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WEDNESDAY 1.22

Interstellars/The Stelle Group -- Lunar ambient rockers The Interstellars continue to quietly crank out albums and EPs, and the results are usually imminently listenable -- sort of like a Spiritualized without all the expensive software. The Stelle Group, I'm guessing, was named after the Illinois community of self-sufficiency advocates. That they are -- the band composts its own music into a bleeding whirr of feedback and nuance, becoming something like a Flying Burrito Brothers on pharmaceuticals. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Leslie Helpert -- Helpert manages quite an interesting vibe, with an earthy yet esoteric blend of voice and guitar. It's trippy folk music played sparsely on acoustic guitar and lean lyrics that float above the din while making other singer-songwriters sound pretty darn plain. If her cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" is any indication, expect an interesting and chilled evening. With Claire Kettlebell. Deanna Lynn will also play. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

THURSDAY 1.23

The Soul Mites -- An assorted mix of rock, funk and alterna sounds stitched together by a raspy, blues-voiced singer are the basic makeup of Columbia, SC's The Soul Mites. There are times you'd think Hootie and the Blowfish changed their name and came back with a more urban vibe, but the band pulls itself up and trims the loose threads with a fairly original and soulful approach. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

FRIDAY 1.24

Enter the Haggis -- A bunch of guys in kilts, first of all. And you can probably tell by the name that they're not the most serious-minded lot. Basically, high energy Celtic jamming mixed with a healthy dose of Slade-like rock & roll revelry. It ain't U2, and it ain't The Pogues. Hell, it ain't even Black 47. But with a Guinness or two, it's perhaps good enough. Ri Ra (Davis)

Gray-V -- They're a slow motion funk rock band out of Richmond who supply jazzy drum scats and gurgling bass lines over the jams. They have so many stylistic changes from track to track that the groove seems to lose flavor, but things pick up again when the guitar urges them on. In the end, the mix can go from psychedelic rock to thick pop to an R&B-loaded jam band. Mojo Restaurant & Spirits (Shukla)

Hadden Sayers Band -- Sayers pumps out electric blues, about as big as his base of Texas, with palpable rock intonation. The fiery licks can scrap with the best of 'em, including his shapers, S.R. Vaughan and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The cool thing is the compositional and songwriting prowess, which should keep him in play for the long haul. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Mike Garrigan/Mark Kano -- Two members of Athenaeum here, doing the solo acoustic thing. Ex-Collapsis singer-guitarist Mike Garrigan is the more muscular songwriter of the two and, to me, the more intriguing. Mark Kano, lead singer guy from Athenaeum, is perhaps a little more radio-ready with his songcraft. As John Mayer proves, however, that's not always such a good thing. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

Misfits Tribute Night -- An eclectic bill here, which ought to speak to just how influential the Misfits have been to folks over their quarter-century history. Included on tonight's bill are The Talk, Rotten Liberals, Black Lagoon, Mindspill, Drat, The Aqualads and more. All you people fresh from Hot Topic with Misfits skull shirts who can't name a song? Here's your chance! Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

World Conquerors Tour -- Nice show here, and, if well-attended, one that might have other top-notch indie hip-hop acts finding time for a stop in Charlotte between their Atlanta and Chapel Hill gigs. The bill features Scienz of Life, Stronghold's Breez Evahflowin, L.I.F.E.Long and DJ Static, and H. Brycon & DJ Equal. Now based in the ATL, Scienz of Life's concept of "overground" hip-hop mixes Mobb Deep and Raekwon with a few hearty puffs of Goodie Mob positivity. Scienz also boast some nice Hitchcock/noir tracks, as evidenced on Project Overground: The Scienz Experiment. Stronghold's Breez is positively a freestylin' warrior, and his friends L.I.F.E.Long (Writer's Guild) and DJ Static provide fine accompaniment. Rounding out the bill is Asheville's H. Brycon and DJ Equal. The Steeple Lounge (Davis)

SATURDAY 1.25

Coldplay -- I remember a long time ago, a local musician came up to me and pressed a CDR in my hand of what he promised was "the next big thing." Now, previously, this same individual had pressed advance, import-only CDRs in my hand and made the same promise. This one was labeled simply: Coldplay. I wasn't sure if that was the name of the band, or instructions for play. That said, I put it on, liked it, and then forgot about it. Then, of course, "Yellow," Gwyneth Paltrow, A Rush of Blood To The Head and Grammy nominations. Which would seem to me to indicate they have, in fact, "made it." Musically, they already had, most likely. Opening is the fine Ron Sexsmith, whose lovely Cobblestone Runway was one of my favorite records of the last year. In fact, look for Sexsmith and Coldplay's Chris Martin to perhaps share the stage on a song or two. Grady Cole Center (Davis)

Delta Moon -- Atlanta band plays delta blues, hillbilly style. Throwing in a bit of Appalachia with dual slide guitars and a rousing female vocalist makes them one of the more musically intrepid bands around. The swinging alto of Gina Leigh shakes up blues while the guitarists create robust and steamy acoustic or slide blues that will make purists grin from ear to ear. Guitarist Tom Gray used to front the 80s band The Brains and, make no mistake, this outfit can make the juke joint party down moments after you've emptied out yer tear ducts. Slim Harpo and Mississippi Fred McDowell would smile at the proper treatment given to their tunes. Sylvia Theater, York (Shukla)

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