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WEDNESDAY 12.15

Tom Montefusco -- If the name sparks neuron activity in the dark recesses of your local music memory, Senor Montefusco was an integral part of the Naked Ramblers, a Charlotte mainstay in the mid-80s, a band whose final performance was opening for They Might Be Giants at the Cat's Cradle in '87. Montefusco, the band's guitarist, didn't stop there, producing Wild Guitar, a solo disc of "avant daredevil guitar" that earned kudos from glossies like Option and Spectator, as well as a CL critics' "Best Charlotte Guitarist" award. He'll be improvising his "anti-rock" guitar licks with drummer Donny Fletcher on this night as part of an all-instrumental bill. (Full disclosure: Montefusco is my sister's longtime companion, but I'd write the same entry if he was your sister's boyfriend.) With Solid Gold Wreckers, Job's Method and Roaring Lions of the Two-Fisted Cool. Milestone (Schacht)

THURSDAY 12.16

Audioform -- After the demise of blakrayn, several members started to get the itch again, and have formed a new band, audioform, with the express purpose of playing instrumental, jazz-based music replete with horns and funk overtones. And with members like former blakrayn head Tony Diaz and Baleen's Tony McCullough and Derrick Hines, you know this sextet can bring it. Says here two-to-one odds they're a damn sight more interesting than Audioslave. I know, safe bet, right? With Mercury Blue. Amos' Southend (Davis)

Chris Cook CD Release -- The Belmont native has come full circle with his new one, Small Town Gone, re-embracing the country roots he grew up with on this strong, no-nonsense roots record. If you like the unvarnished Nashville sound (located somewhere between, say, George Jones and Alan Jackson), this record about the commercialization of small town America will delight. Visulite Theatre (Schacht)

Houston Brothers/Unalaska/Labia Minor -- You can count on one thing from the Houstons: intimacy. Sometimes it's a "don't-say-a-word" whispery sort of feel, and sometimes it's a primal breakdown. Enthralling, either way. With like-minded soundscapers Unalaska and the always fun Labia Minor, who are worth checking out no matter your sexual orientation. Milestone (Davis)

FRIDAY 12.17

Ian Moore -- Armed with guitar chops and a near-perfect voice, the Seattle-based troubadour is supporting his excellent Luminaria release, his first for NC's Yep Roc label. See our story in this issue. Sylvia Theater, York (Schacht)

NashVillains In-the-Round -- This is a gathering of like-minded songsters and includes David Mead's falsetto as it rides over acoustic country, Jason White's country-rock for lovers, loners and losers, and Matthew Ryan's cinematic compositions. The most intriguing of the bunch is Ryan, who is firmly grounded in the trenches of Americana with a whispered vocal style and moody flair that weighs in with pop, country, rock and ethereal flourishes. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

Reason To Rock Benefit -- Some regional bands are coming together to benefit A Child's Place, a community organization that works in collaboration with Charlotte-Meck Schools to provide education and support for homeless children. The lineup includes Charlotte's sinewy Britrock specialists Bellglide and the emo-laden rock of South Carolina's Burns Out Bright. Also on the bill are Jason Hausman and LFE. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

SATURDAY 12.18

Athenaeum -- The rumors are true: the library is closing for good. After almost 10 years of bringing the alt.rock from Greensboro to the nation, Athenaeum is calling it quits. Perhaps best known for their 1997 Atlantic album Radiance, ("What I Didn't Know"), the band also released two other, perhaps more worthwhile releases: their self-titled debut and their self-titled swan song, both of which avoided much of the unnecessary gloss that made much of Radiance sound like an explosion at the Johnson Wax building. God bless ye merry gentlemen. Amos' Southend (Davis)

Bill Mallonee -- Leader of one of the most unsung acts of the alt-country era, the Vigilantes of Love, Mallonee now tours as a solo/duet artist. He's also revived the pop elements that defined his formative music experiences in Athens, GA, as a young fan of REM, the dbs, and Mitch Easter's Let's Active. His latest, Dear Life, is an unapologetic attempt to score a hit, something that has eluded Mallonee throughout the nearly 20 years he's been crafting strong songs and clever lyrics. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

Maytag -- Charleston, South Carolina's Maytag is a self-described progressive punk band (equal parts energetic punk amateurism and jazzbo time changes) who are touring on the strength of their excellent new album, Ode to a Son of A Bitch." Sure, there's plenty of dependable energy (they are called Maytag, after all), but the band never quite falls into the rut of doleful nihilism purveyed by so many other bands of the sort, instead relying on a formula comprised of equal parts melody, muscle, and message. With Drat, The Poontanglers and Semi-Pro. Milestone (Davis)

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