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CL previews upcoming Charlotte shows

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WEDNESDAY, AUG. 13

River City Rebels A punk and ska-tinged rock band with more lineup changes than the current administration's war department, RCR began life as The SKAtenders before signing to Victory Records changing members some more, recording with the likes of Jesse Malin, Duane Peters and Sylvain Sylvain, giving themselves nicknames, fighting through a few drug habits, considering a name change, losing more members and, finally, getting dropped. What about the music, you may ask? Fair-to-middlin', as you might expect from all the turnover. Give 'em credit for hangin' in there, though. With Southside Punx and Fast Boys. The Milestone (Timothy C. Davis)

THURSDAY, AUG. 14

Apes Kicking around Washington D.C. area since the end of the last century, the Apes' wigged-out rock is stitched with acid-touched keyboards, bopping bass lines, punk-induced percussion and vocalist Breck Brunson's funky yet sinewy voice. The quartet's numbers can range from sprightly jams to fidgety short ditties. Also on the bill are Planet Piss and Venomous Snacks. Milestone (Samir Shukla)

FRIDAY, AUG. 15

Great Lakes Another band with six degrees of Elephant 6 separation, the now N.Y.C.-based duo of Dan Donahue and Ben Crum craft handsome minor-key pop melodies that resonate with more rock 'oomph' – and less overt psychedelia – than many of their old Athens brethren. The band also features members of Mice Parade, the Ladybug Transistor and Storm & Stress, another barometer for the general indie rock-friendly vibe. With Bullship. Snug Harbor (John Schacht)

The Coal Men This Nashville quintet sways between alt-country and roots-rock with comfort and ease. It helps that the lyrics are more from a longing heart then an alcohol-maxed liver. What you get are fine crafted songs delivered by an emotive vocalist and backed by a scrap band of promising young musicians. Travel far, young coal men (and woman). Evening Muse (Shukla)

Millionaires Fueled by dime store keyboard and synthesizers, these gals can be a hoot. The trio is obviously having good times making disjointed dance music with over the top and obvious songs like "I Like Money" and "In My Bed." These not quite yet millionaires get as much kick out of getting dolled up as pounding high heels into boys' nether regions. Plenty of crude and loud lyrics pumped up with electro beats keep the party humping and delightfully cheesy. With Hypercrush, Brokencyde, and the Arrival. Tremont (Shukla)

Smashing Pumpkins Sure, D'arcy and James Iha aren't there anymore, and you could easily look at it as "Billy Corgan and the Other Guys," but Corgan's voice still leads the way. The band's latest, Zeitgeist, wasn't bad, but I'd certainly hope they'd revisit stuff from Gish first. They played a heavy mix from all albums during their shows in Asheville around this time last year. And, after all, even Zeitgeist is much better than Corgan's solo stuff. Ovens Auditorium (Jeff Hahne)

SATURDAY, AUG. 16

The Whigs I haven't yet drank the Kool-Aid when it comes to this Athens trio; the Replacements and Guided By Voices touchstones seem awfully obvious, suggesting the band has yet to evolve into their own skin. The over-reliance on riffs vs. hooks also separates them from their progenitors. Still, there's no denying the high wattage, and last year's Mission Control had enough promise to merit keeping them on your radar. Plus, you know, they were on Letterman, so they must be great, right? With the Old Ceremony. Visulite (Schacht)

Jeff Clayton and the Mongrels You've prolly heard of (or heard tell of) Jeff Clayton, the legendary frontman of Antiseen. If not, you look my man up. A kindly Jekyll who goes all Mr. Hyde when the amps start buzzing, the man lives and breathes rawk, as Unknown Hinson might put it, and has earned more than enough stripes (most of them scars on his frequently bleeding, glass-gashed forehead) to pop the buttons off a Hot Topic shirt from 20 paces. His band, The Mongrels, despite their muttly name, are some of the creme de la creme of Q.C. rockers – dig: Mike Hendrix of the Belmont Playboys, Russ "Mad Brother" Ward, Jimmy King of Drat and the Aqualads, and Jeremy Holcomb, ex- of the Talk and the Poontanglers. With Babyshaker. Snug Harbor (Davis)

SUNDAY, AUG. 17

American Idols Live Can anyone name the contestants from this year's show? Sure, there was, um, that creepy guy ... and a country girl ... and that young kid ... oh, who cares? Idol winners from reality past are being dropped from their record labels left and right. Inaugural winner Kelly Clarkson seems to have fallen off the map and Daughtry is left alone as one of the sole flag bearers. I'd say it's just about "jumped the shark." It's something hilarious, though, that the tour is sponsored by Pop-Tarts. That joke writes itself! Time Warner Cable Arena (Hahne)

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