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WEDNESDAY 12.31

Belmont Playboys -- OK, so they're maybe not rockabilly proper. Then again, neither was Social Distortion, and I don't see anyone jumping on Mike Ness' case. 'Round these parts, the Playboys and their various offshoots have become almost a lifestyle choice for those interested in early rock, car culture, tattoos and dark denim. It's no-bullshit stuff, and while the bloodlines might not be the purest ever, the V-twin attitude behind it certainly is. The band hasn't changed a whole lot over the years in the name of "artistic growth," but then again, they don't need to. With The Aqualads. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Bessie Mae's Dream -- Bessie Mae's Dream take cues from the Grateful Dead, but don't limit their repertoire by donning the guise of another tribute or copy band. BMD recently released an upbeat full-length record, Blind Man Sunset, and along with like-spirited comrades Bellyfull and Fullgrown, promise to liven up New Year's Eve by playing psychedelic rock leaning on the proverbial jam trip. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

Derek Trucks Band -- Trucks has undeniably emerged as the torchbearer of blues guitar gods; a flame he upholds quite valiantly. He doesn't get stuck in a straight blues rut as he departs the genre with ease, sliding into eastern influences while working with singers as varied as Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Gregg Allman. Trucks' string-work transcends any specific genre, whether he's playing an electric, acoustic, or even a sarod (a guitar-like sister of the sitar). He can also morph into a jazz guitarist; check "Bock to Bock" off his new disc, Soul Serenade, for a reference. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

Matador Blues -- Here's a band not easily pegged, which of course is a positive thing in my neck of the woods. At times they evoke Tim Buckley-styled folk-rock with a trance-laden psychedelic vibe, at other times they play neck-swaying moody rock. It's a swirl of instrumentation that strolls ahead of the vocals, then casually sidles up behind and eventually winds up chugging along. In the end, the haze turns to sunny, echo-laden space rock that's warmly familiar, yet original. Warming up for Jason Scavone & the Noises Ten and Mully Foggers. The Room (Shukla)

Murdercycle -- Composed of former headz from Ublisch (still the greatest marketed Charlotte band of all time) and Seducer, Murdercycle -- along with pals Semi-Pro, who are also on this bill -- continue to be one of the more intriguing heavy acts around. They're muscular yet lithe, in the vein of someone like the Hellacopters. Swede-free, however. With Elevator Action. Shelberry's (Davis)

The Tombstone Daddys -- The Tombstone Daddys' sound begins (the "Daddy" part, if you will) and ends (the "Tombstone" part) with the twin guitars of Rodney Butler and Scott Gates. With more-than-capable bottom-end help from bassist Andrew Olls and skins-man Brian Johnson, The Daddys play a sort of rave-up, Jason & the Scorchers-brand of no-frills rock & roll. Punky, and willfully hillbilly minus all the stupid camp that normally goes along with it. With Ultralush and Gojira-X. JB'Z (Davis)

FRIDAY 1.2

Tom Conlon/Sam Lowry -- A Gallery Crawl doubleheader featuring music from two folk veterans with very different approaches. New York native Conlon has been on the road for a decade, crafting a mix of trad folk, blues, deep soul, and gospel. Opener Lowry has drawn rave reviews and comparisons to roots/electronica alchemists like Sparklehorse and the Tindersticks, as well as Gothic tale-tellers like Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave. Dark, brooding, tasty stuff. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

SATURDAY 1.3

A Closing Skyline -- They're a young hardcore band. That in itself is not news, but these cats manage the requisite angst in just the right levels for a satisfying thud over grating bombast. Their debut release is The Close Day of Promise, and the other bands on this bill borrow from emo, hardcore and that elusive-to-define genre, indie rock. These partners in crime include Ten Missing Days, The Paris Centerfold, Old Fashioned, Scapegoat and Permanent Midnight. This show is not only the CD release gig for A Closing Skyline, but a showcase for an upstart local booking/promotions collective called Divisional Media. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

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