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THURSDAY 9.9
Great White -- By now, the easy thing would have been for Jack Russell and Co. to just hang it the hell up and go home. Not only is their bluesy take on hair metal no longer the style du jour, but there's also the matter of the band's most famous show, the Rhode Island tragedy that killed nearly 100 club-goers in a horrible fire. But this show will no doubt do well (if in a sort of car wreck/voyeuristic way) even as people make sure to locate all available exits before the show begins. I was never a huge fan of the band, of course, but I give them credit for sticking it out -- you can think what you want about their music, but it's hard to question how much they mean it (whatever it is that they mean). With The New Blacks. Amos' Southend (Davis)

FRIDAY 9.10
Joe Robinson -- This Winston-Salem resident began playing trumpet under the spell of Miles Davis and Chet Baker and has played professionally now for over 40 years. He's worked with such famous jazzmen as Gerald Albright, Donald Byrd, Lou Donaldson and Danny Richmond (Charles Mingus' favorite drummer). His second date as a leader, Movin' On, features a little funk, some blues and even the occasional reggae touch, but the standards (including "Days of Wine & Roses" and "My Funny Valentine") predominate and the playing is top-notch. Afro-American Cultural Center (Schacht)

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe -- Led by former Lenny Kravitz sax-man Karl Denson (please don't hold that against him), the Tiny Universe is a funk-based jam conglomerate composed of Denson on lead vocals, tenor sax, alto sax and flute; guitarist Brian Jordan, bassist Ron Johnson, keyboard player David Veith, trumpet player Chris Littlefield and drummer John Staten. It's jam-friendly music to be sure, but the accent is less on mind-expanding improvisation and more on world-in-a-grain-of-sand horny grooving. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Magic Slim and The Teardrops -- Born Morris Holt in Torrence, Mississippi, Magic Slim is one of the greatest living proponents of the Mississippi-weaned, Chicago-bred style that pretty much dominates radio blues these days. Taking his cues from another Magic Man (Magic Sam), Slim formed the Teardrops in 1967, though he didn't receive much press in popular culture until Eddie Vedder invited Slim to open Pearl Jam's concert in Chicago after catching the band at a local nightclub. A consistent nominee in the band category of the WC Handy Awards, Slim's Howlin' Wolf-like singing style is only upstaged by his crackling guitar work, which sounds something like sparking electrical wires all playing in key. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Rock the Vote -- Considering the upcoming presidential election is wedged smack down the middle of the American psyche, every vote's gotta count, even in Florida. Here's a shindig with some fine regional bands swaying the masses with music to get out the vote. The featured bands are Baleen, Calabi Yau, Job's Method and The Truant Scholars. The deadline to register to vote in NC is 25 days before the day of the election, so get your name in the book if you wanna push that button. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

SATURDAY 9.11
Anthony Gomes -- The Canadian bluesman has called Chicago home for many years. The storied history of blues in the Windy City has helped tune Gomes' sensitivity to tradition while bringing gospel, R&B and rock into his own musical story. Gomes plays modern blues with a contemporary, youthful inflection where the guitar is always a bit funky. Gomes excels even further at his no-nonsense acoustic blues. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Dirty Box/Semi-Pro/Drat -- A wonderful triple bill of down-and-dirty punk/rock here, featuring the new Dirty Box, featuring members of Kudzu Ganja and It Could Be Nothing and playing their first show proper; Semi-Pro, the "day band" of Dirty Box singer Tony James; and Drat, low end-heavy classic hardcore punk. As straightahead rock shows go, this might be one of the best bills of the year: no hair gel, no pre-weathered jeans, no radio play, but loads of roiling guitar and naked energy. The Room (Davis)

Hungry Ghost / My So-Called Band -- Looking for a way to spend this most dark of dates without falling into the silly jingoism favored by our current administration? Go check out these two politically charged acts. Hungry Ghost are relatively new to the scene, but their Chomsky-meets Black Flag take on dirty punk is already well known in the underground. My So-Called Band's singer, Chris Peigler, is no stranger to lyrical protest himself, and leads his trio into action with a satchel of new songs from the band's latest offering, Weapons of Mass Distortion. [This show was moved from Queen City Underground, on temporary hiatus since being smacked with the utterly ridiculous (and ridiculously named) Dancehall Ordinance.]. SK Netcafe (Davis)

Sharon LaMotte, Bill Gerhardt & Pere Soto -- An interesting jazz mix of vocals and piano (Asheville's LaMotte and New Yorker Gerhardt) with Soto's Django Reinhardt-like guitar chops. Soto and Gerhardt have recorded together twice before, and Gerhardt and LaMotte have done the duet thing. Soto is part of the popular Catalan quintet Django's Castle, well known throughout Europe for their flamenco and gypsy music. Pewter Rose (Schacht)

Spencer-Acuff -- Co-leader Will Acuff claims no familial link with that other Acuff fella -- still, there's a bit of a musical link in that Spencer-Acuff (David being the Spencer) is a quartet that plays the occasional acoustic rootsy cut in the fashion of a Whiskeytown, for instance. Veterans of the Triangle music scene since 2001, their debut, Moment Golden, mixes those acoustics and more jammy numbers. This show also includes the CD release party of Sonny Sonnenstein, a World Trade Center survivor of 9/11. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

Spread Your Wings Benefit -- This annual fundraiser is geared to generate awareness in the fight against breast cancer. It's also a nicely organized event featuring top regional bands, a popular silent auction, and Locks for Love, where a certain local musician who has some extra will donate hair for children undergoing chemotherapy. This year's performers include The Houston Brothers, David Childers & The Modern Don Juans, Kenny Roby (w/friends), Matthew Ryan and Tres Chicas (Lynn Blakey, Caitlin Cary and Tonya Lamm). See our stories in this issue. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

SUNDAY 9.12
Stone Free! The Jim Brock Tribute Show -- Local musician Jim Brock recently incurred medical expenses far beyond his means -- and like more and more Americans, he has no health insurance -- so some of his musical friends have decided to offer their talents to help him out. They include: Janis Ian, Robin Rogers, Beth Chorneau, Don Dixon & Marti Jones, Kathy Mattea and many more. Minimum donation is $20. Visulite Theatre (Schacht)

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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