Vibes | Creative Loafing Charlotte

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Former Earl Greyhound bassist Kamara Thomas takes a solo turn

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 8:35 AM

In the department of spacey alt-country or cosmic American music - or whatever it is we're calling folk-tinged country-rock these days - Kamara Thomas, the former bass player for indie power trio Earl Greyhound, has dropped a video from her upcoming solo album, Earth Hero, that's a real stunner.

  • Thomas
The song, "You Wreck Me," has all the languid, atmospheric, space-Americana wooziness you'd expect from acoustic Neil Young, Lucinda Williams or Wrecking Ball-era Emmylou Harris, but Thomas is a terrific singer/songwriter in her own right. While this particular track is more traditionally country than some of the other material on Earth Hero, the entire 7-song album is similarly spare and expansive, intimate and cinematic - and hauntingly nostalgic.

I'll be offering up a full review soon. For now, enjoy "You Wreck Me."

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

City officials set sights on restaurants, bars... again

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 12:07 PM

UPDATE: You can read Ryan Pitkin's story from the meeting here.

We thought this issue went away, but it's rising up from the ashes to provide headaches to area restaurant owners and musicians once again.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Department is holding several meetings, the next one is on Jan. 24 at 6 p.m., to address the current regulations of restaurants, nightclubs, bars and lounges. The most recent proposal being discussed would eliminate sources of entertainment inside such establishments after midnight if they are within 400 feet of residential areas. The city is concerned that some restaurants may technically meet the current definition of a nightclub, bar or lounge.

The Charlotte Zoning Ordinance currently defines a nightclub as any commercial establishment serving alcoholic beverages and providing entertainment for patrons including bars, lounges and cabarets. A restaurant is defined as an establishment designed, in whole or in part, to accommodate the consumption of food and/or beverages.

As we stated last year when this subject was brought up -

For establishments in areas such as Elizabeth (Kennedy's, Philospher's Stone, etc.), Plaza Midwood (Snug Harbor, Common Market, etc.) and locations outside of uptown, this would mean no live or recorded music, no karaoke, no comedians, no playing pool or other entertainment-related activities after midnight. (In other words, it would affect some of the city's better music clubs in some of its more artistically adventurous neighborhoods. Uptown establishments would not be affected.) Does anyone else hear the Footloose theme song in their head?

The Jan. 24 meeting will be held in room 267 at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center (CMGC), 600 E. Fourth St.

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Frank Ocean tops Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 9:39 AM

We're a little late in linking the Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop poll, and if you're a music geek you've no doubt already checked it out. But for the rest of you, the Voice's 2012 poll looks a little like Creative Loafing's own best-music lists this year. Frank Ocean, which topped my personal Top 10, also topped the Voice's list this year, and other CL faves, including Kendrick Lamar, Fiona Apple, Swans and Japandroids, also fared well at P&J.


Continue reading »

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Live Review: Hot Water Music, The Menzingers, Amos' Southend (01/20/2013)

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Charlotte music fans came out in droves to see punk stalwarts Hot Water Music at Amos' Southend on Sunday, Jan. 21, but more focus was on The Menzingers and their singer Tom May. The bulging veins on May's head and neck weren't precursors to an imminent stroke, but symbols of the energetic epicenter of the band's own scrappy punk songs which shared the headliner's spotlight.


Plenty of beards and flannel shirts packed the cavernous blackness of the South End venue, but Scranton, Penn.'s Menzingers cut through the dark with screaming, raspy vocals and windmilled guitars.

May chopped, spun and bounced his way through the songs while May's somewhat more sedate counterpart, co-vocalist Greg Barnett, made up for his lack of movement with soaring vocals - a mix between a choirboy and dying dreams. Despite the band's innate sadness, May never lets the melancholy of Barnett's songs becoming overpowering, always injecting rough energy into what might otherwise slow the momentum. It's the two vocalists' interplay - singing and screaming over, under and through each other's voices - which ultimately drives the band's set.

Not for nothing, the punk community treasures headliner Hot Water Music. Coming off of a 2008 reunion and new album (Exister released last year), Gainesville, Fla.'s favorite sons might well be under the dictionary heading for "raspy." Vocalist Chuck Ragan doesn't sing so much as growl through his beard, though his sandpaper voice never seems to lack an ounce of soul, while co-vocalist Chris Wollard isn't far behind.

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Acoustic shell provides sonic difference at Knight Theater

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM

You probably missed it, but over the weekend, Knight Theater became one of the premier concert venues in town. The difference? An acoustic shell that Charlotte Symphony flight-tested in two separate pops programs - Friday evening's Buddy Holly-Richie Valens-Big Bopper tribute and Saturday morning's LolliPops ode to "Dancin', Rockin', and Hip-Hoppin'."

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra warms up in Knight Theaters new acoustic shell prior to last Saturday mornings LolliPops Concert.
  • Perry Tannenbaum
  • Charlotte Symphony Orchestra warms up in Knight Theater's new acoustic shell prior to last Saturday morning's LolliPops Concert.

For more than three years since the Knight officially opened early in 2010, the hall has been the prime nesting place for NC Dance Theatre, visiting dance troupes of national stature and touring theatre productions that felt at home in a more intimate, Broadway-sized house than at mammoth Belk Theater or Ovens Auditorium.

