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THURSDAY 3.31

Drums & Tuba - It's not just drums and tuba, there's also guitar in this eclectic trio's mishmash of musical genres. There are thick-bottomed instrumentals that funk it up and high-five rock while New Orleans jazz pops its head in and out of the mix at leisure. All is game here except the kitchen sink. Well, then again, there was this track on the last record. With The Punk Jazz Project. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

FRIDAY 4.1

Hungry Ghost - Charlotte punks sound like they fell out of the 80s, but are frothing at the mouth with scads of contemporary political lambasting. The guitars are firmly lathered up and with tracks like "Bush Knew" from the recent recording, they are unlikely to fall into line of the burgeoning "conservative" punk movement anytime soon. Bums Lie will open. SK Netcafe (Shukla)

Poprocket - Jay Garrigan's three piece runs full-throttle on stage, adding a white knuckle, red-line danger element to their pop-smart vehicle: Will they careen out of control on this bridge? Can they handle this outro at that speed? The answer to both is usually "let's find out," making their sets just unpredictable enough to be worth your while - and the songs ain't exactly chopped liver, either. This night celebrates the Muse's 4th anniversary, so add that factor in and I smell a great show. Or at least a memorable hangover the day after. With Tesser and more. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

Ronnie Baker Brooks - Son of Chicago blues legend Lonnie Brooks, RB Brooks spent more than a dozen years as lead guitarist and bandleader in his father's band before making the switch to full-time solo status with 1999's Golddigger. The fleet-fingered guitarist has since released Take Me Witcha on Watchdog Records, which is available at his live shows and on his website. Like his formidable Pa, Brooks is known for his rave-up take on electric blues, but isn't averse to throwing in a Hendrix song (or six) into his live-wire set. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Tom Waits Tribute - This, the second annual Fool's Brigade Benefit Concert, is entitled "An Invitation To The Blues - A Tribute to Tom Waits." All monies received from this Tommy the Cat-fest will be donated to Hospice at Charlotte. The brainchild of one Bruce Hazel (whose own performance you do not want to miss), the show also features sets by local luminaries David Childers, Todd Busch, Sea of Cortez, The Houston Brothers, Tyre Fyre, Lou Ford and more. See our story in this issue. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

SATURDAY 4.2

Dexter Romweber - Mr. Flat Duo Jet is enjoying the fruits of a renaissance these days, thanks in part to the White Stripes' Jack White - say what you will about Mr. White's music, he doles out the props to his forefathers. Of course, the same goes for Romweber, whose first record for Yep Roc, a sizzling slab of data called Blues That Defy My Soul, owes much to Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, the Coasters and other various old school country and swing heroes. In short, Romweber doesn't appear to have lost a step in the two decades he's been guitar-slinging. With local rockabilly monsters the Painkillers. The Room (Schacht)

Drivin' n' Cryin - It's been 20 years since these Atlanta rockers came on the scene and in 86 unleashed one of the best releases of the 80s in their debut Scarred But Smarter. Singer/guitarist/songwriter Kevn Kinney can croon up a country tearjerker or a drivin' rocker with a simple adjustment of the guitar strap. Nothing new on the recorded horizon, but there are plenty of solid records out there from the band, along with Kinney's solo material. Fellow long-running Southern rockers Dash Rip Rock will open. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

The Talk - The conquering heroes earned "sleeper show of the night" status from fellow-weekly the Austin Chronicle during their recent Austin appearance, no small feat during SXSW. The preview praised the band thusly: "Fast pop on the upstroke never rusts, but Justin Williams' not-saccharine vox powers this Charlotte four piece's silver-plated guitar tear. The Talk's solid, snappy It's Like Magic in Reverse doesn't have a rearview mirror." We can find nothing to argue with there. With Bellglide, Evoka and Job's Method. Tremont Music Hall (Schacht)

TUESDAY 4.5

TSOL / My So-Called Band - Three original members of Southern California punk legends TSOL (True Sounds of Liberty) return. Jack Grisham, Ron Emory and Mike Roche (original drummer Todd Barnes died of a drug overdose in 1999) can still get veins bulging, teeth gritting and fists clenched with their classic punk anthems. Their late 80s foray into metal can be forgiven as the band has since locked and reloaded and regained their original punk fury. With The AKAs and Charlotte's own "setbacks and scene hassles be damned, we're gonna keep kicking" punk impresarios My So-Called Band warming things up. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

WEDNESDAY 4.6

Pierre Bensusan - The master steel-string guitarist has a new album set for May, Altiplanos, that is a fine primer to his world-without-borders style. Equal parts classical, Celtic, jazz and African and Brazilian influences, it's yet another in a long line of critical successes for the world-renowned Frenchman (Bensusan was born in Algeria, and it shows in the subtle texturing of his fretboard runs). Bensusan also cuts loose on vocals throughout the show, alternately in French or English as the song dictates. However, it's his guitar that inevitably sings the loudest. The Evening Muse (Davis)

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