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CL's picks for the week

Leiana, John Legend, Williams sisters tour

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Thursday, November 30

If your concept of skatepunk is vocals over screech weasel metal guitar, Leiana will turn your head, and your attitude, around. Although the Philly-based quartet is loud and fast with plenty of 'tude, there's an old school rock feel to it as well. "Dirty Car" from their first full-length release, '05's Page, sounds like Blondie's Debbie Harry fronting Led Zep. The relatively unknown Leiana provides sultry, breathless vocals, and the punk/surf/psychedelic/hardcore rock guitar is courtesy of the versatile Chuck Treese, whose credits include drumming for three tours with the Bad Brains after flunking an audition for their lead singer slot, pro skateboarding and playing bass on Billy Joel's "River Of Dreams." It's surreal, mesmerizing music, suitable for launching yourself off a ramp or just hanging around and wigglin' to. The band plays The Milestone on Nov. 30 with Bums Lie. 8 p.m. $7. ­-- Grant Britt

Friday, December 01

Is it just me, or does John Legend sound a little like Rick James? No, seriously. Think about John singing: "We're just ooordinary peeeeooopllle." And then, remember how, on the song "Superfreak," Rick belted out: "In 714 I'll beeee waaaiitinngg!" See what I mean? Well, even if you don't buy this vocal theory, one thing's for sure: Legend can sing his ass off. So, be sure to check him out Friday, Dec. 1 during his only visit to the Carolinas. Robin Thicke, son of Alan Thicke (yeah, the dude from "Growing Pains"), will open the show at Amos' SouthEnd. Check www.amossouthend.com for show times and tickets. ­-- Carlton Hargro

'Tis the season for plucky orphans. Bring your favorite little ones to ImaginOn for the Charlotte premiere of The Christmas Bus. Something about the holiday season invokes our most Dickens-esque (like Kafka-esque, without the roaches) emotions and we feel the need to resist the scrooges and bah humbugs, in favor of cheerful morality lessons just in time for Dec. 25th. Any other time of the year, a broken bus full of snow-bound orphans and a random hitchhiker would be the stuff of tragedy. At Christmas, it is the stuff of musicals. Former WBTV news anchor Robert Inman penned The Christmas Bus and will participate in an audience talkback after the Dec. 1 performance. Visit www.ctcharlotte.org or call the box office for ticket information. The Christmas Bus runs (no pun intended) Dec. 1-17 at the McColl Family Theater. ­-- Natalie Howard

AIDS is funny. At least it is according to River Hutson. The poet/ journalist/ performer/ activist will recount her powerful narrative on what it's like to live with HIV -- a routine that's part inspiration, part stand-up bit -- at the Dana Auditorium located on the Queen's College Campus (1900 Selwyn Ave.). Hutson has published two poetry anthologies and co-authored another book, A Positive Life: Portraits of Women Living with HIV, which won her the Dorothea Lang/Paul Taylor Award. For the same price it will cost you to stare at your living room wall (nothing), you can hear the influential speaker at 6 p.m. this Friday night. Get off your booty. -- Jared Neumark

Soulganic has been making musical waves in our neck of the woods with a blend of soulful jazz and shades of funk. Last year's pick for Best New Band is certifiably organic. With a pounding beat laid out by Cory McClure and Lucas Torres and the big NY falsetto of Best Local Male Vocalist Anthony Rodriguez to boot, you're definitely missing out if you've never seen them live. Another chance happens tonight at the Evening Muse. For tickets and time, go to www.theeveningmuse.com. ­-- Kandia Crazy Horse

Saturday, December 02

It's 'bout to go down, ya'll! Called the Battle of the "Goldens," Pioneer Bowl IX is gonna make everybody ring the alarm. The Golden Bulls of Charlotte's own Johnson C. Smith University takes on the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers for the title. This will mark JCSU's first appearance as the CIAA designee in the only NCAA sanctioned bowl for HBCUs; Tuskegeee reps the SIAC. But as everyone who's ever been to an HBCU football game knows, it's really all about the bands. This year's inaugural Battle of the Bands will pit Benedict College versus Virginia State University. Be at Memorial Stadium, 310 North Kings Drive, by noon to see all the action. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 gameday. Contact 757-865-0071. -- Branna Calloway

Thursday, December 07

Showcasing all genres of music in Charlotte and the surrounding area, the Charlotte Music Awards returns for its Holiday Showcase leading up to the inaugural Awards Ceremony in August 2007. Taking over the Wadsworth House, 400 S. Summit Ave, this special edition features a variety of artists from throughout the Carolinas. Refreshments will be provided by Starbucks Coffee. The showcase will be held tonight beginning at 7 p.m. For tickets, call 704-975-8874 or e-mail info@charlottemusicawards.org. -- Calloway

One of the most popular purveyors of Latin pop, Bacilos, is calling it quits. This is the farewell tour of the Miami-based Grammy-winning trio featuring members from Colombia, Brazil and Puerto Rico. Bacilos weaves its love of American pop with sizzling tropical rhythms including salsa, merengue and dancehall. Their multi-cultural pop mishmash can sound unfocused at times, but the mix of ballads and dance tunes keeps the party hopping. The members plan to launch solo careers after this tour. Bacilos will perform tonight at Neighborhood Theatre with openers La Rúa. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 day of show. Details at www.carlotanrock.com or call 704-458-8072. -- Samir Shukla

Two women with the same surname have dominated the finals of every Grand Slam in tennis for the past several years. They're back again to show their stuff but with a higher purpose in mind -- to assist Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The third annual McDonald's Williams Sisters Tour arrives in Charlotte today. Venus and Serena put on an exhibition match that no sane person will want to miss. Also on the roster are musical performances by Sammie and Mike Phillips. The event will be held at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, 333 East Trade St., at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $20-$150 (courtside). Go online at www.charlottebobcatsarena.com or call 1-800-495-2295. -- Calloway

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