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Plus punks aplenty and great Indian food

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The folks at Budweiser decided to buy a large, rock-star worthy tour bus, outfit it with beer taps and flatscreen TVs, and drive it around the country to show folks the merits of freshly brewed beer.

Word of the tour reached Creative Loafing offices, and once the word "beer" was mentioned, the Bud folks were patched straight through to yours truly. I told them I thought their idea was interesting, and that I'd try and catch them out somewhere later in the week. "No," they said. "That's OK. We'll bring the bus by your office."

After washing my face with cold water and steadying my legs, I agreed.

"We'll be there in 15 minutes," they said.

I e-mailed our other staffers, announcing the impromptu visit. Folks who haven't spoken to me in weeks suddenly became my best friend. By the time the bus arrived, half the office was waiting in the front lobby.

Once on the bus (along with seven or eight of my closest friends), I was told some closely guarded beer secrets. Here are two. Pour beer out of the bottle into the middle of a glass instead of down the side, which puts too much carbonation into the beer itself. Secondly, if your beer develops bubbles on the inside wall of the glass, it's a sign that your glassware wasn't washed properly.

Finally, they got to the part we'd all been waiting for: the day-old, freshly "born" beer.

At this point, our receptionist boarded the bus and told one of the participants he had a sales client waiting. He dutifully finished his beer and exited the bus, but not before being handed an extra brew and a breath mint. "This Bud's for you," indeed.

Friday evening, I checked out the first night of the big "Punk Strikes Back" concert at Tremont Music Hall. I don't mind saying I had a hell of a time.Standing at the bar after procuring an adult beverage, a hard-ass-looking kid sidled up beside me, mohawked at least a foot high. Would there be trouble? "Miss!" the guy said, motioning over the barkeep. "Miss! There's a yellow Taurus outside with its lights on."

Enlivened, I went to hear the music of the kickass Mad Brother Ward, a group of indignant Queen City legends who lay it down as hard as anyone since Minor Threat. Standing directly in front of me was a guy with a "Brassknuckle Boys" T-shirt. I let the man have plenty of room. Beside him was a gentleman wearing a shirt with "Hey Rich Kid...Fuck You!!!" screenprinted on the reverse. Right away, I started covering up any and all labels I could find on my clothing, before moving to the back to sit for a spell.

Soon, the singer for Mad Brother Ward, a guy who makes the freakin' Rock look like a wuss, exhorted those in the back to move up front. Loudly. A few people moseyed up toward the stage area, which was already packed with lots of folks slam-dancing their way to nirvana (that would be the state-of-mind nirvana, not those Seattle boys).

I kept my certainly-not-rich ass put. Disaffection, unrest and loud volume I can sympathize with. Getting cross-checked by some 18-year-old for sport is another thing entirely.

The India Association of Charlotte held its 10th Annual Festival of India last weekend. Regular readers of this column know that Scene visits a lot of festivals in the course of a given year. Every year, however, this one comes out on top.It's a pretty simple formula, really. The festival is well-publicized, well-organized, and provides plenty to do. There's that all-American hobby, shopping -- beautiful clothing and arts and crafts -- with nary a SpongeBob SquarePants doll in sight. There's tightly scripted entertainment scheduled without break for seven hours on end. And then, by God(s), there's the food. Samosas, Naan, and all the Pani Puri you can eat. For a festivalgoer who's used to sausage dogs from the back of a truck, it's like being released from prison. The only hard part was choosing which foods to go with.

Finally, I settled on Chopra's Chat Corner. While I wasn't sure whether to ask for natural healing advice or an extra Pakoda, I think I made the right choice. Who needs Deepak when you've got food like this?

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