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WEDNESDAY 11.26

Drivin' N Cryin' -- Word is that this will be a "full on" rock show, which means all the attendant camp and big Georgia sledgehammer riffs and Kevin Kinney wailing like a stuck pig. That said, it'll likely also be a great deal of fun, provided you ever sang along to NuClassic Rock nuggets like "Fly Me Courageous," "To Build a Fire," or "Straight To Hell." I did, though it should probably also be said that I still want a black Trans Am like Ponch drove on CHiPs. With Black Market Radio, whose own rootsy snarl ought to make this a nice double bill. Amos' Southend (Davis)

Sick Of It All -- Long running hardcore punks continue to abuse throats, as well as guitars, bass, mics and percussion for that matter, with lyrical mayhem. Don't expect them to change their colors for any trends; the new record, Life on the Ropes, on the hip punk label, Fat Wreck Chords, spews forth more tunes to rattle eardrums. Also on the bill are Most Precious Blood, Love is Red, and In The Program. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

FRIDAY 11.28

The Stragglers -- Woody Mitchell and Co. recently lost Joe Smith, the band's longtime pedal steel player, who is said to be retiring from live performances. Not to fear: the band has since inked violinist Ivan Strunin (Delancey Street Band, Darlyne Cain), who's lit a fire under the band's trademark hillbilly amalgam of western swing, jazz, and roots-rock. Another of those bands you might miss because they play around a lot. However, playing around a lot means you're usually pretty tight as a band, which is certainly the case here. Double Door Inn (Davis)

SATURDAY 11.29

Abe Reid & The Spikedrivers -- Abe and his Spikedrivers (still one of the best band names around) play their blues/rock/reggae authentic Piedmont style, and his stint with the (in)famous Blue Rags provides the necessary boho slant. For a young fellow, Abe's seen a lot, and it all goes into the music, from his chicken-fried pickin' to his warm mahogany yawp. The Evening Muse (Davis)

Col. Bruce Hampton & The Code Talkers -- Rock & roll music's second most favorite colonel, Bruce Hampton continues what he started in The Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Fiji Mariners (and before that, numerous legendary Atlanta bands). Namely, jazz-inspired, neo-tropical, guitar-heavy jams that can stretch into the wee hours. Like yet another famous colonel, Hampton keeps things interesting with just the right touch of spice (and probably some herb), setting his music apart from many others of the same ilk. With Indian Sunburn. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Jem Crossland & The Hypertonics -- No fancy duds here, none of those flashy guitar techniques are needed and trends be damned as Crossland and the Hypertonics cut loose with old school rockabilly and plenty more nods to classic American music. The trio twists their way through tunes custom-made for a bopping good time. Also on the bill are 4 On the Floor and Kitty King. Sylvia Theater, York (Shukla)

Mountain Heart -- Two years ago they won the Bluegrass Music Association's prestigious Emerging Artist of the Year award -- without having released their first record yet. The band hasn't slowed down since then, hijacking fans with an old-time sound combined with more modern, progressive lyric content. They won 'em over even in jaded old Nashville, where the group has performed at the Grand Ol' Opry half-a-dozen times already in their short tenure. Local veteran Michael Reno Harrell opens. Neighborhood Theatre (Schacht)

My So-called Band -- Charlotte's politically charged trio sets off plenty of fireworks with punk-infused rock rolled around lyrical slaps at the state of world affairs. The band is currently working on their next project, a maxi-EP called Weapons of Mass Distortion, and are one of the bands lined up for an evening of ass-whooping music. The festivities also include Englewood Ska Quartet, Minority Party, The Semantics and the inimitable Mad Brother Ward. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

WEDNESDAY 12.3

The Talk / The Star Spangles -- The Talk play oh-so-catchy melodic rock, the sort that hammers the notion that guitars will never go out of style. The recent release, No, You Shut Up (on Charlotte's MoRisen Records), showcases the raucous rock sound. The Star Spangles are upstate New Yorkers transplanted to the Lower East Side of NYC and have obviously soaked up the graffiti-strewn rock & roll agenda that's straight out of that late 70's pop-punk cauldron. The debut, Bazooka!!!, with the opening track containing "got my guitar, gonna be a star," seems pointed straight at the charts; they'll probably get there, too. A nice midweek double bill. The Room (Shukla)

Trip Rogers / Rick Spreitzer -- Rogers has been kicking around these parts for years and has given his music a moniker: Coffeehouse Combat Guitar. Loosely translated it means a mix of blues and classic rock sentiments egged on by the old guitar. His recent disc, Mainline, also opts for bits of southern boogie. Spreitzer is a Charlotte-based singer/songwriter leaning heavily on finely crafted tunes that make the acoustic guitar sing -- and occasionally cry -- along. With Michelle Swan. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

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