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WEDNESDAY 5.1

Badly Drawn Boy -- Indie wunderkind Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy, has been snaring much attention for his brand of distracted, noisy lo-fi pop music. Gough creates tickly prickly guitar pop while indulging his muse with releasing single takes as final versions. His latest work is the music backdrop for the new Hugh Grant flick About A Boy; the soundtrack is now available. Manifest Discs & Tapes (Shukla)

Ludacris -- Lyrically loquacious, Ludacris is goofy, but undeniably talented, forming sub-themes throughout his rhymes at will, as in this nod ("Growing Pains") to growing up listening to pop radio and playing with toys. I had a Long John but no Silver/No gold or plat/I was simply red from the years I been holdin' back/With 2 sides to a book I lick stamps and light matches/And set fires in garbage pails and cabbage patches/A child of the corn been wild since I was born/Climbin' over barb wire clothes got torn/Shoes got muddy and my click turned cruddy/Wherever I go they went/They my buddy. That's assuming everyone gets the references to Mick Hucknall, Topps gum cards and the old My Buddy dolls, which I'm assuming much of hard-core hip hop-land might not. Anyway, he might not be Chuck D, but he's undeniably fun, and funky enough to keep from coming off as someone like, for instance, Flavor Flav. Belk Arena, Davidson College (Davis)

THURSDAY 5.2

Brandtson -- With their leisurely poetic lyrics, delivered in sort of an impassionate yet sincere way, Brandtson kinda/sorta seem to be moving away from the restraints of the emo-world, relying less on distortion both musically and lyrically. Kind of like the Juliana Theory, in a way, but a bit more long-winded. Cutting the length of the songs a bit (and baiting the vocal delivery with a few more hooks) might be enough to put them in the indie limelight. As is, however, not bad. Not bad t'all. With Rocking Horse Winner, The Farewell Party, and the always enjoyable (and loud) Tokyo Machine. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

First Night On Earth -- Watery, electronic treatments mixed with guitar manipulations and tasteful vocals make up the sound of FNOE. Long running rocker Wes Grasty has assembled a musically mature outfit that's ready for the long haul with layers of ethereal tuneage on their debut record, No One Knows Anything For Sure. The first few notes will permeate your brain and trigger an evening long slo-mo head swaying. With Japan Air and Shamgod. Fat City (Shukla)

Jeffrey Dean Foster -- As part of their Troubadour Series, the Muse offers for your consideration Jeffrey Dean Foster, formerly of the Pinetops, and Brian Landrum, singer/guitarist of Black Eyed Dog. Foster's always an engaging presence on stage, but his solo stuff leans a little more toward the liberal side of the alt.country genre (i.e., not all that alt.country). To boot, Foster also played guitar alongside William Shatner in those infernal Priceline.com commercials. Perhaps more importantly but not near as interesting, Marti Jones recently released his "So Lonesome I Could Fly." The Evening Muse (Davis)

FRIDAY 5.3

Mayflies USA -- Representatives of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) will be meeting in Charlotte next weekend for their annual conference (see the Badly Drawn Boy show at Manifest, above), and Yep Roc Records will present a showcase as part of the whole shebang, featuring The Mayflies USA and The Bigger Lovers. The Mayflies USA are set to release their third CD, produced by Keith Cleversley (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev) in July, to be titled Walking In A Straight Line. Philadelphia-based The Bigger Lovers will open, with the whole thing being followed by a set by Parallel. Jordan's Bar & Grill (Davis)

Southern Culture On The Skids -- Fifteen years on and SCOTS are still a party band to reckon with. It's the unmistakable guitar twang that reels you in, the fried chicken and Chipmunk Fricassee that keeps you on the table, and the quartet's patented southern fried aroma that will bring you back for more. It's been a couple years since their last proper release, Liquored Up and Lacquered Down, hit the streets, so it's plum time for some new tunes. The Clones and Two-Dollar Pistols will start the greasy festivities. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

SATURDAY 5.4

Charlotte Pride -- The second annual all-day gathering of gay and lesbian activists with all sorts of goings-on, including a stack of cool bands and performers. Some of the more intriguing acts performing are Babyshaker (glam influenced punk rock mofos), Magdalen Hsu-Li (moody alterna-pop), Eva Gael (folk singer), Sister Funk (quintet of female funksters), Jill Austin Band (ballsy blues infused rock) and Doria Roberts (Atlanta's singer/spoken word folkie). All performers will do about a 20-30 minute set (from 12noon-8pm), so there's plenty to choose from. Marshall Park (Shukla)

Cinco De Mayo Party at The Penguin -- The only thing better than a Penguin hamburger Southern Style with added bacon is when they bring out the amps for a big rock show. This celebration ought to be their best one yet, with nary a dud group in the bunch. Featured is The Talk, who recently put in a coupla days in the studio; Black Lagoon, sure to be a finalist for the CL new band of the year award; The Flyweb, who have been on a sabbatical so long they're gathering cobwebs; Snagglepuss; mutton-chopped Scott Weaver and Babyshaker; and the Houston Brothers. The Penguin (Davis)

Gran Torino -- This funk outfit literally bulges at the seams in sheer numbers and musical mayhem. It's a non-stop dance fest when the Torino, Gran Torino that is, hits the stage. The extra flavor GT brings along is a respectful tip of the hat to classic jazz twists, so the funk has an element of warmth. There have been no new recordings of late, but don't let that stop you from a Saturday night on the town. With Impacto. Dixie's Tavern (Shukla)

Johnny Mathis -- One of the last remaining great crooners of the golden era. Beginning as a jazz vocalist, he evolved into a staple romantic balladeer and later soft rock noodler. Still, no matter that some of the lyrics sound just plain corny and never mind he has remained stylistically similar for four decades -- when that voice floats over the orchestra, even the meanest dudes get misty eyed and look for a gal to cozy up with. Expect a house full of spiffy duds and shiny limos lining up the boulevard and, lurking among the sea of gray-haired happy couples, a scrawny rocker who's left the Sonic Youth records in the closet for the evening. The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra will provide the music. Ovens Auditorium (Shukla)

Patty Griffin / Tift Merritt / Alison Moorer -- A three-run homer here, featuring three of the best alt.country has to offer. Griffin has a fine new album, 1000 Kisses, an acoustic beauty with an outfield assist from Emmylou Harris. Moorer, best known to some as the sister of Shelby Lynne, definitely has the better swing of the two siblings. And she's a better dresser (then again, besting someone never photographed wearing anything except underwear ain't hard). Merritt, recently signed to the excellent Lost Highway records, is the kid in Triple-A ball batting .400, just waiting for a call-up. In a week filled with great shows (for once), this ought to be one of the best. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

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