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Ben Jackson

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The origin of love for Ben Jackson's local prog-rock band Shadowflag came when the singer/guitarist teamed up with keyboard player Matt Olin during rehearsals for the Charlotte production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It was a random number generation: Who could have predicted that two members of the glammy backup band for sugar daddy John Cameron Mitchell's rock-theater masterwork would get along so well. And yet they did. Shadowflag continued after the curtains on Hedwig went down, and now the band has even garnered a bit of midnight radio play. So take that wig out of the box and don't get your angry inch in a knot -- it's time to praise all the young dudes of Shadowflag, one of 10 acts competing in the finals of Zippo's national battle of the bands. So listen up, freaks -- you have until Oct. 31 to go to www.zippohottour.com if you wanna vote for these hometown heroes. Meanwhile, check out the five things Mr. Jackson likes about this wicked little town:

1. Charlotte's Music Scene. "I've heard many a complaint about the lack of support for the scene here. That's complete bullshit. Anyone complaining about this music scene isn't putting enough into it."

2. Stone Mountain, NC. "One of the most beautiful places on Earth, and is conveniently located a mere hour and a half drive from Charlotte. I camp out up there a few times a year with my girlfriend and our dog. (Not to be confused with Stone Mountain, GA.)"

3. Jackalope Jack's. "Nearly every rock musician in town drinks here, as well as many of Charlotte's theater and film folk. It's almost surreal how carousing at this neighborhood pub on 7th Street has led me to the most important people in my life, i.e., my girlfriend, my band and my bestest buddies."

4. Miss Kim's Cleaners. "Directly across the street from No. 3 (above), this laundromat truly is the epicenter of the Charlotte music scene. I've literally booked and promoted Shadowflag shows during the spin cycle."

5. Bright Lights, Big City. "The Charlotte skyline at 7:16pm, Oct. 13, 2005."

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