Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cactus Truck w/ Jeb Bishop at Snug Harbor tonight (10/23/2012)

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 8:26 AM

The visiting young Dutch trio Cactus Truck collaborates frequently with fellow countrymen and longtime noise-punk generators The Ex, a factoid which really only provides a jump-off point for its cacophonous ruckus. Cactus Truck’s debut, Brand New for China!, dropped in March, and the music comes at you with such unfettered ferocity that it’s a bit like being trampled by sound, and therefore easy to overlook elements of delta blues, New York no-wave and early free-jazz in the assault. Saxophonist John Dikeman’s reed unleashes Eric Dolphy-like note-torrents, Jasper Stadhouders’ aggro extends to both guitar and bass, and drummer Onno Govaert’s motor red-lines through nearly the entire set. Chances are you’ll be as exhausted as they are afterward, and your view of the genteel Netherlands — windmills, bicycles, quiet canals — left smoldering. As for Bishop, Chicago’s loss is the Carolinas’ gain: The veteran trombone wizard recently relocated to the Triangle, as his wife got a job at University of North Carolina. Bishop’s played regularly with the top echelon of Chicago’s fecund improv scene for 20 years, including stints with bands led by Ken Vandermark, Rob Mazurek and Peter Brötzmann. He’s been sitting in with the 21-year-olds in Cactus Truck this tour (UPDATE: he actually will not be on the Charlotte bill). With Joint D and Great Architect prior to Country Tuesdays. $5. Oct. 23, 8 p.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. 704-333-9799.

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Alejandro Escovedo tonight at the Visulite Theatre (10/23/2012)

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 8:22 AM

Alejandro Escovedo has been pegged as an alt-country artist, but he doesn’t see it that way. In the 1970s, Escovedo dropped his calling card in San Francisco’s kitchen-sink punk scene as guitarist for the Nuns. He went on to form seminal cow-punkers Rank & File and underappreciated garage maestros True Believers, before launching a solo career in 1992. Though his alt-country tag stems from some quietly insular, strings-and-things LPs he recorded in the wake of his wife’s death, it’s clear that Escovedo has always been a rock 'n’ roller — albeit an extremely eclectic one. That’s been particularly true since 2008, when he teamed with his current songwriting partner, the roots-punk musician and poet Chuck Prophet. Recently, Escovedo and Prophet have become slaves to the rhythm, hoarding magpie pickings from the world of dance music. On Escovedo’s current project, Big Station, the co-conspirators draw on influences as diverse as Eddie Cochran, The Clash’s Sandinista and Malian riff-rockers Tinariwen, crafting lean, big-sounding songs that compel crowd members to get up on their feet and shake. With a voice pitched somewhere between a caw and a yowl, Escovedo belts out smart, seething lyrics over addictive grooves that cut deep into your brain. With Ghost Wolves. $22-$25. Oct. 23, 9 p.m. Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. 704-358-9200.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Gwar at Amos' Southend tonight (10/22/2012)

Posted By on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 8:14 AM

Spurting fake blood and semen amidst decapitated dolls will make Gwar’s presence known when they hit the stage this week. There’s plenty of music to choose from — the band’s released 12 studio albums — but most who attend a Gwar show aren’t going for the music. The art-metal mavens have been up to the same tricks since the mid-1980s — science fiction and horror-inspired themes, costumes and lyrics join forces for a visual display that’s often imitated but never duplicated. What better place to see the band than Charlotte, the city that arrested the lead singer in 1990 and inspired an entire album? The Queen City holds a special place in the bloody, pumping hearts of Gwar, just as an evidence room somewhere holds a special place for the giant, fake phallus CMPD seized from the band. With Devil Driver, Cancer Bats, Legacy of Disorder. $20-$23. Oct. 22, 6:30 p.m. Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. 704-377-6874.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

House on the Lake at Park Road Park today (10/20/2012)

