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THURSDAY 12.18

Larry Keel Experience -- Count Keel among the acoustic guitarists who can play the six-stringer as effortlessly as clapping hands. It's bluegrass, Appalachian folk music and a touch of blues delivered with homegrown mountain vocals. Keel is a Telluride Flat-Picking Champion and watching him play guitar is proof it was no fluke. Also joining Keel this evening are Steve "Big Daddy" McMurry of Acoustic Syndicate and Candlewyck. Sylvia Theater, York (Shukla)

Scoot & Phill -- You've seen the name popping up at venues around town. Now do yourself a favor and go see Scoot sling an acoustic guitar around ably written songs. His strength is in the songwriting, which is perked up by funky guitar work touching on rock, pop, and even jazz influences. And the lyrics roll off the tongue in sing-along mode. Scoot performs solo, as a duo (with Phill) or with Jump Jenkins. A regional performer reaching for higher ground, and he'll probably get there, too. Now get off yer duff and go see em. Ri Ra (Shukla)

FRIDAY 12.19

Complex Radio -- A double-header of sorts presenting an opportunity to see a ton of bands at two clubs located practically across the street from each other. Complex Radio is the brainchild of Andrew Webster, and for just $15 you can hop back and forth between the two clubs and receive an 8-CD (!) box set. Neighborhood Theatre Lineup: Baleen, Poprocket, Lenny Federal, Jeronimo Punx, The Virginia Reel, Les Dirt Clods, The Others, and Satellite Union. Evening Muse Lineup: Mons Venera, Gold Coast Acoustic, Volatile Baby, David Childers, Clare Burson, Malcolm Holcombe, and Ashley Robinson. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

Eric Lovell -- A natural guitarist with fingers just as adept at playing mandolin and sitar. Lovell's long stand in the region results in a fabric of blues, psychedelic rock and Americana music. He is working on a new record to be released in the near future, and if it comes even close to his last effort, The Long Road, then the wait will be worth it. It's classic rock, the kind that stands the test of time, layered with contemporary drones, but don't let that pigeonhole Lovell. George Washington Bookstore & Tavern, Concord (Shukla)

Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers -- A double dose of the blue-collar blues man known for his marathon gigs and real-life songwriting, the guitarist and his backing band, the Drivers, appear Saturday, too. Thackery & Co. -- bass, drums and saxophone -- will feature some hard-livin' original blues from his latest, True Stories, and they'll surely dip into a catalogue that stretches back to the early 70s from Thackery's time with the legendary blues band, The Nighthawks. Double Door Inn (Schacht)

Jonathan Lisle -- With a fan like John Digweed in his corner, Lisle hasn't lacked for support from one of the bigger names in electronica. Lisle has played main rooms from his hometown London to LA, and from Norway to South Africa. Expect an intelligent mix of progressive breaks and house. Tonic (Schacht)

NMX NO. 3 -- The third edition of the forward-thinking New Music Xtravaganza (NMX) features acts as varied as The Bad Samanthas, the Breaks, DJ Whiz Kid, and the Whigs. The Charlotte-based record label MoRisen is now on a regular roll, extending its reach with solid releases from regional bands and promoting scene-expanding events such as these. Also on the bill are The Bleeding Hearts, Etheric, Jason Scavone & the Noises Ten, The Man, and Maneater. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

SATURDAY 12.20

Dynamo Dresden / Maf Ray Gun -- Fans of Tara Busch's previous work (Sheva, Dahli Llama) would do well to check out this show. The trippy Wales-based Dynamo Dresden is the strongest act she's worked with yet, showcasing her impressive pipes to fine effect without resorting to full-on wailing. She just appeared at the Evening Muse last week, so you get a rare mulligan if you missed her, or another chance if you liked what you heard. The Steeple Lounge (Davis)

Snatches of Pink / Babyshaker -- Having gone through the obligatory line-up changes and numerous hiatuses, this Chapel Hill mainstay finds itself on solid ground once again. There's Hyena, the new record on Charlotte's own MoRisen label, plus a stable line-up (members of $2 Pistols, Patty Hurst Shifter and The Man) to fill out lead Snatch Michael Rank's, um, well...ranks. Expect to see and hear some very fine, very loud gutter-glam rock. Perfect pairing with local kingpins Babyshaker, who know a thing or two about the glam themselves. The Room (Tara Flanagan)

Uptown Shelter Benefit w/ Matone -- Matone's 2nd annual Winter Solstice concert celebrates the longest night of the year. And because it's a benefit for the Uptown Shelter, it's also a chance to help some unfortunate people prepare for the cold weather ahead. Matone's blend of Southern rock, psychedelia, jazz and a little funk will help you have a good time supporting a good cause. Indian Sunburn opens the show with a set of blues-inflected rock & roll. Last year's benefit raised six barrels of clothes for the shelter, and Matone wants to top that mark this year, so be sure to take something warm to donate. Visulite Theatre (Brian Falk)

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