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WEDNESDAY 9.11

Bruce Hazel & The Noise -- Bruce Hazel manages the rare feat of biting, vitriolic commentary, combined with all sorts of muscular hooks -- imagine Elvis Costello co-habitating with a drunken Ryan Adams circa the Strangers Almanac tour. Eschewing for the most part any semblance of country (except for the odd, twangish lead), Hazel's music nonetheless retains a rootsy quality -- self-doubt, regret, and the pathos of the new non-rich -- that, to these ears, sounds rather authentic. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Snake Oil Medicine Show -- North Carolina oddity creates a dazzling brew of old-time music with bluegrass and jazz. Take the train to the mythical mountains of Asheville for the complete feel of Snake Oil Medicine Show, featuring rickety banjos, fiddles, guitars and homemade percussion. When the self-stroking MTV and its "anything for a buck" awards reward the likes of superwanker Eminem and his "show," it's bands like these that hold the promise of rescuing the lost generation. Righteous. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Shukla)

The Suicide Machines -- Ska-punk rockers try mighty hard to rule the roost with their itchy sound filled with politicized rants and fun rhymes, and they usually succeed. The New World Order seems to have had no effect on the outfit as they ply along, refurbishing the environs with their own, less than placid agenda. It's a brave new world, indeed. Also on slate for the evening are From Autumn to Ashes, Glasseater and Small Brown Bike. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

THURSDAY 9.12

Glory Fountain / Darren Jessee -- It's the right combination of male/female vocals jousting, not for position, but for enhancement of what's being sung and told. Their recent record, The Beauty of 23, sings praises of melodic pop rock with good writing, playing and crooning. It's a nice homage to the likes of classic REM and others presented with a touch of Americana for the new age. (Shukla) / The former Ben Folds Five drummer now stands at the front of the stage instead of sitting at the back, and it suits him nicely. His band, a Chapel Hill-ian pickup band featuring folks from Collapsis and the Squirrel Nut Zippers, does a fine job of lending Jessee the harmony he helped provide in his former band. All in all? Good, airy, country-tinged (and literary, thank God) songwriter rock, and worth it even if his name were Uncle Jesse. Aside: Perhaps he's not used to the frontman role, but it wouldn't hurt to look at the audience once every three or four songs. Double Door Inn (Davis)

FRIDAY 9.13

Lazy Birds -- A wonderful new live disc is out now. The record and this gig are the best ways to experience this snazzy ultra-roots outfit in full regalia. The disc is called Live Down Home, and it rocks in its own "nose up at the contemporary trends" way. They dig deep under the roots and cover such legends as Leadbelly, Dylan, Nat King Cole, and Hank Sr., among others. With Abe Reid & The Spikedrivers and Low Down Travelers. Fat City (Shukla)

SATURDAY 9.14

Jennyanykind -- The band's driving force, the Holland brothers, defy convention with their top-of-the-heap writing and solemn (yet joyous) playing, a brand of rootsy, twangy, gospel blues-rock occasionally splattered with psychedelics. Another die-hard outfit that has persevered for over a decade with label and music industry hassles, their 90s recording Blues for the Afflicted has a firm spot on my list as one of the best releases of that decade. Jennyanykind takes the stage at 9pm; the Katsckillz Project will play the late show. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

Loch Ness Johnny -- A Columbia, SC quartet, The Johnnies spice their Southern black coffee with a little Irish cream, mixing mid-tempo acoustic rockers with a Guinness-guzzling Emerald Isle flair. Hints of Richard Thompson and Van Morrison crop up from time to time, as well as nods to Mellencamp and other landlocked artists. Strangely enough, it works. Luck of the Irish, perhaps. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Davis)

Lonely Lights -- A night hosted by Charlotte's own Kings of Atmosphere, The Interstellars, featuring the ATL's Aerial (a sort of lo-fi Massive Attack), and the harmonic electro-psychedelia of Midstates, who last played in town as Novasonic Down Hyperspace. Be careful you don't float away. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Los Hombres Calientes / John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers -- Irvin Mayfield is a strong young trumpet player who's open to new sounds, and Bill Summers is a venerable percussion master who speaks a myriad of musical languages. As the core of Los Hombres Calientes, they take the jazz and funk of their home, New Orleans, and jump or flow into sounds from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, always managing to sound natural, never forced. (Brian Falk) / Nice to see a worthwhile legend playing our fair city. This guy has been around since the late 60s, and his musical textbook has featured a plethora of legendary players too numerous to list, from the world of blues and rock. It's the classic American blues this Brit has favored since picking up his guitar, and the rest, as they say, is history. Seasoned fans will rejoice as his recent record, Stories, harks back to the old school he's been espousing for decades, while the novice can soak in timeworn signatures on the mighty six string and learn a few things about blues. Gateway Village (Shukla)

SUNDAY 9.15

Medeski Martin and Wood / John Scofield -- This must be the only band signed to the venerable jazz label Blue Note that has fans following them on tour. MMW deserves the support they've earned: like a rock or a funk band, they inspire fans to get out of their seats, but like a jazz band, their improvisations and explorations are actually interesting. Their latest CD, Uninvisible, mixes the solid grooves of Shack Man with the hip-hop of Combustication and the psychedelia of The Dropper, and manages to be better than all three. This band has an amazing ability to combine adventurousness with accessibility and make it a fun time. / There's no need to tell jazz fans about John Scofield. They know he's played with some of the best musicians and made a lot of really good recordings. No need to tell jam-band fans, either. They've heard him play with Medeski Martin and Wood and they've seen him at festivals, so they know how funky and fun his shows are. Guitar-heads know him, too, because he's one of the baddest players around. Still, they all might have been a little surprised by his show in Charlotte last year. His latest band, especially rhythm-guitar master Avi Bortnick, blends jazz and funk, which Scofield has done so well before, and adds a strong dose of soul, reminiscent of the 1960s or 70s. Bortnick even samples at times and creates electronic rhythms. A truly interesting rhythm guitarist, his playing is a great complement to Scofield's long, searching solos. Gateway Village (Brian Falk)

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