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Scene & Herd 

Be Kind

Gathering of the tribes: Ah, there's nothing like the atmosphere surrounding a big show by the likes of the Grateful Dead or Phish, right? Trouble is, both of those bands have both since hung up their tie-dyes, leaving Widespread Panic to fill the void for those who wish for a large-scale, peaceful gathering of the tribes.

Peaceful it was -- 50 people must have bumped into me over the course of the show Friday night (the band also played another sold-out gig on Saturday), and everybody except one apologized, patted me on the back, and smiled. Which was sort of nice -- after attending some rather hard-core shows over the years, I usually sort of brush off an inadvertent bump and turn away to avoid a fight. Here I didn't dare (it would be rude, after all).

Random Thought/Observation Number One: I have never in my 20-odd (ok, nine) years been around a group of people with a higher white-to-black ratio in my life, and that includes the Masters golf tournament in that hotbed of open-mindedness, Augusta GA. I spotted three people of color after an exhaustive search, all of whom worked for the Coliseum (though one was clearly getting down to the cascading tunes).

Random Thought/Observation Number Two: After hearing older music fans talk over the years about Woodstock, I think I finally got a taste -- or rather, a smell. Two bathrooms I visited had an overpowering smell of feces, which I'm guessing came from the floors, thanks to the overflowing toilets. Must be the falafel.

Random Thought/Observation Number Three: Usually, seeing 10,000 people all thrusting their fists in the air at the same time in response to a cue from their leader seems rather Third Reich-esque. Here, however, the kids (peppered with a few old-timers) just wanted to let loose and be happy. I personally don't get it, but it beats plotting to kill the infidels. More power to 'em, and if the band were a little more creative (like, say, the Grateful Dead), I'd be right there with 'em.

Random Thought/Observation Number Four: For a group of people that seem ultra-concerned with the environment, and for whom "Respect Your Mother" shirts are a fashion statement, there was more garbage and litter than at any show I've ever seen in my life. Garbage was piled so high, it reminded one of the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike.

Random Thought/Observation Number Five: The true spirit of kindness was in evidence, in this case in the form of a bearded, tie-dyed, long-haired gentleman who travels around in a blue, extravagantly painted school bus, whose "job" it is to help out kids in need of a bite to eat or a shoulder to cry on. He's a Christian fellow, yet doesn't preach, only bringing up such matters when asked. Indeed, he also doesn't believe that kids following around a band solely to have a good time and dance and be themselves peacefully is such a bad thing. Someone give this guy a pulpit. -- TCD

Ticket to ride: Last Thursday, the final night of the Charlotte Trolley Pub Crawl, went out with, umm, a bust as most folks apparently chose to drive directly to Tyber Creek Pub -- the most populated stop along the crawl. The pub crawl, held every third Thursday from Spring to Fall, is designed to shuttle patrons to and from several drinking holes (and actually some very esteemed establishments as well) throughout Southend. Despite the small turnout, I hopped a board the cozy rail car (heat from the engine made the rattan covered seats feel as if they were heated) and ventured out. At the Gin Mill, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show seemed to have top billing. Football, hockey and basketball games could be seen on the small screens, but obviously the two chicks behind the bar were in control (and curious about the latest in lingerie fashion) as the largest screen was dedicated to the show. Surprisingly most of the male patrons present ignored the spectacle and continued to watch the sporting events. Of course, there were a few exceptions, like the fella sporting the Skid Row tour shirt from '92 who kept yelling, "Work it baby, work it!." He was obviously there to kill time before the Ratt show began next door at Amos'. At Tyber Creek Pub, where most of the folks I did encounter on the trolley were headed, a crowd of folks was on hand to celebrate a friend's birthday regardless of the fact that the friend had actually decided to stay in for the night. And after being dropped off at the trolley station from the night's last ride I spent some time at Southend Brewery where I tried to stomach a few appetizers over a fair but extremely loud set of covers being cranked out by an acoustic trio. Honestly, it's hard to enjoy a plate of nachos over an ear-splitting rendition of Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive." -- LF

Hip to Derita: It's not too hard to see how the little brick building that sits on the corner of West Sugar Creek and Mallard Creek Road has officially made it from local hangout to full-fledge nightclub. I lived in North Mecklenburg my entire life and despite the enormous boom in population in the area, there aren't really too many options for folks who enjoy original live music. Puckett's has filled the void nicely, and last Friday the joint was a buzz at "Derita Fest," an evening filled with good ol' country-twanged rock provided by the David Childers Band, Les Dirt Clods and Letty & Georgia. One city slicker in attendance even admitted the laid back atmosphere and friendly attitude from everyone made him forget all about the sawdust covered floors that dulled the shine of his Italian leather boots a bit. You also know you're in a cool place when it's well after closing time and the owner's fiancee is still yelling for Childer's guitar player, Eric Lovell, to bring back out his sitar and play. But most important, a brew at Puckett's will only cost you $1.75 (!). -- LF

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