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Scene & Herd 

I Died And Went to Chrome Heaven

Hog Pen: A visitor to uptown Charlotte Saturday would have been justified in thinking that just about everyone in our fair burg wore leather, feathered their hair, and still clung to the idea that acid-washed jeans look good ­ the Easyriders Bike Show had rolled into the Convention Center. The big square building will likely never be the same. Walking into the venue, I noticed two trash cans turned over, cups of beer left everywhere and loads of people smoking in the no-smoking lobby (one lady was overheard discussing the merits of "100's" smokes with her friend: "they're the same price, but you get two extra drags!") The descent into the large main room was Fellini-esque: leather and breasts everywhere, as well as some of the most outrageous (and expensive) choppers imaginable. Except for a brief scare when the crowd roared when a "dancer" began gyrating to the strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the crowd wasn't nearly as rowdy as I expected. Sure, there were guys wearing shirts that read "A Woman's Place Is On My Face," but at least a girl knows where she stands (or sits) with a guy like that. The remarkable thing was that, despite the aura given off by the plentiful Confederate flags and the whole bad boy cycling image, the bike show was well-integrated ­ much more so than many uptown "society" functions. Then again, at uptown society functions you can't buy patches that say "Jane Fonda ­ Traitor Bitch." Nor can you check out the wares of a place called www.dorags.com, a necessity for keeping that mullet from getting too out of place on a ride. And you can't bond like one father and son did, the kid anxiously tugging his father's arm and asking just when "the booty dancers were gonna come back out." Guess you can never start 'em too young. " Tim Davis

Oh Deer One thing about a rockabilly band: you can pick their fans out in a crowd. At least that was the case Saturday night when a modest bunch of leather-clad greasers and gals mixed with the regulars at one of the city's more unusual music venues, Puckett's Farm Equipment ­ by the way, they've cleared out all the vintage tractor parts, making more room to boogie down. Surprisingly, the rockabilly crew shied away from the dance floor (at least while I was there) while the regulars, dressed in their NASCAR tees and button-downs, put their best foot forward and danced through, up, and around the aisles. Jem Crossland & The Hypertonics were first up, featuring, among others, Chipps Baker of the infamous Belmont Playboys on sax and guitar. Closing out the night was a relatively new band called 4 On the Floor. They hail from Rock Hill, of all places, and with the exception of their lead singer's semi-slick-backed 'do, I would've never pegged the casually dressed fellas as purveyors of the classic genre. The lead singer was cranked, wearing a Johnny Cash mask for one tune and what appeared to be a real deer's head for another. Later, he said he'd resorted to drastic tactics because he was nervous following the impressive Crossland band. It didn't take him long to ditch the deer's head, anyhow, when club owner Gary Puckett shouted out how much rednecks like to shoot at 'em. It was a fun night for most, although I have to keep reminding myself that since I went to North Meck, I'm probably always going to run into at least one person I went to high school with there. ­ Lynn Farris

Ain't nothin' but a house party. . .: Many moons ago, John Tosco started organizing small, informal gatherings at his house, where everyone would trade songs and tell stories and generally enjoy a night of music divorced from the smoky bar scene. The parties grew larger, and Tosco started holding them at the Great Aunt Stella Center. When that venue proved too small, Tosco moved the whole thing to Spirit Square. Seeing as the show was a sellout Saturday night, maybe Tosco ought to look into securing Cricket Arena next time around. For the uninitiated, a party consists of about 10-15 performers doing a couple of songs apiece, as well as five or six group sing-alongs where Tosco and a house band lead the audience in the singing of some old nugget like Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman." This was Tosco's first party without his wife and kids who, he reminded us all more than a couple of times, were out in LA recording an album for Maverick Records. Near the middle of the show, Tosco called his family on his cell phone, letting the whole crowd listen to their conversation. I'm sorry, but that's a bit too informal, but overall the evening was a fun, G-rated way for those who disdain the bar scene to get to hear a nice sampling of local talent. As a relative of mine remarked, "It's like listening to A Prairie Home Companion, but being there all at the same time." At least we didn't have to look at Garrison Keillor. And we could still go have a drink afterward. " Tim Davis

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