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WEDNESDAY 11.5

Alien Ant Farm -- OK, so they have already stepped up a notch on the scene and rock like punks, with salutes to metal and an ear for funky rhythms. The sound of these Alterna-rockers, though, is pedestrian at worst, and sing-along rock on some tunes, at best. They're poking around the touring circuit on the heels of their new release, truANT, and opening for 311. Grady Cole Center (Shukla)

Filmschool/Sea Ray -- Charlotte's own Filmschool ("Big" Mike Mitschele -- vocals and guitar, Grainger Gilbert -- guitar, Jeff Williams -- bass and vocals, "Little" Mike Kenerley -- drums) are currently working on their debut CD, to be released in the future on MoRisen records. The Mikes you may know from Jolene. Gilbert you may recognize from Leisure McCorkle, and Jeff Williams from gogoPilot and Lodestar. Which is another way of saying these guys are local music veterans, but that they're still doing damn interesting work even if they're not the flashiest, hard-drinkin'-est bunch in the world. (OK, so scratch the hard-drinking part). The Room (Davis)

THURSDAY 11.6

Fred Eaglesmith -- Canuck Eaglesmith will sing about cars, mind you, and old dogs, and all the bullshit that goes into too much of what's called Americana these days. However, like his country-mates Blue Rodeo, he's shucked the usual trappings of the genre for a trippier take on heartland country. While he's penned some solid Big Theme stuff over the years, Eaglesmith flies highest when he thinks small, as in little things like love and hope and missing his old lady. Little old lady, that is. Amos' Southend (Davis)

Sam Bush Band -- Sam sure can play the man- do-lin, but man, do these bluegrass guys stretch themselves thin, or what? The man's played with New Grass Revival, Bela Fleck, and Emmylou Harris, to name but a few, but his most satisfying work to these ears is with his own Sam Bush Band, a sort of Nu-New Grass Revival. Sam always shows up to a session ready to pick, however, and tonight's show ought not to be any different. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

FRIDAY 11.7

Blue Man Group -- You've seen this blue-skinned trio in commercials as well as assorted TV appearances showcasing eclectic instrumentation delivered in rapid succession. Musically, it's a loose mix of Kraftwerk and Devo influences taken to a more visual level with hand-made instruments and colors splattered on unsuspecting sheets of canvas. The controlled chaos continues on their recent record, The Complex, featuring guest vocalists Dave Matthews, Tracy Bonham, Josh Haden and others. It's dance music, hip hop and modern pop all rolled into one, combining art-rock with highly visual performance art. With Tracy Bonham and Venus Hum. Ovens Auditorium (Shukla)

Bullship -- Bullship play what one local show-goer once described to me as "old school math rock," a term he knew would set my heart aflutter. Sort of like the late, great local band Pigfucker, Bullship are equal parts Big Black and Frank Black, balancing metallic noise with a heady sense of song structure. This show, their first in some time, is also a CD Release Party -- 10 clams gets you admission and the choice of a T-shirt or the new (self-titled) CD. The Steeple Lounge (Davis)

KMFDM -- Love em or hate em, KMFDM offers a catharsis through noise and remain frontrunners of the industrial dance genre. The stark album covers, buzz-saw guitars and unrelenting drum programming invoke sleazy industrial wastelands; the new record, World War III, is no exception. The ear pounding continues on their umpteenth release while anti-war sentiments abound through distorted vocals and random sound effects. With Bile. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

SATURDAY 11.8

Cary Hudson / Marah -- The Former Blue Mountain leader is on his own these days, and though the vehicle he brings it in may have changed, the message remains the same: life ain't easy, but music and whiskey can help it go down better. Hudson's murky take on Americana has always reflected the Mississippi backwoods it sprang from, and that hasn't changed, either./There was a time when Philadelphia's Marah could be counted among the best alt-country live acts, but then came a pretentious album of wannabe-Brit Pop and folks wondered what the hell happened. Allegedly they've returned to their roots and sought to recapture the live magic. The Room (Schacht)

Full Moon Party w/ Hardcore Lounge -- Promoted by brothers Chris & Wes Johnson, the Full Moon Party was inspired by the renowned Full Moon Party held in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Hardcore Lounge, the band headed by the Brothers Johnson, will perform, and DJs Jim Grindle and Mikey Mike will spin tunes, all backed by documentary footage shot in Thailand. In addition, the band will screen their video "Move," shot on location in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Who says Charlotte bands aren't world class? Visulite Theatre (Davis)

SUNDAY 11.9

Toshack Highway -- After leading the oft-missed shoe-gazer outfit Swervedriver through several records, guitarist/singer Adam Franklin is back with another band. This time it's subtle guitar work that sounds like Ennio Morricone working his way through honky tonks. Gone are Swervedriver's walls of sound, as Franklin now prefers acoustic flourishes to volume. Toshack Highway is more like a country byway as Franklin paints the landscape with a drawl more reminiscent of a southern crooner, not a transplanted Brit. The Room (Shukla)

TUESDAY 11.11

Galactic -- Known by many as the funk band of the jam band set, Galactic fits the description. More than anything else, Galactic plays southern-style funk, the kind that draws heavily from blues, soul, and the band's native New Orleans. It's a greasy, gritty funk, full of bubbling keyboards and wah-wah guitar, and it revolves, of course, around the bass and drums. They'll stretch a song out in concert, with soaring guitar solos or psychedelic explorations, but they always keep the beat. For the new CD, Ruckus, they tried out some new equipment and some new sounds, bringing in alternative hip hop producer Dan the Automator (Dr. Octagon, Cornershop, Gorillaz). The samples, loops and beats are good additions to the sound on CD, but this is essentially a live band, so expect to sweat to the (hard) core funk sound. Visulite Theatre (Falk)

Paul Van Dyk -- The German Trance-master ranks in the upper rungs, if not the top spot, of dance music. Van Dyk has already laid down an extensive catalog of singles, records, and remixes, and is touring behind his latest recording Reflections. This time around he's got indie rockers Vega 4 lending a hand on a couple of tracks, but he doesn't neglect his mixing prowess on the turntables and continues to find ways to keep electronic dance music from becoming repetitive. Mythos (Shukla)

WEDNESDAY 11.12

Cotton Blue Band -- Rob Posey and Debbie Pasek are the principal players in this Charleston-based blues band. Posey can crank out Alvin Lee-style guitar licks, and his gruff vocals get mixed up with some harp blowing on the rockers and slow numbers. Buckhead Saloon (Shukla)

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