Scan the local concert calendar for the next couple of weeks, and you should notice a trend: 'Tis the season to reunite.
Three local bands defunct or on open-ended hiatus -- the Goldenrods, Misguided Youth and Muscadine -- are getting together to relive their glory days and see if they still remember how to play their songs.
First, the particulars: the Goldenrods play the Double Door Inn, Wednesday, Dec. 20; on Friday, Dec. 29, Muscadine reunites at the Visulite and Misguided Youth does the same at the Milestone.
Working our way backwards in time, the Goldenrods' tenure may have been brief, but they were one of Charlotte's more promising bands during their two-year-plus run in the early 2000s. Comprised of familiar faces from Les Dirt Clods (Randolph Lewis, David Kim), Lou Ford (Mark Lynch) and the fledgling Houston Brothers (Justin and Matt Faircloth), Benji Hughes was the project's sole songwriter. His knack for pop melody -- a little bit Stephen Merritt, a little bit Brian Wilson -- melded seamlessly with his cohorts' southern-inflected rock, and their live shows always drew well. Unfortunately, despite a couple of recording sessions, only a Christmas compilation song was ever released.
"We made a few recordings which I've been listening to lately, and they are pretty sweet," Hughes wrote via e-mail. "I don't know how close the Goldenrods came to putting anything out, but we did drink a lot of beer."
"We were just this spiraling, wild, crazy type of band," says Justin Faircloth. "We toured a little -- New York, South by Southwest -- and that was always chaotic fun."
Eventually, Hughes' songwriting talents earned him the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and try his hand at making a living as a full-time songwriter. He's been there ever since, collaborating with the likes of Alice Cooper, among others. But he says his heart will always be in Charlotte.
"Although there are some great things about L.A., I am Charlottean to the core," Hughes wrote. "I never wanted to leave and I can't wait to move back."
Hughes was also a key member of Muscadine, active in the mid-90s. They've never officially broken up and even played a gig last year; Hughes writes that there's a good chance there'll be a 2007 follow-up to their 1997 debut, The Ballad of Hope Nicholls.
During their heyday, Hughes and his band mates -- Jonathan Wilson, Staci Leazer and Malcolm "Trey" Walker -- were one of several local acts the major labels (particularly Sire) were throwing money at. But in the band purge of the late 1990s, all were dropped or forgotten.
"These days the industry is pretty frugal," Hughes wrote, "but we did get to experience some of that over-the-top stuff you hear about, like five-star hotels, out-of-control room service tabs, car service, wild parties."
Misguided Youth may not have made the big time, but they were a fixture on the Charlotte scene from 1985-89. Members included Jimmy King (Drat, Aqualads), Lee (now "Leisure") McCorkle, John Lomax and Sam Michaelowski. High schoolers when they started out, they were successful enough locally to open for some of their punk heroes, like the Ramones, the Lords of the New Church, the Circle Jerks, the Exploited and the Dead Milkmen.
In true 1980's‚ punk DIY fashion, the band made several cassette-only releases, and recorded a CD and EP that were never released. This Milestone gig is the band's first since its 1989 demise, and promises to roll back the years for those who were there the first time.
It's a bit down the road, but Elevator Action's farewell show takes place Friday, Jan. 5, at the Milestone. The trio is pulling up stakes and moving to Brooklyn ... David Childers has a couple new records out, one with the Modern Don Juans -- Burning In Hell -- and a solo release, David Childers at the Backshop, Live. Available at Lunch Box Records on Central and at any of the 300 gigs Childers and company will be playing soon ... the December issue of Uptown Magazine features a handsome feature on two of Charlotte's most vociferous music supporters, Don and Laurie Koster. Their contributions to the local scene -- including this column on occasion -- are invaluable ... You can cast your vote for the top 100 CDs of 2006 at WNCW by accessing their Web site at www.wncw.com. The radio station provides the choices, which unfortunately excludes about 100 more discs that should've made the list. Vote for your top 10 discs of this year and the station will choose 10 winners to take home some of the winning CDs. The top 100, as voted by listeners and station's hosts, will be aired on Dec. 28 and 29.