The Symphony missed the boat. Former Symphony maestro Christof Perick and managing director both spurned the Knight as a concert hall when blueprints were finalized and construction was in the works. But as the Book of Exodus says, "there arose a new king over Egypt," and no one has been more enterprising or visionary than current maestro Christopher Warren-Green in seeing and developing the potential of the Knight.

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Bryan Adams at Knight Theater Tonight (01/21/2013)

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Bryan Adams
If you were not a Top 40 fan in the '80s and '90s, you're forgiven for not knowing who Bryan Adams is. With hits like "Heaven," "Let's Make a Night to Remember" and "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)," this Springsteen of adult contemporary was everywhere. Unbeknownst to anyone but Adams himself, he kept on keepin' on even after everyone else had long forgotten his "Summer of '69." Since then, he's mostly released anthologies and live recordings and been the bane of Ryan Adams' existence. His show is recommended only if you're a fan of watching dead horses being beaten. $39.50-$79.50. Jan. 21, 8 p.m. Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St. 704-372-1000.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Real Live Tigers at The Milestone Tonight (01/20/2013)

Posted By on Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Real Live Tigers
Tony Presley has been around since he formed Real Live Tigers in Austin in 2004 and later relocated to Fayetteville, Ark., and his music manages the neat trick of being sonically warm as he chills you with minor chords and late-night existential narratives. There's a new album on the way, but on RLT's last one, Spirit Animal, in 2011, the organ swaths and liquid guitar parts provide the bloom for shuffling tempos that suggest Sisyphus' eternal task is, somehow, worth the effort. Tindersticks or Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds would be two musical touchstones, with occasional bursts of more sludgy fare. But Presley lacks the vocal timbre of a Stuart Staples or Cave, and his flat drawl and sing/speak will likely test the "all my favorite singers couldn't sing" dictum left to us by Silver Jews' David Berman. But if you clear that hurdle, Real Live Tigers' songs unfurl with dark beauty and provide a suitably compelling bed for Presley's poetic ruminations. With like-minded locals The Adulterers and Jonah's Rifle. $5-$9. Jan. 20, 9 p.m. The Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Road. 704-398-0472.

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Hot Water Music at Amos Southend Tonight (01/20/2013)

Posted By on Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Hot Water Music
Hot Water Music has been described as a punk Grand Funk Railroad. That might not hit the mark. Besides a populist, working-class bent and undeniable energy, the Gainesville, Fla., quartet has little in common with Michigan's '70s-era loud-mouthed sons of simplicity. Drawing from the gruff-voiced pop-punk of Jawbreaker and the angular dynamics of Fugazi, Hot Water Music's template was hardly new when it debuted in 1995, and it isn't the band's fault that it provided the blueprint for a legion of disposable emo bands. What HWM brought to the party of ringing guitars and sing-along choruses was lyrical maturity, showcasing the concerns of average Joes trying to get by in an increasingly hardscrabble America. Indeed, when HWM went on extended hiatus in 2005, gravel-toned co-frontman Chuck Ragan took a lengthy alt-folkie sabbatical. Reformed in 2008, HWM still fights the good fight, but Ragan's troubadour years have ravaged his already grizzled voice. Busy, angst-ridden pop-punk is an odd fit with mature alt-Americana, and though HWM can still fire on all cylinders, too often the music devolves into frantic aimlessness. It may be that with its grown-up concerns, HWM has outgrown the boundaries of its loud and fast genre. With LA Dispute and The Menzingers. $17-$20. Jan. 20, 7 p.m. Amos' Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St. 704-377-6874.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Magic Flute at Belk Theater Tonight (01/19/2013)

Posted By on Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 8:52 AM

The Magic Flute
If we view opera as the popular entertainment of its time, then Mozart's The Magic Flute seems almost contemporary. Many of the parts were written specifically for the people who would sing them - not all that different from a modern filmmaker, say, writing a part with a certain actor in mind. There's a love story and more than a little occultism, which is fine, but what really cinches The Magic Flute is the Queen of the Night (Maria Aleida). The role requires absurd, admittedly jaw-dropping vocal somersaults, well worth witnessing in person - and the Queen is absolutely vicious, to boot. Presented by Opera Carolina. $15-$140. Jan. 19, 8 p.m.; Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 27, 2 p.m. Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. 704-372-1000.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Country megaticket and more concert announcements

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

A handful of new shows were recently announced, so here's a quick roundup:

* Crosby Stills and Nash will perform at Ovens Auditorium on May 19.

* Band of Horses has added a second night to the Fillmore. The band's May 10-11 shows are the first two-night run in the Fillmore's history.

* Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre announced its country megaticket for 2013:
Tim McGraw with Brantley Gilbert, Love and Theft - May 3
Brad Paisley with Chris Young, Lee Brice - June 7
Luke Bryan with Thompson Square, Florida Georgia Line - July 12
Keith Urban with Little Big Town, Dustin Lynch - July 25
Kenny Chesney with Eli Young Band, Kacey Musgraves - Aug. 1
Miranda Lambert & Dierks Bentley - Aug. 23
Jason Aldean with Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett - Sept. 12

* Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell & Richard Thompson Electric Trio will perform at Belk Theater on April 1.

* Anthrax with Exodus, Municpal Waste and Holy Grail will perform at Tremont Music Hall on April 13.

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