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WEDNESDAY 12.8
Jake Armerding -- Jake's currently garnering loads of favorable press for his Boston-meets-bluegrass take on traditional coffeehouse folk. The sound recalls Del McCoury and Ricky Skaggs as much as it does, say, Richard Shindell, but Armerding's smooth-as-latte voice still places it firmly in the percolated vein of the Massachusetts strum-and-sing set. To continue this goofy coffee analogy to the breaking point, it's not a triple espresso (you may need a coffee after two hours or so of Armerding's tender emoting), but something more akin to a creamy cappuccino: sweet, warm, and with just enough froth bubbling over from time to time to keep you interested. The Evening Muse (Davis)

THURSDAY 12.9
Dirty Box -- Comprised of former members of ...it could be nothing and Kudzu Ganja, The Box are pretty dang similar in sound to the still-underrated Semi-Pro, mostly due to the pipes of singer Tony James, who mans vocal duties for both. The name's pretty apropos, however: a little Misfits/Mudhoney-style drunken swagger and wit (the dirty), together with a punch-you-in-the-grill musical grind (the box). Good stuff. The Room (Davis)

DJ Tiesto -- There may be no more famous DJ in the world right now, without even taking into account his legendary six-hour Trance sets. His epic 11-1/2 minute remix of Delerium's "Silence" with Sarah McClachlan was a huge Euro-hit, and set a standard for DJs using haunting female vocals in their mixes. He's a two-time DJ of the Year award winner as chosen by DJ Magazine, and the Dutchman also composed the opening ceremonies music for this summer's Olympic games in Athens. What have you done for us lately? Plenty. With Scott Modie. Velocity (Schacht)

The Liane Edwards Band -- Lots of acts claim to be big in Europe, but for Lianne Edwards, a native of North Carolina, it's no embellishment to say she's bigger overseas. Edwards, who moved to France in 1992, has made a name for herself as a country artist among our French amis, though her music is an eclectic blend of roots music Toby Keith would be hard-pressed to name. On washboard or guitar, Edwards' performance is said to inspire maximum participation -- from the audience and her band. With Rock Hill, SC, footstompers Four on the Floor. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

FRIDAY 12.10
Always the Runner -- An instrumental quartet from Baton Rouge, LA, more in the manner of Texas' Explosions in the Sky rather than, say, our own more eclectic Sea of Cortez. This is big, epic guitar music with beaucoup delay and tremolo and waves of crescendos descending - quite pleasantly, I might add - on the listener's senses. Wisely, there are enough odd turns into different time signatures and altered sonics - and even a couple vocal tracks -- on their self-titled debut EP to keep things interesting throughout. After their early show here, they'll be hightailing it over to the Room for a late set -- no excuses not to hear 'em, in other words. With Almighty Flying Machine, Heartwood and The Verdict at the Milestone, and the Virginia Reel at the Room. The Room (Schacht)

A Closing Skyline -- A Christian hard core group celebrating the release of their new EP, An Autograph of Our Own Extinction. The music is straight-ahead hardcore, plenty of thunderous guitars, liquefying bass-lines and throat-scorching vocals -- except, of course, that the apocalyptic stuff ends in rapture. For some. Allegedly. With Secret Lives of the Freemasons, Cambridge and This Waking Moment. Tremont Music Hall (Schacht)

Danielle Howle -- Whether solo, or with bands Lay Quiet Awhile and The Tantrums, SC's Danielle Howle does just that ∫- howl ∫- with an originality and verve not seen very often with acoustic singer-songwriter types. Able to rise from a mannered croon to an aching wail at the drop of a G-chord, Howle's back catalog includes records on the Southern, Daemon, and Kill Rock Stars labels. Her sugary/strong, PJ Harvey-in-PJs sound would seem to be tailor-made for a wider audience. That is, were there more suits with the guts to sign Southern female songwriters not named the Indigo Girls. Sylvia Theater, York (Davis)

Drive-By Truckers -- Their album Southern Rock Opera was a red clay reveille to timid critics everywhere, and these truckers haven't taken their foot off the gas since. Finally set with a stable lineup, the band is now a well-oiled machine live, provided you like your well-oiled machines with plenty of three-guitar howl and snarled lyrics about the so-called "Southern thing." See the See & Do section of this paper. Also December 11. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

SATURDAY 12.11
Candye Kane -- Something of the Candida Royale of the blues/rock circuit, Ms. Kane is a sex-positive performer equally at home with belting out blues standards and hitting her audience below the belt with tales of love and loss and, well, creative uses of belts. For once, the phrase "you can't take your eyes off her" applies. Double Door Inn (Davis)

The Films -- Formerly known by the even-more-unwieldy moniker Tinkers Punishment, The Films describe their influences as Weezer, Elliott Smith, and the Pixies. I'd say it's a low-cut, skinny-tied, mop-top approximation of the above, containing lots of pretty-on-the-outside musical flesh but barely enough bone underneath to hold it all together. They'll probably get their 15 minutes, but who doesn't these days? The Evening Muse (Davis)

WEDNESDAY 12.15
Mieka Pauley -- Winner of the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase earlier this year, Pauley won the award for artists who write and perform original music and are currently unsigned to a major recording or publishing deal. Located vocally somewhere between Sarah McLachlan and Fiona Apple, Pauley's music is a mix of blues, classic soul and R&B and folk. If you're looking to rock -- this probably won't fit the bill, but the Boston native is making a name for herself in folk circles. With John Dungan and Brandy Robinson. The Evening Muse (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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