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21. 2009 Sunset Jazz Festival: On Sept. 19, the Charlotte-based Pride magazine is, once again, bringing cool, soothing and free sounds to Symphony Park at Southpark Mall via its 18th annual Sunset Jazz Festival. For 2009 -- along with spotlighting great musicians (like headliner Marion Meadows) -- the event's organizers will be collecting donations for the Urban League of the Central Carolinas. On top of that, the festival will feature a Multicultural Career Pavilion, which is designed to connect corporations with talented individuals and small businesses. For more details, visit

22. Iron Cordoba's 1970s Party: If you've been to any of the events promoted by Nasty Shane (or just the "Nasty" half), you know how much fun these parties can be. The band Iron Cordoba busts its ass to learn a whole hell of a lot of tunes for the theme -- covers and redone songs. Most people dress up like it's Halloween and then they throw in some kind of sloppy wrestling -- grits, jello, blood, etc. Better bring a poncho. Tickets are $10 in advance. Sept. 26. Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. 704-358-9200.

23. Free music at Pura Vida: The Plaza Midwood-based retail shop Pura Vida Worldly Art (1521 Central Ave., 704-335-8587) is known for selling unique items from all over the world, but the place has also garnered a reputation for hosting top-notch musical performances ... for free! The concerts take flight every week and some upcoming shows we'd recommend include Tropic Culture (Aug. 29 and Nov. 28 at 5 p.m.) and "The Three Headed Beast Tour" -- starring Major Matt Mason USA, Barry Bliss and Toby Goodshank (Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.). For a list of all future shows, visit

24. Find Your Muse Open Mic: There are open mic nights all over town, and most conjure up images of talentless hacks trying to make it big. That's not always the case -- especially not with the reputation of this particular open mic event. Find Your Muse gets a lot of local talent on the stage and even spotlights a featured performer to play a mini-set in the middle. It's worth every penny. (It's only $3 to get in.) Mondays at The Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. 704-376-3737.

25. Jeff Hahne's Homebrew Volume III: Yep, it's shameless self-promotion, but it's also cheap -- free, in fact! We're working hard on the next volume of the local music compilation, which is set to hit the streets this fall. Aside from being available at local retailers around the area -- yep, still free -- you can bet we'll do some kind of release party with it as well. Keep your eyes on CL's music section for details as they develop.

26. Benji Hughes at Petra's: Every Thursday night for a few months now, local crooner Benji Hughes has been exercising his vocal chords over at this Plaza Midwood Piano Bar. The man who won a handful of awards from our "Best of Charlotte" edition is gathering a solid fan base. It's completely different than his usual rock show ... though we can't guarantee he'll keep his shirt on. Members get in free and the cover is $3 for guests. Petra's Piano Bar, 919 Commonwealth Ave. 704-332-6608.

27. Pop Life Anniversary Party: It's hard to believe that The Sol Kitchen/Creative Loafing-sponsored nightlife event known as Pop Life has been around for two years -- but, hey, it's true. On Aug. 29, come celebrate our success by attending a special night filled with art, film and a collection of Charlotte's best DJs spinning an eclectic mix of soul, classic hip-hop, Afrobeat, Brazilian and other musical forms. Oh and we'll be celebrating the one-year anniversary of Pop Life's current home, Apostrophe Lounge, as well. And, yes, it's free. 9 p.m. 1440 S. Tryon St.

28. Free music night at the Neighborhood Theatre: What better price is there than free? There are regular shows over at the Neighborhood Theatre that feature local and regional acts and are done for no cover charge. Usually when you hear the word "free" you might think the quality will be sub-par, but that couldn't be further from the truth with bands like Eyes of the Elders, Laura Reed and The New Familiars participating in the past. 511 E. 36th St. 704-358-9298.

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