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WEDNESDAY 9.3

4th Ward -- The new material by long running local pop-rockers 4th Ward adds harder elements to their already potent Merseybeat sound -- in other words, expect an even more rocking show now. The demos from the upcoming record, Big Dream Baby, show how a good rock band doesn't get stuck in a rut. The Beatlesque psychedelia is still there, the harmonies are still loaded and the pop takes many hip detours with spinning drums and guitar work. To their credit, the quintet does classic rock that flows with contemporary pop underpinnings. With Crisis. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Michelle Malone & the Low-Down Georgia Revue -- Moanin' Malone has been kicking around Georgia for a decade and a half and is a member of the proverbial "unsung musician's club." That of course is a damn shame as she can stack words into fine prose while not forgetting the poetic necessities to turn them into a song. Her swinging new record, Stompin' Ground, is Malone at her rocking, swaying, crooning and countrified best. With Clare Burson. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

THURSDAY 9.4

Cherry Bomb / U-phonik -- In which two popular Charlotte-area cover bands ixnay the warmed-over Foo Fighters riffs the University and Uptown crowd love so in favor of some original (i.e., not direct cover) tunes. Free from the constraints of being a flesh jukebox for the Michelob Ultra set, both bands will attempt to forgo being interpreters in favor of speaking their own musical language. How much might get lost in the translation is anyone's guess. The Room (Davis)

Satellite Union -- This Charlotte trio has recently arrived on the scene and characterizes its collective muse as jazz-funktronica. I'll give 'em that handle, but I'm not giving them "fair and balanced." OK, let's not get off the subject, the instrumental outfit leans toward funky jazz as well as jazzy funk and should invariably chisel out their own agenda. For now, I'll give the boys some elbow room so they might eventually show us what they can really do. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

FRIDAY 9.5

Bad Samanthas -- The Bad Sams are a newish outfit, but feature a number of local music veterans, including Derek Ghent, Eric Gilstrap (Elevator Action), and musician/booking agent Scott McCannell. I haven't had the chance to see them live yet, but a rough four-song demo I received is intriguing enough to recommend them sight unseen: no nonsense chordage, three female backing vocalists, and an affinity for the Pixies and Ween (and feedback). Probably not fully grown just yet, but certainly a more interesting baby than most. Part of the Fall 2003 ARToxication, with Snagglepuss and DJ Notorious D.U.D. The Steeple Lounge (Davis)

Doc Watson -- A North Carolina treasure, Watson's influence on flatpicking guitar is immense. An inspiration to most any folk artist who ever picked a tune post-1960, Arthel "Doc" Watson is a living songbook of American music styles, having incorporated blues and country, even R&B, way before such fusions were widely accepted. In fact, the indefatigable Watson (RoboDoc?) now seems more energetic than ever, gleefully plying the crowd with a well-placed story (often a little history lesson in American music), a choice bit of gossip or G-rated joke, all the while still picking like a man half his age. Ever wish you could have seen a Charlie Christian or a Woody Guthrie while they were still alive? Watson's pretty much a talent of that caliber. With grandson Richard Watson, Derita's own Jack Lawrence, and Concord's finest, The Avett Brothers. Sylvia Theater, York (Davis)

Memphis The Band -- A rousing gospel-blues track called "Even the Kings" off their record Last of the Cadillac Days is alone worth the trouble of plugging in the boombox. Add a stack of rockers, twangers and just plain blues to the mix and the town from which they've lifted their namesake comes into focus. Chapel Hill's Jimbo Mathis produced the record and another NC veteran, Chris Stamey, mixed it up properly. Nice. The Gin Mill (Shukla)

SATURDAY 9.6

Charlie Robison / Jeff Black -- Robison is a Nashville survivor with enough grit under his cowpoke hat to give his folkish country authenticity. Jeff Black's hat definitely sticks out above the din of singer/songwriters with subtleties in the lyrics as well as the music. The guitars spar gently with the piano rolls for a downright somber feel. It's obvious he takes his licks in stride and the resulting music is the positive byproduct. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

Murphy's Law -- The kings of NYC party-core, Murphy's Law have been "advertising" their pro-weed and drink platform since about the time Peter Tosh started his campaign. Jimmy G. and company have never had a problem telling off the straight-edgers, being as they are much more fond of things with three Xs than one. Also on the bill are Bad Luck 13, Sugar Daddy, and The Dead Kings. Speaking of the Dead Kings, this show will feature the Charlotte debut of drummer Jason Griscom, a part-time horror filmmaker and a perfect addition to the East Coast road warriors. The Room (Davis)

Snatches of Pink -- Once upon a time they were one of the catalysts of the now taken for granted Chapel Hill rock scene, getting loads of ink and record deals. Consider it luck of the draw for you and me that they're back after a seven year hiatus of the Snatches namesake (while band members recorded and toured under the moniker Clarissa). Though Clarissa had more mellow moments, Michael Rank and company have brought back the mighty riffs that defined the real Pink. They've got a rawking new record, Hyena, coming out soon on Charlotte-based MoRisen records. Part of the Fall 2003 ARToxication, with Elevator Action and DJ The Shoemaker. The Steeple Lounge (Shukla)

SUNDAY 9.7

Rev. Marv Ward & The Blues Disciples -- This veteran blues guitarist from south of the border in Columbia has a straightforward no-nonsense blues style. It's got a tad bit of New Orleans, with plenty of R&B and a steady guitar that chugs along. No flashy handwork is necessary here since Ward knows his way around the blues. He's the guest performer at this gathering of Charlotte Blues Society folks. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

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