Posted By on Sat, Oct 20, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Since it’s birth in Chicago in the 1980s, house music has unified diverse leagues of people worldwide with its signature “four-on-the-floor” drum beat, electronic pulse and soul-soaked shouts that get bodies sweatin’, jumpin’ and jackin’. It’s surprisingly spiritual and sinfully sexual all at once. Charlotte once had a promising house scene, but noise ordinances and venue closings caused a disconnect within the scene. Ray “DJ Rsenal” Anderson is hoping to change that. House On The Lake, founded by Dale J. Rodriguez and Anderson, aims to reignite the local house music scene and let house heads know they don’t always have to hit the road to break a sweat. The event will focus on “deep” house, which in itself contains many different dimensions. Sounds for the inaugural event will come from Charlotte house legends DJ Andy K, That Guy Smitty & Gary “Jackmaster” Wallace (a Chicago legend and current N.C. resident), DJ Rsenal, Blingxbdgt, Arthur Brothers, Nat Eichler, DJ Justice and Johnnie Davis. Free. Oct. 20, 12 p.m. Park Road Park, 6220 Park Road.

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Swans at Tremont Music Hall tonight (10/20/2012)

Posted By on Sat, Oct 20, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Long-defunct ’80s rock mag Trouser Press likened listening to Swans as banging your head underwater against the side of a swimming pool. The notion of Swans as a slo-mo bludgeoning has dogged the group’s main man Michael Gira ever since. Indeed, Gira’s lyrics continue to dwell on depression, death and despair. Like fellow psycho-sexual explorers Throbbing Gristle, Gira’s psyche springs from late-’70s performance-and-body art, where the pain of catharsis is designed to elevate us to a higher plane. Such tortured transcendence is Swans’ through line, even when the music turned quite pretty in the ’90s, with sparkly goth synths and massed acoustic guitars. The aching beauty of releases like Love of Life (1992) put the ever-present pain at a Brechtian remove, and this version of Swans verged on commercial acceptance. So, naturally, Gira killed the band in 1997. Reconstituted and renewed since 2010, Swans now makes music that draws on its past while sounding like nothing they’ve done before. Swans has always made immersive music, but Swans Mach 2 is psychedelia without any 1960s flower power tropes, an unholy union of shock experimentalist Glenn Branca’s pulsing repetition and Ummagumma-era Pink Floyd. With A Hawk and a Hacksaw. $16-$19. Oct. 20, 8 p.m. Tremont Music Hall, 400 W. Tremont Ave. 704-343-9494.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Apple Juice Kid at Chop Shop tonight (10/19/2012)

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Apple Juice Kid was only 11 when he grabbed his first set of drumsticks. The wickedly talented N.C. native, whose latest project is “Artvsm — Art + Activism by any medium necessary,” is a drummer-turned-DJ and producer who has quickly gained a strong regional following. As if nabbing first place in eight East Coast beat battles wasn’t enough, his in-your-face percussions and jolting guitar riffs carried him overseas to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he started an international hip-hop beat-making lab earlier this year. He’ll be taking the stage at Nappy Luv, a celebration culminating a weeklong series of cultural events and demonstrations happening around town for Congo Week Charlotte, helping raise awareness about the ongoing conflict. You can catch his performance on Friday, alongside other N.C. notables including Ida Divine, Royal-Tee, Elenora Fagan and others, with a portion of proceeds going to Friends of the Congo (FOTC). $7-$10. Oct. 19, 8 p.m. Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St. 704-765-2467. www.congoweek.org.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Indigo Girls at McGlohon Theater tonight (10/18/2012)

