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WEDNESDAY 11.12

Cotton Blue Band -- Rob Posey and Debbie Pasek are the principal players in this Charleston- based blues band. Posey can crank out Alvin Lee-style guitar licks, and his gruff vocals get mixed up with some harp blowing on the rockers and slow numbers. Buckhead Saloon (Shukla)

Sole / Alias -- Representing the Anticon crew...(OK, just stop it already. No ridiculous-sounding music writer lingo, please? Maybe describe their sound. This is a music column, after all. People want to know what the hell they sound like. They don't want to hear your pseudo-intellectual proselytizing. The music! Get to the damn music! Tell people how labels like Anticon and Definitive Jux are the Sub Pops and Merges of the hip hop world. Tell them Sole slays on the mic, and that Alias, who will DJ, is one of the best in the country, period. Tell them Odd Nosdam and Telephone Jim Jesus -- what a name! -- will be along for the ride too. Tell them not to miss it if they like hip hop with some attitude and intelligence. Promise them, above all, that no one here will rap about a damn Bentley. That's how you write a blurb. Yesiree Bob. What's that? You say I've reached my word count for this one?). The Room (Davis)

FRIDAY 11.14

Bullship -- Bullship play what one local show-goer once described to me as "old school math rock," a term he knew would set my heart aflutter. Sort of like the late, great local band Pigfucker, Bullship are equal parts Big Black and Frank Black, balancing metallic noise with a heady sense of song structure. This show, their first in some time, is also a CD Release Party -- 10 clams gets you admission and the choice of a T-shirt or the new (self-titled) CD. The Steeple Lounge (Davis)

Les Dirt Clods / Tyre Fyre -- Just the other day, I was saying to myself, "Self, it's been a while since you've seen Randolph Lewis and his Frenchified topsoil. What's up with them? Are they playing anytime soon?" And then I get a phone call from the man himself, telling me about this show. If you've never seen them, expect plenty of Stones-y swagger, with enough sweet Southern refrains and instrumental flourishes that you'll never doubt its true origins. As for that long -- Chinese Democracy long -- awaited debut disc of theirs, word has it that the band's been doing some recording at the Mebane, NC, studio owned by Rick Miller (Southern Culture on the Skids). With the Clods is the relatively new Tyre Fyre, an excellent new band featuring John Morris (Snagglepuss) and Brent Dunn (Alternative Champs, etc.), along with Shawn Lynch (every third band in Charlotte) and drummer Donnie Merritt. The Room (Davis)

Peter Case -- Count Case among the ranks of former punk rockers and power popsters who are now plying the roads that blues and country built. The Nerves and The Plimsouls are part of Case's ancient history, and the somber twang of folky tunes, penned with years of road-touring experience, are his contemporary kick. It's a shame Case has not broken into bigger markets outside the singer/songwriter haunts he currently resides in because his songs put most contemporary radio-land hit-makers to shame. With Joe Rathbone. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

Project Object -- The country's finest Frank Zappa tribute band, Project/Object have become a rather noteworthy live band in their own right. Featuring the singing and guitar playing of Ike Willis, Zappa's longest running band member and guitar foil in the later years, this show also features ex-Zappa bandmates Napoleon Murphy Brock (vocals, sax) and Don Preston (keys). More than a tribute band, Project/Object continue to explore their very own musical universe every time they plug in the amps -- Zappa only provides the map. One imagines that's the way the Great One would have liked it. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Thursday -- A package tour with enough oomph and passion to keep the drivel at bay. Thursday's take on rock & roll includes rousing, harmony-laced, back-up choruses, and hair flailing while the lead singer croons emotive tunes. They slam the guitars and can also slow things down with Queen-inspired tunes such as "This Song Brought To You By A Falling Bomb," from the new record War All the Time (Victory/Island). Touring with like-minded comrades Thrice, Coheed and Cambria. Grady Cole Center (Shukla)

Waybacks -- An expansive new-grass band from San Francisco blends bluegrass with traditional country. They switch from bluegrass to swing to acoustic rock with fast-paced tales and an intriguing style driven by mandolin, acoustic guitar and fingerpicking rhythm guitar. Put on your toe-tapping shoes as they play tightly wound originals as well as eclectic covers of Charlie Parker, John Fahey and other unlikely candidates. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

SATURDAY 11.15

Freekbass -- A Bootsy Collins protege with a more rock-oriented tip of the hat to the legacy of P-Funk, Ohio's Freekbass is a bassist and singer/composer ably laying out the bass lines thick and wide. The sound, while occasionally sliding into retro imitation, is strong enough to support the moniker; it's got touches of hip hop and reggae, too. The Room (Shukla)

International Orange -- A Chapel Hill-based supergroup of sorts, International Orange features guitarist/vocalist Snüzz (Ben Folds, Bus Stop), bassist Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five), drummer Chris Stephenson (Two Dollar Pistols) and the one and only Django Haskins, a carpetbagger (his term) finally settled into his new Piedmont residence. The quartet do some reconfigured takes on their own solo output as well as original Orange tracks and, like the Drive-By Truckers, have three distinct singers that each hold their own. Please note, however, that they sound nothing like the Drive-By Truckers, although Haskins might well pontificate on the "Southern Thang" if you ask him nicely. The Evening Muse (Davis)

WEDNESDAY 11.19

Beenie Man -- Dancehall reggae requires a natural vocal delivery wrapped in a smorgasbord of beats and bass, as well as a clique, usually taking the form of bravado about having success with the ladies. Beenie Man is no less of a stylist and is currently hanging on the upper rungs of the temperamental genre. Expect plenty of rapid-fire delivery with a bass-heavy, tropical beat. With Tanto Metro & Devonte. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

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