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Music MenuBy Tim Davis,Samir Shukla and Co.

capt:UNKNOWN HINSON plays the Double Door on Friday

Belmont Playboys The Playboys are finally back after having taken some time off from the club circuit (ain't real jobs a bitch!). So hold tight to your women and your liquor because Lord knows it'll probably be a throw-down. The Playboys have spent over 10 years building a loyal (and rabid) following, and nothing proves it more than their sweaty slam-packed hometown gigs. Word has it the second set will be a special tribute to the Ramones, in honor of the recently deceased Joey Ramone. Fast and furious punkabilly on a Mexican holiday -- why the hell not? Be sure to catch the opener, Jem Crossland & The Hypertonics, too. They're more from the traditional side of rockabilly, but it makes for a great warm-up for those dancin' shoes. Saturday, Double Door. -- Lynn Farris

Jerry Cantrell Three years ago, the axeman (with the signature ultra-thick riffage) of the long lost wailing rockers, Alice in Chains, put out a solo record, Boggy Depot (Columbia), that hinted at a burgeoning solo career. No record has appeared since then, but the axeman cometh and a phat rock & roll show should be in order. Sunday, Ziggy's, Winston-Salem. -- SS

Cold Florida's Cold are a radio-ready outfit bound for Hitsville. Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst lent a hand to get em the big contract a couple years back. The sound is hard alterna-grunge, but I must admit it has a more genuine feel to the angst and gloom-doom outlook than many paint-by-number bands. The recent sophomore release, 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage (Interscope), rolls along nicely on the tracks with few derailments. Sunday, Tremont Music Hall. -- SS

Dave Matthews Band So, Dave had his new album, Everyday, produced and co-written by Alanis Morissette svengali Glen Ballard, who's also worked his (black?) magic on Aerosmith, among others. How is it? The results are mixed. Songs are generally kept to the four-minute mark, and hooks and Ballard's famous high-gloss sheen are everywhere. Some songs do have more focus, however, and a little more power as a result. A three-star disc on the Rolling Stone scale if there ever was one, it'll undoubtedly please the radio masses, piss off the harder-core DMB fans, and provide some relatively good songs for Dave to riff off of in a live setting, which is always where he shines brightest anyway. Wednesday, May 2, Bi-Lo Center, Greenville, SC. -- TD

Alejandro Escovedo Fast becoming a favorite in these parts (and rightfully so), Escovedo is one of the few, count-on-your-hands-and-feet real music legends-in-waiting we have in the genre. Blending Tex-Mex with punk (check out Escovedo's incarnation in the Nuns) and adding in a healthy dose of wide open space, Escovedo's music is spare, beautiful and honest to the point of wincing -- you can tell some of the words he sings cut on their way out. He's touring in support of his fine new disc A Man Under The Influence. With the rather excellent old-school sturm and drang of Boston's Tarbox Ramblers. Saturday, Neighborhood Theatre. -- TD

Edwin McCain With apologies to his biggest hit to date, methinks I'd rather enjoy the convenience of my solitude. With the Gibb Droll Band. Thursday, Tremont Music Hall. -- TD

Peralta The Latin rock party known as Peralta is about to write a new chapter with their latest freshly released disc. This show is the CD release party for the 7-track self-titled new album. Check your local record stores for your own personal copy of the Jamie Hoover-produced disc and scurry on down to the lake for the tropical beats and toe-tapping rock & roll of Peralta. Saturday, Midtown Harborside, Lake Norman. -- SS

Paula Poundstone She's funny, she's insightful, she's hip -- at times a bit too self-consciously hip but hey, like we said, she is funny. Poundstone was part of the wave of comediennes who changed the world of standup comedy in the 80s, although she always seemed the least showbiz oriented of the bunch. Well, guess who's still standing? The lantern-jawed Poundstone. She goes beyond the usual relationships, sex & airlines jokes that have slowed the comedy business to a crawl by integrating her opinions on a variety of issues into her observational material. In the process, she's become a veritable institution, familiar yet always unpredictable, and a great break from the shrieky, loud-for-no-discernible-reason comedy of the moment. And, yes, she's funny as hell. Sunday, Performing Arts Center. -- John Grooms

Rank Outsiders Just about the best damned group in town. Years of experience haven't worn these guys down, it's just made them sharper and deeper -- not to mention strengthened their chops till they can move in just about any musical direction they want. They rock with abandon, they twang with soul and bite, they blues it up with the best of em, and throw in the occasional Patsy Cline-ish ballad. The only band in town that can go from straight-up country to Lou Reed's Sweet Jane without missing a beat. Friday, Comet Grill. -- Big Boy Peach

The Tender Idols Let's hear it for the Invasion. Frontman Ian Webber helps create an original Brit-pop sound built with plenty of ethereal bite and brilliant song writing. The stylish guitars and hip rhythm section of a killer band will finally jump out of the indie constraints and roll out on the rock star highway with the brilliant new album, Distressor (Emagine Music). Atlanta's Idols have always been intriguing, and now the masses are blessed with an American Brit-rock classic to call their own. Saturday, Mojo Spirits. -- SS

Tosco Music Party The spring gathering of this semi-annual event brings on the usual varied assortment of musicians and performers. Among those on board for this round of eclectic sounds are Tyrone Jefferson, James Brown's musical director, and his outfit, A Sign of the Times. This jam session also features, among many others, folk duo Kid Sister, blues duo Mama Ham, the reggae sounds of Dub Axxess and the steady rocking youngsters justincase. Saturday, Great Aunt Stella Center. -- SS

Train I read somewhere recently where it was said that Train puts a modern rock spin on the songs of someone like a Bread or America. Which isn't all bad, necessarily -- the songwriting is there, and while nothing new, it's reasonably well done as far as this kind of thing goes. Plus, their heart is in it. White Bread, maybe. With Five For Fighting. Monday, Tremont Music Hall. -- TD

Travis Allison Band This Roanoke-based quintet offers a nice blend of soulful acoustic pop/rock that's along the same lines as Edwin McCain, but a bit bluesier. They're currently playing about 200 shows a year, making them one of the hardest working regional acts around. The live shows are great, and it'll be good to see the band in a real music room, as opposed to the bar/restaurant gigs they were used to getting in these parts. Wednesday, May 2, Double Door. -- Lynn Farris

$2 Pistols Drawing inspiration from the source and skipping the middleman (read: 40s and 50s old school country), this (oft-times) seven-piece builds songs the right way: plenty of tasteful acoustic strumming, heavy doses of pedal steel, and the band's not-so-secret weapon, John Howie, the Ray Benson of Triangle-area country. Tuesday, Double Door. -- TD

Unknown Hinson If you could bottle the dark side of Charlotte, the side that's humorous and ironic and at home with puttin' their feet on the coffee table (which might be on the front porch), you'd have Unknown Hinson, the King of the Country and Western Troubadours and one of the most unique things Charlotte has to offer in any artistic endeavor. Hinson, nee Danny Baker, is not only perhaps the best showman in town, he's a guitarist with chops (of the guitar and mutton variety) to die for. With Phil Lee. Recommended. Friday, Double Door. -- TD

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