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CL previews upcoming concerts (July 8-14)

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 8

Dylan Gilbert Charlotte's true gem in the indie scene, Dylan Gilbert is on his way to making his name familiar to the world's lips. Having already captured the heart of the East Coast, Gilbert has accomplished more in his lifetime than some musicians can even fathom. His young tenacity and fearlessness in his music shine through brighter than the stage lights that Gilbert is destined to sweat under. With Arielle Bryant and Jim Seem. The Evening Muse (Sam Webster)

Venice Is Sinking The recently released sophomore disc – AZAR, recorded with local producer Scott Solter – from this Athens quintet is a dynamic, ambitious work, sliding in somewhere between chill-out Yo La Tengo, Norfolk & Western's orchestral twang and the Album Leaf's cathedral interludes. The songs are meticulous, vertical creations, tackling tiny, specific moments and exploding them outward in what you could probably get away with calling ambient chamber rock (which I just got away with). With Little Buddha and Red All Over. Snug Harbor (John Schacht)

THURSDAY, JULY 9

Mike Strauss Nice guy Mike Strauss doesn't get the ink he deserves for the tight, rootsy rock songs he regularly delivers, but to his credit just keeps trucking along as though he couldn't possibly do anything else. That, of course, is testament to soul, and his recent collaborations with ex-Les Dirt Clods leader Randolph Lewis, Jon Schigoda and other local luminaries testifies to the quality of his band and the company he keeps. With Austin Hill and The Lesser Pauls. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

FRIDAY, JULY 10

Buckwheat Zydeco Front man Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural Jr. is celebrating the band's 30th anniversary with a tour and new album, Lay Your Burden Down. The accordian-friendly zydeco is sure to get feet moving, but I have to give an honest warning – you never know how long it will last live. I caught the band in Chapel Hill a few years ago and it took 40 minutes to play just three songs. Just as the crowd was finally getting warmed up and their feet moving, the show was over. Yep, just three songs and 40 minutes. Hopefully, he'll stick around a little longer this time. Visulite Theatre (Jeff Hahne)

Truckstop Preachers The Preachers boast enough countrified charm and respect for their elders (Hank Sr., Ernest Tubb, Buck Owens) that, were someone to pull a Resistol down over your eyes – and perhaps pour a couple-three Lone Stars down your gullet – you could conceivably believe you were at one of Willie Nelson's old hell-bent-for-Spanish-leather Fourth of July Picnics. And fireworks they got: Singer Nate Palmer, boasting the best Carolina country voice this side of the Two Dollar Pistols' John Howie Jr., is worth the price of admission by his lonesome. Double Door Inn (Timothy C. Davis)

SATURDAY, JULY 11

Bill Noonan and His Fallen Gentlemen The Man That I Can't Be, Bill Noonan's latest, still has that whiff of the Rank Outsiders, his former band, but he (in collaboration with producer Mark Lynch) has now hit upon a sound that suits him, featuring a soupcon of '60s soul, two-car garage rock and classic country. Always one of the more underrated local rockers, Noonan has brought along many of his friends for the party, including David Childers, drummer David Kim, keyboardist Jason Atkins, the horn section of Ray Mitchell and Tom Kuhn, and silky chantreuse Beth Chorneau. The result is some seriously satisfying country soul, a genre that's been relegated to the sidelines in recent years. Noonan's impassioned take sounds like the msusical equivalent of a late-round pick who's finally getting the chance to shine, calling audibles at the line (a cover of Gene Clark's "Tried So Hard"), and taking over the huddle and making it his own. To further a bad analogy, The Man That I Can't Be is a touchdown all the way around. Snug Harbor (Davis)

Grids Not for the faint-of-heart or delicate-eared, this CLT quartet just released its explosive 7" PGCOBUIBQTAUWTCS through Lunchbox Records (yes, that Lunchbox Records). The three Flipper-meets-Big Black tracks are loud and sludgy, but don't sacrifice song-craft for screamo tropes or the all-too-common metal faux-angst posturing that make the genre so flat-out laughable at times. To paraphrase a colleague, Grids is a fully extended middle finger to Charlotte's button-down banker's world, but one that sounds good doing it. With Cult Ritual and Just Die! Lunchbox Records (Schacht)

SUNDAY, JULY 12

Toby Keith and Trace Adkins Despite "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," Trace Adkins is the real straight-talkin' country troubadour here. He's got a real-live, bourbon-aged classic country voice (in contrast to Keith, who's got about a one-and-a-half octave growl which manages to sound even flatter), and, when he says stupid stuff in the media, it's actually funny (See his recent appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher, when asked about cattle cloning: "Did cows stop fuckin'?"). Keith, of course, is the draw here, and he does the bad-ass with steel balls hanging from his trailer hitch schtick as good as anyone. However, a gimmick's a gimmick, and while country music's history is full of them, they're usually in the form of a song, not a public persona. Being big and, er, rich is one thing – being remembered 20 years from now is another. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Davis)

TUESDAY, JULY 14

The Offspring, Sum 41 There hasn't been a time warp, and you aren't having a dream – two of the late '90s radio-friendly punk rock bands are coming to town. No one can forget those fly white guys and Canadian pranksters, especially since one of them committed the ultimate publicity stunt – dating Paris Hilton. If they can survive after that act, then they deserve to have their three-chord progressions heard. With Frank Turner. Uptown Amphitheatre (Webster)

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