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No Joke: Fools Day for Unemployed 

April 1 benefit's proceeds go to Second Harvest

Bruce Hazel knows personally that making music about making a difference isn't always enough.

As the front man for The Noise (he's also in The Gold Coast and The Virginia Reel), it struck him that one way for music to change things was to put together a charity event with some of his fellow musicians and band mates and donate all the proceeds to Second Harvest.

And thus was born the First Annual April Drunken Fools Day Benefit, to be held at The Room, April 1. Hazel opted for Second Harvest because of their track record, including their work helping the 4,600 Pillowtex workers who lost their jobs when the local factory in Kannapolis closed. "They are on the front lines out there trying to help people get by day to day," said Hazel. "This is close to my heart because some of my family suffered a similar situation in the mid-80s in New Jersey when our town's textile plant closed. In my music I write about making a difference in our world, and I would like to back up my words with a little action." The event boasts some of Charlotte's best musicians, appearing in roughly this order: 9pm, Vance Carlisle (The Gold Coast); 9:20, Jay Garrigan (Poprocket); 9:40, Chad Edwards (Hard Times Family); 10pm: Justin Williams (The Talk); 10:20, John Morris (Tyre Fyre); 10:40, Nicole Atkins (Los Parasols); 11pm, Joey Stephens (Pyramid); 11:20, Randolph Lewis (Les Dirt Clods); 11:40, The Houston Brothers; 12:40, Dave Childers & the Modern Don Juans.

New Manifest Owners Vow Continuity
Having officially completed their purchase in mid-March of the two remaining Manifest Records & Tapes locations in Charlotte and Columbia, SC, the new owners have promised to maintain the chain's long-standing deep-catalogue philosophy. "We have a sincere appreciation of the relationship that Carl Singmaster (Manifest founder and former president) and his team have built with their customers by providing a deep selection of music," Rob Perkins, CEO of Value Music said in a press release. "It will be our goal to maintain the highly successful Manifest culture." Value Music, a Marietta, GA, based company, has 67 retail outlets in 26 other states.

In the Works
It seems just about every band in Charlotte is either in a studio or getting ready to leave one with new discs in hand, so the spring should be a fertile time for local releases. Currently at or near their drop dates: the Avett Brothers' Mignonette, with a CD-release extravaganza at the Neighborhood Theatre April 16th (their single, Swept Away, is already out); Poprocket's 2nd EP, Indie Rot, is back in print and the trio (Evening Muse co-owner/soundman/raconteur Joe Kuhlmann takes over on bass) is in the studio working on their first full length; Baleen's much-anticipated follow-up to Soundtrack to a Normal Life is in the final mixing stages, and a tentative CD release show is set for May 1 at the Visulite; Fullgrown has a tentative May 22 CD-release party scheduled at the Evening Muse; Delancey Street's 2nd full-length is in final mix mode (Mark Williams, producer), but no CD release party has yet been booked; Eric Lovell (Gigi Dover Band) is finishing up a disc, and new records from the following are also in various studio stages: Pyramid, gogoPilot, Les Dirt Clods, Abe Reid & the Spikedrivers, Etta Lea (Lea Pritchard), Cast Iron Filter, Mike Strauss, Rich Challen (Red Perspective), Rick Spreitzer and Satellite Union (recently chosen by Relix magazine as one of the 10 best unsigned jam bands). Check back for further details in the weeks ahead.

Etc., etc.
Providence Sundries' new owners will be hosting a weekly event featuring Lenny Federal, Bobby Donaldson and John Wicker -- the trio will form the backbone of an informal get-together each Sunday night... "Draggin' the River," a song from locals Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned will get some serious face-time Sunday when it appears in this week's The Sopranos on HBO. It'll be the backdrop when Tony and Adriana discuss their health problems... and if you can't wait for CityFest Live, head on down to Columbia Saturday for the 5th annual Free Times Music Crawl, sponsored by our friends at Columbia's alternative weekly, The Free Times. This year's event features 35 bands from around the region.

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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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