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Un-Americanan Activity

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T uesday, March 5 saw both a party and a wake at the Double Door Inn. The fifth anniversary of the Americana Night Showcase also turned out to be the final farewell to the event. People onstage and in the crowd were saying, "I can't believe it" all night. Some couldn't believe it had been five years of good music, while others couldn't believe it was the last night of what had become a valued tradition of the Charlotte music scene. The night brought plenty of people together, too, as folks from other venues like the Comet Grill and Puckett's Farm Equipment showed up. A couple of local producers and promoters who are typically associated with other genres of music were also in the crowd. Four of the six founding bands -- the Rank Outsiders, Michael Reno Harrell, David Childers and Lenny Federal, cranked out stellar sets throughout the night. The threat of an all-out jam was made from the Ranksters' own Bill Noonan just before he welcomed Federal to the stage for the final performance of the night. But 1am was fast approaching and after all, it was a weeknight. As I made my way to the door, I overheard another "I can't believe it," only this time it ended with, "she's leaving before it's even over." Damn, people, even writers have to get some sleep sometimes! -- Lynn Farris

The British are coming! The British are coming! Starsailor, the popular English act who is this year's new Coldplay (who were the new Travis, who were the new Oasis, et al.), docked their red-and-chrome tour bus at Tremont Music Hall on Saturday night, to the delight of every Anglophile in Charlotte. Some local music fans speculated that this might have been the first time a highly regarded British group has every played in Charlotte on the way up and actually kept the date. The typical American apathy for Brit bands not named the Beatles or Stones was in evidence, as the crowd, while enthusiastic, wasn't all that large. They were well-dressed, though, resplendent in corduroy and warm-up jackets, with not so much as a Fubu football jersey anywhere on the premises. Musically, the band held up their end, although singer James Walsh's voice was placed so high in the mix he could have sung from the Thames and been sufficiently loud. The band, apparently still in a good mood after sponsor WEND feted them pre-show at Tony's Oyster Bar, never said much to the audience outside of "shouting out" a few birthdays here and there to fans and the band's drummer. The fans were equally, er, "polite." In fact, it seemed that even though people enjoyed the show, many came just to say they were there in case the band breaks it big stateside. One guy next to me seemed flummoxed by the whole spectacle, yawning again and again until his friend mentioned that while these guys were pretty good, they were no Elbow, Britrock's Next Big Thing. -- Tim C. Davis

Wall to wall wedding bells Patrons who hadn't been at The Evening Muse in a couple of weeks were in for a surprise at Beth Chorneau's gig Friday. A massive one-week renovation changed things considerably. The stage, originally on the side wall, was moved to the back of the room, where the bar and sound booth once stood. The bar was expanded, and placed where the stage used to be (right beside the door, the better to get 'em drinkin' quicker). A sort of chatting area was also created, for those people who like to talk during shows, though it might have been more apropos to create a section for those who don't talk during shows, usually a minority in Charlotte. About midway through the set, Chorneau brought Joe Kuhlmann and Lea Pritchard, co-owners and operators of the establishment, to come up and say a few words about the reopening of the thriving NoDa nightspot. Kuhlmann, never one to miss the chance to get the last word, asked Pritchard to marry him, always a ballsy move in front of a hundred or so semi-drunk close friends. She accepted. Kuhlmann may now look forward to a complete renovation of his free time, his friends, his nighttime habits, and his spending. -- Tim C. Davis

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