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Twenty-five years into their career, the Indigo Girls — Amy Ray and Emily Saliers — have settled into a comfortable folk-rock niche. And that’s how their music sounds — comfortable. It’s been a long time since the two released anything that came close to capturing the visceral energy of their self-titled debut or 1992’s Rites of Passage. But the Girls’ vocal powers remain intact, and their lyrics continue to probe the depths of the human experience. With the backing of a full band, Ray and Saliers are sure to put on a good show, but at this point, Indigo Girls performances might as well be billed “For Serious Fans Only.” With The Shadowboxers. $39.50-$59.50. Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m. McGlohon Theater, 345 N. College St. 704-372-1000.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Luciferian Agenda at Snug Harbor tonight (10/17/2012)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Robert Childers is the propulsive force behind this ensemble, and though he splits his time playing guitar and beating on various drums, it appears the cloven-hoofed one’s agenda is defiantly a percussive one. That’s one of the ways the burly drummer for 2013 Wolves and Overmountain Men (among others) describes this project’s music — though I lean toward Apocalyptic Gospel, just because this feels like something that’ll be playing when shit goes all Lord of the Flies eventually. Joined by Andy Fenstermaker (aka the Doorbum), Wyley Buck Boswell (Hectagons, Appalucia) and a host of other stompers, pounders and hollerers, Childers’ narratives are not for the faint of heart. Acid trips, obsessive love and other weed-spiked topical fare is the order of the day, though colored by palpable undercurrents of ol’ time religion — as in fire-and-brimstone damnation — lurking beneath the narratives. Banjo, saw, fiddle, contrabass and even melodica provide eerie melodies or add to the percussive din, and you half expect all this to go on in front of a bootleggers’ backwoods still. But you cannot take your eyes from it, and the beats will capture your soul. This is the next-to-last night of their residency, and recorded music is in the works. Free. Oct. 17, 10 p.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. 704-333-9799.

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James McMurtry brings his gritty, Texastentialist folk-rock to the Visulite (10/17)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 8:53 AM

“I'm going to vote for Obama because now I can purchase health insurance, which I couldn't before,” James McMurtry bluntly told a Huntsville, Ala., journalist last week. Then he added, “but it appears to me the corporations are firmly in control.” That’s about as enthusiastic as America’s best contemporary protest singer — or second best, depending on how political Steve Earle’s next disc will be — is getting about the current presidential election. If you're familiar with the poignant songs on McMurtry's eight studio albums since 1989, the comment won't surprise you, because the songwriter's empathy for working, blue-collar Americans of all backgrounds far outweighs allegiance to any specific political party. McMurtry hasn’t released a set of new material since 2008, but with past albums packed with songs like the anti-provincial "I'm Not from Here," the Bush-era classic “We Can’t Make It Here,” and the terrifying tale of poverty and addiction, "Fire Line Road," he can be forgiven for resting on his laurels. McMurtry's gruff voice, gritty music and rich character sketches inspired one Village Voice writer to dub him a Texastentialist. Still, if this son of Lone Star novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry (The Last Picture Show, Lonesome Dove) is to maintain his status as the “truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation,” according to Stephen King, it’s about time he starts putting pen to paper and doing a little literary butt-kicking again. Until then, you can hear McMurtry sing his smart, haunting, occasionally witty and always moving stories about human struggle in all its manifestations when he performs on Oct. 17 at the Visulite. $17, $20 (day of show). 8:30 p.m. Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. 704-358.9200.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Janis Ian and Tom Paxton at the McGlohon Theatre tonight (10/16/2012)

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 8:34 AM

Janis Ian/Tom Paxton
Can a former child prodigy still be considered one at age 61? If so, singer-songwriter-activist and science fiction author Janis Ian fits the bill. A folkie wunderkind, she rattled cages at the tender age of 13 with "Society’s Child," a taboo-busting meditation on interracial romance. In a business where second acts are rare, Ian is a font of constant rejuvenation. Dropping out by the time she turned 20, Ian re-emerged in 1975 with her biggest hit, "At Seventeen." At age 42, when many performers are past their peak, Ian delivered her hardest hitting set of songs on Breaking Silence, touching on domestic violence, the Holocaust and her own coming out as gay. The one constant throughout Ian’s illustrious career is her willingness to tackle subjects so far ahead of their time that they still make people uncomfortable. As Ian readily admits, opening her big mouth may get her into trouble, but it also ensures her ongoing relevance and durability. Also tagged as durable, singer-songwriter Tom Paxton once served as Ian’s mentor. An influential voice of his generation, Paxton emerged from the Greenwich Village folk revival of the early 1960’s. As passionately devoted to social justice as he peers, Paxton affected a lighter touch than Dylan or Phil Ochs, producing quality material with passion and good humor. National treasures both, Ian and Paxton prove that old radicals never die, they simply continue to burn brightly. $25-$32.50. Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m. McGlohon Theatre, 345 North College St. 704-372-1000.

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