Monday, August 5, 2013

Music compilation 'Homebrew' to return this fall

Posted By on Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 10:10 AM

I took some time off, but it's about time for another entry in the Homebrew compilation series, don't you think?


Since it began in 2008, five volumes of Jeff Hahne's Homebrew have been released featuring more than 70 Charlotte area bands and artists. Each release has been celebrated with a concert featuring a handful of that CD's featured artists.

We're still working out the exact details of how this will all come together - CD vs. download card, but we've got some concert dates on hold and are ready to get this all going.

So, here's the call for entries. I'm looking for music from bands and artists located within a 30-mile radius of Charlotte who have put out new music anytime between the beginning of 2012 and now. If you'd like to send in your submission, you can email it to

Go ahead and get those submissions in by Aug. 31 and I'll select the best that Charlotte has to offer for inclusion on Jeff Hahne's Homebrew Vol. 6!

In the meantime, you can download all of the previous releases and read more about how this all started here.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Live review: Vans Warped Tour, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (7/29/2013)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Vans Warped Tour
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
July 29, 2013

This year's Vans Warped Tour pulled its parade of buses and gear into the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on July 29 as per usual, but brought something new in one aspect: it was Warped's most diverse line up in years.

The tour has become known for touting future and current mainstream sensations (Paramore, Blink 182, and My Chemical Romance to name a few) and showcasing death metal and screamo bands galore. So, seeing the kind of range that festival founder Kevin Lyman brought to the masses this year was refreshing.

There were definitely the usual punk and metal bands (Black Veil Brides and New Year's Day come to mind), but there was also a major influx of folk artists (Brian Marquis, Allison Weiss), plenty of soulful singer-songwriters (both new, such as Billy the Kid, and veterans, like William Beckett) and even some techno-pop thrown in for good measure (Goldhouse).

While it was far from Warped's usual lineup, most of it worked. The "EDM" stage didn't appear to be much of a success, but at least they tried. Yes, the Hot Topic-wearing set of pre-teens accompanied by tired parents was present, but so were the 30-somethings who grew up with this musical festival along with the Mohawk-sporting scene kids. It was cool to see Warped veteran's Chiodos, for example, playing to a crowd of moshing kids up front, while those same kids' parents were jumping up and down in the back.

No matter what reputation Warped Tour has garnered over the years it's at least remained true to its original purpose: just to bring a crowd of people of all ages together to hear some music and have some fun.

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The Pull List (7/31/13): Marvel shocks world with new Wolverine title

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Are you sitting down? I hope so - because I have a Galactus-size bomb to drop on you today, fellow fanboys.

Marvel has a new Wolverine comic title today.

It may just be a one shot, but writer Chris Cosentino has hinted at more to come in interviews. Wait, Chris Cosentino? Where have we heard that name? Ask your foodie friends, and they'll tell you: It's that same Chris Cosentino who won Top Chef Masters and appeared on various reality television programs as a celebrity chef. The book is called Wolverine: In the Flesh, and it features Cosentino helping Wolverine stop the person behind some murder cases in San Francisco.


It's easy to be cynical, as we should check out the book before reserving judgment. After all, the story came about after Marvel talent scout C.B. Cebulski and Cosentino talked over Twitter, and then in person at the latter's restaurant. The chef/writer says he wrote the story in an evening. And ... well, you know, go ahead and be cynical.

Other notable debuts include a new Tom Strong series and Collider #1, a sci-fi romp that challenges the laws of physics with a futuristic backdrop. Cool stuff. Be on the lookout for annuals for Batman and Flash as well.

This week Title You Can't Miss? X-Men Legacy keeps getting better - and I have the fine folks at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find to thank for the suggestion.

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Theater review: We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 10:20 AM

It took three days for me to confirm why Nicia Carla, one of Charlotte's supreme comediennes, wasn't stealing scenes down at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte in the world premiere of Narrow Daylight, a wonderful vehicle for her in last year's nuVoices Festival. Turns out she was stealing groceries for her own little company's We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! a high-energy Italian farce by Dario Fo that has waited nearly 40 years - for the right translation by Ron Jenkins and the right company - to make its Charlotte debut.


After watching Carla & Co. frolic about at Duke Energy Theater in this PaperHouse Theatre production, I'd say it was well worth the wait. Carla's role as Antonia has the tang of such vintage TV wives as Edith Bunker and Lucy Ricardo, crazily conniving to skirt the authority of their husbands. Looking at the volcanic outbursts of Robert Lee Simmons as Giovanni, I couldn't help hearing echoes of Ralph Kramden's famed expostulations, "To the moon, Alice!" or the more concise "Bang! Zoom!"

Simmons' performance notwithstanding - among the most bodacious of his high-energy career - Giovanni follows the Archie Bunker model more closely, blindly reactionary in his views and ruler of the roost. It's his radicalization that Fo wants us to follow once Antonia has breathlessly arrived home to her cheap apartment after participating in a spontaneous, populist riot at her neighborhood supermarket. Prices have skyrocketed overnight due to runaway inflation, and the riled housewives' response, as they first name their own prices and then set to looting, becomes the rallying cry that is Fo's title.

