Monday, December 31, 2012

Avett Brothers at Greensboro Coliseum tonight (12/31/2012)

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Remember when the Avett Brothers used to celebrate every New Year's Eve at the modest Neighborhood Theatre? I'm not sure they do, either. Thankfully, Greensboro's just a short drive away. The Concord-based band is currently riding high on a Best Americana Album Grammy nomination for its latest release, The Carpenter. The album's dark undertones center on love and loss, but it doesn't overwhelm the band's energetic, back-porch spirit, which has remained tried and true after all these years. And with experience comes experimentation - expect to see a few more electric guitars on stage these days (and a few more members, as the band has added a touring drummer and keyboardist). And expect a rollicking NYE - these guys have that down to a science at this point. With Amos Lee. $39.50-$54.50. 8 p.m. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. 336-373-7474.

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Skream at the Fillmore tonight (12/31/2012)

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 8:37 AM

A veteran of the dubstep scene before it even had a name, Ollie Jones (aka Skream) brought grime's far more engaging and intricate sibling out of the shadows in 2005 with "Midnight Request Line." An unlikely club and blogger sensation, Skream's calling card married minimalist Space Invaders blips and beeps to experimental garage production that recalls the hypnogogic unease of avant-garde pranksters The Residents. Seven years on, Skream is busy deconstructing the very stylistic devices he helped create. Still remaining true to dubstep's clammy, juddering roots, he now grafts the formerly underground style to shiny, sparkly pop. True, this marriage of light and dark can produce a mongrel like the plastic trance of current buzz cut "Anticipate," but dubstep unvarnished is by nature self-limiting, and as one of its key creators, Skream had to take the sound somewhere. Why not the dance-pop mainstream? With Joker and Mindelixir. $46.50-$74. 10 p.m. 1000 N.C. Music Factory Blvd. 704-916-8970.

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Widespread Panic at Time Warner Cable Arena tonight (12/31/2012)

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 8:34 AM

The jam-band road warriors of Widespread Panic often fall prey to expectations raised by their own 19-year legacy. At its best, WP merges The Band's sepia-toned authenticity with the Allmans' bluesy swing and those rare, through-the-looking-glass moments when the Grateful Dead pulled the rug out from under you. At its worst, the long-running Athens, Ga., crew approximates the Dead's more frequent gassy bloat with meandering jams that vanish up the band's collective ass. Despite losing founder Michael Houser to cancer in 2002, Widespread Panic has soldiered on, recruiting N.C. native Jimmy Herring for the lead guitar spot in 2004. After playing Charlotte for a NYE party last year, these seasoned jam-vets flipped the script, going acoustic for a short winter tour before taking a long-overdue hiatus. Breaking their 10-month silence, the revered (and sometimes reviled) stalwarts play two gigs. On December 30, they are performing at a sold-out fund-raiser for Tunes for Tots at the Fillmore. Tonight, they'll ring in 2013 at Time Warner Cable Arena. $81.55. 9 p.m. 333 E. Trade St. 704-688-9000.

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King Britt at Dharma Lounge tonight (12/31/2012)

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 8:08 AM

With a bewildering array of interests and a fistful of pseudonyms, it's surprising that producer/composer/performer/curator King Britt does not suffer from multiple personality disorder. As E-Culture, Britt dropped the ground-breaking house classic "Tribal Confusion." In 1992, he became Silkworm, the touring DJ with Grammy-winning Digable Planets. Under the nom de plume Sylk130, he released affectionate '70s soul pastiche When the Funk Hits the Fan. As The Nova Dream Sequence, Britt indulged his love of techno. Saturn Never Sleeps, Britt's "Massive Attack with Balls" project, explored the intersection of Sun Ra, eccentric soundtrack-monger Raymond Scott and Doctor Who composer Delia Derbyshire. Despite all this - plus remixing and producing everyone from Miles Davis to Radiohead - Britt may best be known under his own name. As plain old King Britt, he remixed street-corner preaching savant Sister Gertrude Morgan. Britt is still a moving target, currently augmenting historic Bush of Ghosts-style recordings from Zimbabwe. Catch him on NYE - before he changes again. $15. 9 p.m. Dharma Lounge, 1400 S. Tryon St. 704-334-8336.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rebirth Brass Band at Neighborhood Theatre tonight (12/26/2012)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Only a precious few of the Crescent City's signature brass bands have gone from French Quarter busking to playing international stages. Charlotte hosted the Dirty Dozen Brass Band in June, and now comes that group's rougher-around-the-edges peer and friendly rival the Rebirth Brass Band, which nabbed a 2012 Grammy for Best Regional Roots Album. Like the Dirty Dozen, the Rebirth Krewe honed its booming mix of marches, rags and fatback funk on the streets of Tremé. From the get-go back in 1983, the Rebirth Brass Band shunned standard parade-band arrangements, embracing ragged jazz and even some scatological rap. Still, the band keeps touch with its roots with churning updates of Louis Jordan and Big Joe Turner classics like "Caledonia" and "Flip, Flop & Fly." With each player threatening to fly off the rails, the cohesive whole is anchored by founder Philip Frazier's subwoofer sousaphone. Thirty years on, Rebirth still keeps to the streets. "We don't want to be stars," snare drummer Derrick Tabb has said. "Once you become a star, you can't go hang in the hood." $15-$30. Dec. 26, 8 p.m. Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. 704-358-9298.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Common at Re:Public tonight (12/22/2012)

