Dane "Main Dane" Abernathy has been running soundboards around Charlotte for 13 years, revelling in the opportunity the jobs provided to become exposed to local music, but it wasn't until he got his high profile gig at The Milestone in 2010 that he became well-known for being local music's biggest fan.
Ask Dane about any local group, and whether they're metal, punk, rap or rock, he most likely has not only heard them, he has their album and if he likes them enough, he has their sticker on his car or a limited edition print of their T-shirt. When not using his keen ear to make sure a show sounds just right for Charlotte concertgoers, he's that guy in the front row of the audience, screaming every lyric to every song, spreading his contagious enthusiasm with every pump of his fist in the air.
He plays other roles as well. He's a talented photographer who has taken photos of national acts like MxPx and rapper Ceschi that wound up as the profile pic on their social media outlets. He knows his way around recording equipment well and has helped bring a plethora of albums and live recordings to fruition for local bands including Dollar Signs, Appalucia, Sister Fister and Kyle Perkins.
Last December, he helped form a group, the hardcaore band HU/LK, to which he contributes vocals. Finally, he's screaming his own lyrics.
I asked him how others can get as familiar as he is with local bands. "I have to be at work, therefore I'm exposed to a lot of music, good and bad, but for everyone else — going to venues that actually promote original music is the best way."