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Today's Top 5: Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 31, 2013 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

* Summer Solo Exhibit at Hidell Brooks Gallery


* Psychedelic Furs at Chop Shop

* Fitness and Wellness Expo at Suite

* Tom Simmons at The Comedy Zone

* Covers for a Cause at Double Door Inn

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Psychedelic Furs at Chop Shop tonight (7/31/13)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Born out of the '70s British post-punk era, the Psychedelic Furs are best known for their new-wave art-rock, lyrical sophistication and wildly visceral live performances. Having released seven studio albums with singles featured on both U.S. and U.K. charts, the four-piece ensemble has accumulated an international following of fans who are hungry for their continuance of underground pop in 2013. Though most of the band's albums oscillate between rock 'n' roll circa '80s London and a sort of post-Bowie meets The Cure vibe, the songs are nostalgic of an altogether better age for music and certainly hold up more than 30 years later. Combining the grandness of Richard Butler's asthmatic croons with monolithic bass/drums and synthetic pop, The Furs are a welcome reminder that rock music isn't dead yet. With Spacehog, Cement Stars. $25-$28. July 31, 7 p.m. Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St. 704-765-2467.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Biggest Moral Monday yet, focused on harmful public education cuts

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Led by a multitude of gutsy teachers, thousands of people flooded downtown Raleigh today for the biggest Moral Monday protest yet. Showing opposition to the state GOP agenda, the large crowd topped off the legislative session that ended Friday, and reinforced just how angry and motivated the GOP's political opponents have become since Tea Party nihilists and their mascot, er, governor made North Carolina the poster state for ass-backwardness.

Today's Moral Monday protesters were particularly riled about what the General Assembly has done to the state's public education system. And with good reason. Republicans in the legislature moan that they just "didn't have enough to fund all the educational needs," as Sen. Jerry Tillman, co-chairman of the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee, told the News and Observer. Gee, Jerry, wonder how that happened? Could it possibly be that your party's tax cuts for the rich and for profitable businesses (90 percent of the individual tax cuts go to the state's wealthiest 5 percent) - and the $524 million in lost revenue over the next two years they caused - could have picked up the tab for "all the educational needs"? Lucky for you, Jerry, the policy wonks at the N.C. Budget and Tax Center created the handy chart shown below - and they even quoted you!


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Opening This Week

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 2:08 PM


The Smurfs 2 - Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria


I'm So Excited! - Cecilia Roth, Hugo Silva

Still Mine - James Cromwell, Genevieve Bujold

2 Guns - Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg

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Live review: Electric Run, Charlotte Motor Speedway (7/26/2013)

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Electric Run
Charlotte Motor Speedway
July 26, 2013

Being that I had the pleasure of writing the event preview and, now, the review, I get to compare what the organizers said Electric Run was going to be versus what the event actually was. On the official website, a snippet from the "About Us" section reads, "Electric Run promises to transport the mind, body and soul to a new world in a healthy and drug-free way." So, does that mean if my mind, body and soul were not transported and in fact remained stationary here on Earth, I get my money back?

The healthy rave started right as the sunlight began to fade this past Friday night. Participants gathered outside of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, waiting for gates to open, as our city became the 14th to host the inaugural Electric Run. Inflatable barrels of glow sticks aligned the waiting area as we were treated to a crap rotating playlist of "Levels" vs. "Rolling In The Deep," the worst remix of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and five more songs that sounded exactly like it.

The tremendously long line was released in sections, so I didn't actually start the run until about 50 minutes after gates opened, and there were way more people behind me.

Looking at the size of the crowd, it was exciting to see so many people participate in a dance-music-related event. Considering the terrible numbers Identity Festival drew a few summers ago (and that tour brought pioneers to the genre). But I digress.

I basically laughed at everyone who dressed to actually run. No glow sticks, no neon, no body paint, just some stretchies and a serious mean-mug on the face. All that tells me is that you don't read the, "Participants are encouraged to join in on the art by lighting up with glow sticks, LEDs and anything else their imagination can conjure up," stipulation (and you didn't read the event preview Creative Loafing).

So, from very early on, there were two groups of people: Those who came to actually run, and those that came to explore and have fun. Whether it was healthy and drug-free is out of my hands.

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Live review: Charlotte Gets F*cking Weird, Chop Shop (7/27/2013)

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Charlotte Gets F*cking Weird
Chop Shop
July 27, 2013

There's a line nine people deep out-stretched to what seems like feet away from the train tracks that parallel The Chop Shop. Crowds are (im)patiently waiting to enter the fourth Get's F*cking Weird. Clearly, this was the party to attend this past weekend, and the lack of parking in and around NoDa was further proof.

Alternating between the aforementioned venue and Phoenix Nightclub, the event has grown from its semi-regular nightly to a mini tour, with this past weekend's Charlotte date kicking off a five-city tour in Asheville, Columbia, New York City and Raleigh.

This was my first time attending the show, and before I delve into my thoughts on the rotating event, I should probably establish what I think weird is.

Exhibit A: Two bros trying on cardigans in the same changing room at Abercrombie. Weird.

Exhibit B: A girl, no older than 8 years, riding a bicycle in Dilworth and cradling a man in the front wicker basket. Fucking weird.

Now, maybe I just have a high threshold as to what weird is, but I found myself surprisingly un-weirded by the majority of the acts I saw.

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