Posted By on Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Let this soak in: Common's debut album "Can I Borrow A Dollar?" turned 20 this year. Twenty! While his filmography is quickly outpacing his discography, one thing Common hasn't let slip is his live show. The Chicago rapper isn't just an energetic performer; he's a student of the culture and channels the spirits of some of its greatest names. His sets quickly make you realize that the guy you're not quite buying as a second lead on the big screen has had top-flight bars for more than a decade. Recent appearances on G.O.O.D Music's Cruel Summer and as part of the Cocaine80s should erase any doubt that he lost his flow somewhere between his reading of scripts. Just imagine if he and Ice Cube, another public enemy-turned-media darling, decided to rekindle their beef for old time's sake. Though he's listed as a host of this holiday party, we're hoping (and betting) he'll take the stage for at least a handful of tunes. With DJ Dummy. $15. Dec. 22, 10 p.m. RE:Public, 314 N. College St.

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Ghost to Falco at Snug Harbor (12/22/2012)

Posted By on Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 8:03 AM

"It's about coming to grips with the idea that humans are fucking up terribly," says Eric Crespo, discussing the lyrical concerns of his eerie and oddly engaging brainchild, Ghost to Falco. Since he's based in perpetually soggy Portland, Ore., it's tempting to attribute Crespo's dour outlook to seasonal affective disorder, but Crespo incubated Ghost to Falco in Chapel Hill and conceived it in Asheville before bringing it to full flower in misty Portlandia. Over time, Ghost to Falco evolved from a swirling, beatless one-man show to a full band, playing haunting compositions that sit uneasily at the intersection of minimalism, threadbare folk and experimental prog rock. Described as After the Gold Rush-era Neil Young backed by British noise terrorists This Heat, Ghost to Falco features gentle guitar strumming, bursts of atonal noise and allusive talk-singing that seems to emerge from Crespo's subconscious. Imagine slabs of latter-day Scott Walker's musique concrète raining down on a ravaged Americana landscape. It's no accident Crespo's recent LP, Exotic Believers, opens with the cut "Black Hole," since he's perfected the cloudy and obsessed sound of roots rock collapsing into itself. With Great Architect. $5. Dec. 22, 10 p.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. 704-333-9799.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Pam Taylor Band at the Double Door Inn tonight (12/21/2012)

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Local blues singer, songwriter and guitarist Pam Taylor plows through straight-up blues, to be sure, but she also can turn a trick or two with groove-laden rock. Taylor channels Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi, and while not quite up to their evolved levels, she writes original tunes that won her the Loaf's Readers Pick for "Best Local Songwriter" this year. This is Taylor's CD release gig for her new recording, Hot Mess, which also features sinewy sax lines weaving in and out of the tracks. As a wise man once said, support your local guitar slingers. With Riyen Roots & the Family Tree Band. $8-$10. Dec. 21, 9 p.m. Double Door Inn, 1218 Charlottetowne Ave. 704-376-1446.

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Marah at the Evening Muse tonight (12/21/2012)

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 8:15 AM

In its 20 years, the Philadelphia band Marah has gone from scruffy, seat-of-their-pants emotionalism to overblown grandeur and back again. In the mid-aughts, these self-conscious Philly street poets accidentally became hip when "cooler" bands like Arcade Fire appropriated Marah's mix of classic rock bombast and Bruce Springsteen obsession. (Hell, the Boss even belted backing vocals on Marah's most overreaching LP, Float Away with the Friday Night Gods, in 2002.) Prior to that, Marah earned scorn for its E Street fixation. Hosannas from boomer scribes Stephen King and Nick Hornby reinforced Marah's tag as dreary dad-rock, but even at its sappiest, the band somehow managed to touch the soul. Witness "Freedom Park," in 2004, where chanted jump-rope rhymes transform boiler-plate "big city blues" lyrics into back-alley transcendence. Nowadays touring as an acoustic duo with sole remaining band-mate Christine Smith, founder Dave Bielanko strives to regain the rootsy ramshackle charm of Marah's earliest LPs. He doesn't quite hit that mark, but the duo gets props for shooting for the stars. $12-$15. Dec. 21, 10:30 p.m. Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. 704-376-3737.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Live review: The Business, Tremont Music Hall (12/18/2012)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

The Business
Tremont Music Hall
Dec. 18, 2012

On Tuesday night, Tremont Music Hall was transformed into a church of the working class and its "parishioners" - donning leather jackets, combat boots and tattoos - were ready to bow at the altar of British Oi! band The Business.

Joking that he didn't speak the language and couldn't understand anyone in the crowd, singer Micky Fitz was in good spirits. The band blazed into its set with "Blind Justice," which immediately whipped the crowd into a furious frenzy. The area in front of the stage was filled with flying bodies as fans jumped from the stage and danced in a tight circle pit. Fitz fueled the fire by encouraging sing-alongs at every stop.

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