cherished vintage and the blues-folk is delivered much of the time during his live performances with feet tapping giving a percussive backdrop to the guitar chords. He presents more such tunes on his recent release, Train Home (Hightone), with desolate vocals spinning tales of hard-earned experiences. With Mike Strauss. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

Tyre Fyre -- Man, the band that was once Come on Thunderchild has splintered into loads of other good bands. Former 'Child Johnny Morris' new outfit, Tyre Fyre, sees him venturing into more of a pop direction, but the band doesn't forget the rock, either, power-stomping their way through a number of surprisingly polished story-songs and tasteful covers. A good chance to see a good band on the ground floor before the elevator door closes. Double Door Inn (Davis)

THURSDAY 8.7

Dodd Ferrelle & The Tinfoil Stars -- It's usually a pretty good sign when you start bobbing your head with the first notes of the first tune of a CD. Ferrelle's disc, Always Almost There, is sort of a Celtic-laced folk-rock collection leaning heavier on the rock side while eschewing the pitfalls of folk pretension. Ferrelle and his Athens, GA, based band round out the basic two guitars, bass and drums progression that works its way up and down the scales of Irish rock and American roots music. Hey, anyone who covers The Waterboys' "Fisherman's Blues" with a passion is worth a listen. The Room (Shukla)

FRIDAY 8.8

American Idols Live! -- More of you people who care to admit it are going to see this. And why not, I guess. If watching it every week (and sometimes, more than once a week) is OK, why not see Ruben and Clay and Trenyce and Kimberly Caldwell and Rickey and...er, nevermind. I never watched that show anyway. Charlotte Coliseum (Davis)

Garaj Mahal -- This quartet consists of top musicians but let's just hone in on guitarist Fareed Haque. A professor of jazz and classical music at N. Illinois University, Haque flails the guitar as if a third arm protrudes from his body. He has shared the bill, recording duties and compositional skill with numerous jazz and world music stalwarts while effortlessly inhabiting and joining the realm of jazz masters. But don't pigeonhole him, as the firepower in his fingers can leave the best rock guitar gods in the dust when the mood suits him. The rest of the band, rounded out by superb musicians including bassist Kai Eckhardt, are ready to unleash a night of eclectic sounds able to permeate the most dormant of brain cells. This is jazz-rock of the highest order. A don't miss gig. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

Toby Keith -- Toby Keith said in the recent Blender that another artist had called him an ignorant redneck and said that all his fans were the same (I tend to agree with the first but not the second). He then said he'd kick their ass or something equally boneheaded. When asked how big he was, he said 6'4"...and eight inches. Haw! Jesus. It would take eight inches of burrowing into Keith's mulleted, professionally coiffed-and-highlighted head before one struck gold, and even then it would be of the fool's variety. Arguably the most popular artist in country music, he's also probably the worst -- the music is as predictable as his worldview, and his lyrics aren't far behind. Did you know big-ol'-boy Keith once played in the ill-fated USFL pro football league? He did. But I bet little old Hank Senior still could've whooped his ass. And I know Hank the Third can. With Blake Shelton. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Davis)

SATURDAY 8.9

Against Me / My So-Called Band -- Against Me are rockers who have jumped on the fun loving punk bus and label called Fat Wreck Chords. They've been tooling around with various incarnations of punk shenanigans and continue to roll on. Also on the bill is Charlotte's politically charged trio My So-Called Band who tug away at the state of world affairs with blistering sets proving that much of the time guitar, bass and drums are all that are needed for the festivities. With My Dog Kootch. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Babyshaker -- Here's a warm up show for their imminent return to the studio to record their second album. Babyshaker loosens the dust with glam rock, punk rock and just plain rocking rock. Send 'em off with proper vibes to come out fighting on their sophomore release. With a band simply called The Man. Fat City (Shukla)

David Childers & The Modern Don Juans -- I get accused from time to time of pumping up the local boys and girls (insert punchline here), and there may be a bit of truth in that. However, like keys, things in the most obvious locations are often the hardest to see. Sometimes we need a friend to say, "Hey, man! Your keys are hanging on your 'punk rock' wallet chain that you bought over at Rock and Roll Emporium." All this being a long introduction to the fact that I was recently listening to David Childers' most recent album -- Blessed in an Unusual Way -- with some friends, and noticed that his Bob Dylan cover fit in perfectly with the other songs. As in, you thought it might have been written by DC himself. It fooled at least a couple of us, in fact. Fooling people (or their expectations of you) without making a fool of people is a difficult trick, but one David manages quite nicely. Think of him as a lawyer, and he'll kick your ass with a roadhouse set of blood-and-sweat blues like you wouldn't believe. Think of him solely as a musician and he'll dazzle you with wisdom. Think of him as a man and you'll be a fan for life. The Room (Davis)

Jason Scavone & The Noises Ten / New August -- Alright, so here are a couple of bands I'm giving quick shout outs to, strictly on the benefits of their demos. Scavone and crew play mellow, somber rock with the help of piano, steady guitars and a crooning front man. New August is an up and coming outfit touching on moody, modern rock that manages to build tension as the song progresses. I've only heard a couple tracks, but the premise is intriguing. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

SUNDAY 8.10

50 Cent -- I suppose I'm relatively safe from any backlash from 50's G-Unit crew (we here at the Loaf offices don't play, you see), so I can say anything I want about 50. I can say he glorifies violence like Christians do Jesus. But he doesn't, really. 50 glorifies money. I can say his rapping sucks. Yet, it doesn't, really. There's a hell of a lot worse rappers out there, and 50 does seem rather inventive on occasion, even with his side-spitting delivery. I can say he's not very smart (or not very lucky, having been shot nine times). Yet, I don't think that's true, either. The man is a master marketer, and seems rather with-it in interviews. The worst thing I can say about 50? He's rather normal, when you get right down to it. With Busta Rhymes, Fabolous, Sean Paul and Bonecrusher. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Davis)

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