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CL previews upcoming concerts (Dec. 23-28)

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WEDNESDAY, DEc. 23

Josh Daniel and Friends Daniel, truly one of the nice guys in the Charlotte music scene ­– after a while in the quote-unquote biz you learn to truly appreciate these sorts of people – is perhaps best known for his work with The New Familiars and his one-man-band (except whilst playing live) Harmony Sparks, but the guitarist and singer has been a fixture on the Charlotte scene for more than a decade now. Equally adept on acoustic or electric (he also plays a mean resonator), Daniel is equally at home with his own material or injecting new melodic life into interpreted standards from '70s soul to the Grateful Dead to Americana pioneers alike. What's more, his "Friends" (and I'm guessing they are) are no slouches, either. As weekly residencies go, JD's one of the best; quantity and quality, of course, don't have to be mutually exclusive. The Philosopher's Stone Tavern (Timothy C. Davis)

FRIDAY, DEC. 25

Benji Hughes Don't let his songs get inside your head lest they twirl and swirl till you rip open the curtains at midnight and yodel at the moon. The Queen City music staple's floating pop concoctions are immediately moody, occasionally confounding and most always astounding. Hughes' whimsical lyrics mingle with piano, guitars and keys while his voice, spoken and sung, careens around spooky harmonies. A Christmas Extreme, indeed. He'll be back on Saturday for a "Day after Christmas Extreme Jam" – should be interesting. Snug Harbor (Samir Shukla)

Reeve Coobs and Jason Atkins Coobs' blend of folk, pop/rock and country has morphed a bit over the years. Perhaps best known for her co-starring role in the The Near Misses for four years. Coobs and her bandmates took home a armload of Loafing best-of lauds. Currently, she plays and sings with Jeff Williams' ever-interesting gogoPilot (Williams also produces Coobs, and returns the favor by playing in her band as well, along with Atkins, who's manned the keys for numerous local acts, including Lou Ford). That constant gigging has really redefined her sound (and her subtly powerful voice), which is more straightforward and direct than ever ... and I mean that in a good way. Dancing to a song is one of the greatest things ever – dancing around the point of one doesn't help anyone, which Coobs understands. Big Ben British Pub (Davis)

SATURDAY, DEC. 26

Seventh Epic This young Charlotte band is fairly inventive, tapping into '80s alterna-rock, stitched with synth and power guitar chords. The heavy guitars are more effects and echo-laden than metal, with samples and the aforementioned synth inlaid throughout. The female fronted quartet's modern rock has an orchestral feel, with ample electronica accents. They go where many bands have already been, but they seem genuine. With Eastern Sky, Oversaken and Famous Tragedy. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

Blue Dogs Coastal South Kackalack sandlappers the Blue Dogs – Hank Futch on bass, Bobby Houck on guitar, Greg Walker on drums – have toured, er, doggedly since "Smells Like Teen Spirit" topped the charts. They've released 10 albums of their shuffling take on Lowcountry Americana since that time, and amassed a devoted fanbase that must surprise the hell out of anyone north of the Mason/Dixon line. Why does it work? Consider that the band is constantly writing new material, they can play with a veteran's chops and attendant sense of taste, they seem to actually like talking to the fans (and friends) who plunk down their hard-earned duckets to see them, and, well, sometimes they'll play a Sublime cover. To paraphrase Meatloaf, three out of four ain't bad. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

Presley Brothers With the exception of Actual Proof's Eric Mullis on percussion, the twin Presley brothers need to liven up their performance before they fade into the background. Although their sound is crisp and instrumentals provoke movement, they honestly look rather stone-faced while performing. For those who like a more laid-back vibe that you can tap your foot to while smoking a stogie, this one is for you. Blue Restaurant (Nicole Pietrantonio)

SUNDAY, DEC. 27

Bayou Butch Alfred "Bayou Butch" Lucas Jr. is a Charlotte-based blues and R&B guitarist, songwriter and singer. His recent recording, Come On Over, features originals as well as standards and covers. With a gruff, road-worn voice, and crisp guitar riffs, Bayou lays down a pile of roadhouse blues. And, yes, he is teen heartthrobs Jonas Brothers' step-grand dad and has performed with the youngsters during several concerts. Bayou has a regular gig at this venue. Villa Antonio, Ballantyne (Shukla)

Clutch The band may have started out on the heavy metal side of the road, but they've slowly wandered over toward a hard rock form of blues in recent years. Singer Neil Fallon is a hell of a front man who can get his bluesy vocals on as much as his barbaric yawps. Once that groove gets going, it's hard to shut it down. With Doomriders, Lionize and Never Get Caught. Amos Southend (Jeff Hahne)

MONDAY, DEC. 28

Telepath Global fusion instrumental band's charm is in weaving bits of jazz, dub, reggae, world music, trance, dance and then some, into a whole. The trio's vision of a collective sound, fused with keyboards, bass, drums and samples, reaches into myriad musical pockets where dub and reggae dance with Indian and Middle Eastern samples while sprinkled with jazz and electronica. Think layers. Lots of layers. Also on the bill: Dubconscious and Mind Elixir. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

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