Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Antiseen's co-founder/guitarist passes away

Joe Young, the co-founder and guitarist for Charlotte-based punk rock stalwart Antiseen, passed away of a heart attack Wednesday morning. Young was a fixture in the Charlotte music scene since the early `80s. He was not only Jeff Clayton's partner in punk rock mayhem for 30 years wielding that famous chainsaw guitar, he also hung out and sometimes worked at the Milestone during its early peak and could speak at length about legendary shows there. He worked at Repo Records and helped relaunch the store when it reopened in late 2013.

Most of all he was a hell of a good guy.

Antiseen had upcoming US tour dates booked this May. The group played it's last local show at Tremont Music Hall April 19 to introduce its new drummer.

I'll write more about Joe with input from those that knew him best in the next few days and post information on his memorial when available. Tomorrow the Thirsty Beaver Saloon will host a special Thursday edition of Punk Rock Wednesday where they'll play Joe's favorite LPs and some Antiseen tunes in his honor.

Young's death comes as a shock to the Charlotte music community and fans all over the world who have been posting condolences on Facebook. I always looked forward to speaking with Joe whether it was for an article on the Milestone's history or for one of Antiseen's anniversary shows or just chatting since Repo reopened. He was warm, friendly, and knowledgeable. I imagined my husband, who was coincidentally wearing his Antiseen t-shirt this morning when he took the kids to school, would look a lot like Joe when he got older. They both wore curly graying long hair and were often armed with guitars.

We both feel very fortunate to have known him, that I got to write about his band in depth many times, listen to his stories, and that my husband's band got to play with Antiseen at one of Tremont's anniversary shows. I'm also glad my kids got to meet the guy whose picture hangs over our dining room table along with his angry-looking band mates. He'll be staring down at us for years to come.

Joe will be greatly missed.

Update: A memorial service will be held at Tremont Music Hall May 18 at 3 p.m.

(Recent photo of Young and from Antiseen's early days courtesy of Jeff Clayton)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Miley Cyrus reschedules Charlotte show

Miley Cyrus, who canceled the April 7 stop of her Bangerz Tour at Time Warner Cable Arena due to illness minutes before doors were to open, has rescheduled the Charlotte concert. She'll return to TWC Arena August 6 during a nine-city tour. In addition to rescheduling all her recently canceled or postponed dates, she's added new shows in Pittsburgh and Chicago.

Tickets for the Charlotte show go on sale May 2 at 10 a.m. at, the arena box office, and Ticketmaster outlets. If you had tickets for April's show you'll need to get new ones. Tickets for the April concert were refunded and will not be valid on the new date.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

This week's hot concerts

Gillian Welch
Friday  8 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36t St., $30,
Arguably the most influential Americana artist of the last 20 years and last here in November with musical partner David Rawlings and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Welch returns on short notice for what should be a stunning “Evening With.”
Me Myself & I Festival 3
Saturday  8 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $6,
This mini-fest celebrates solo artistes with DIY minds. Russian-born/Tel Aviv-raised avant garde, synth-world-pop and visual artist Mary Ocher heads up a bill with North Elementary’s John Harrison as Jphono1, and NC’s Must Be the Wholy Ghost, Your Fuzzy Friends, Human Pippiarmstrong, and Brett Green.
Man or Astroman?
Saturday  9 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $13-$16,
After a successful run in the `90s the sci-fi surf punks with a soft spot for vintage film and TV, Moogs, theremins, and rip-roaring surf guitar disappeared from Earth (shortly after Y2K, coincidence?). It rockets back with its first album in 12 years - 2013’s “Defcon 5…4…3…2…1.”
Schoolboy Q    
Saturday  9 p.m., Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St., $25,
Thanks in part to guest spots with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Black Hippy co-hort Kendrick Lamar, the hard L.A. rapper’s major label debut, “Oxymoron” (which chronicles life as a Crip, drug dealer, and father) was one of the most anticipated of the year, debuting at No. 1 and making his tour an equally hot ticket.
Sleigh Bells
Tuesday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $27,
The harsh collision of abrasive beats, thick distortion, and girlish, ethereal vocals form a merry danceable marriage in this Brooklyn duo’s irresistible noise-pop. This marks its Charlotte debut. From what I hear, earplugs are advised.
Tuesday  8 p.m., Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St., $5-$7,
Although band leader Matt Drenik (who looks like a “Son of Anarchy”) became known for his stark folk contributions to FX’s “Sons,” his Portland band illustrates a crunchier, psychedelic-dipped, garage-pop sound that’s a bit more fun - still dynamic without the drama.
Wednesday  8 p.m., Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St., $25-$35,
The Italian blues guitarist and singer is a household name overseas where he’s sold 50 million records over 40 years. He teamed with Don Was in Havana to explore Latin, Cuban, Salsa, and Tex-Mex on his latest, “La Sesion Cubana” (its live version airs on PBS). Catch him stateside in a rare intimate setting (compared to European venues).
Against Me!
Thursday  7:30 p.m., Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St. $17-$20,
The punk band drew headlines for singer and founder Laura Jane Grace’s transition from male to female in 2012. The resulting album - the unbelievably catchy and compelling “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” - chronicles the relatable struggle for self-acceptance and need to feel comfortable in your own skin. It should be album of the year.
PJ Morton
Thursday  7:30 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $20-$25,
The Maroon 5 keyboardist moonlights as a Grammy winning (India Arie’s “Interested) solo singer-songwriter  making R&B and jazz, gospel, and hip-hop laced vintage soul in the spirit of artists like Stevie Wonder, who appears on his 2013 major label debut, “New Orleans.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Alan Jackson & several Carolinians kick off Merlefest Thursday

Alan Jackson, the Duhks and NC's Carolina Chocolate Drops, Doc Watson's longtime musical partner Jack Lawrence, and Darin & Brooke Aldridge are among the acts that kick off Merlefest Thursday on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro. Jackson, whose most recent release is "The Bluegrass Album," will be backed by a bevy of veteran pickers.

Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, Ricky Skaggs, and Holly Williams were added to a lineup that includes Dr. Ralph Stanley, Sam Bush, Steep Canyon Rangers, Scythian, Jim Lauderdale, Jerry Douglas, Darrell Scott, the Waybacks, Todd Snider, Tim O'Brien, Jim Avett, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Overmountain Men, the Kruger Brothers, Rory Block, the Claire Lynch Band, Dailey & Vincent with Jimmy Fortune, Red June, Shannon Whitworth, Junior Sisk, Roy Book Binder, Time Sawyer, WBT Briarhoppers, Richard Watson, and many others. The full lineup is here.

This year's Midnight Jam is hosted by Scythian and features Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line, Keller Williams, Peter Rowan, Frank Solivan and the Dirty Kitchen, Steep Canyon Rangers, Della Mae, Moore Brothers, the Steel Wheels, Donna the Buffalo, I Draw Slow, the Waybacks, Pete and Joan Wernick, the Deadly Gentlemen, Jim Lauderdale, SC Broadcasters, Mandolin Orange, Mark Newton and Steve Thomas, Town Mountain, and Lynda and Pattie.

Other anticipated collaborations include Ricky Skaggs and Jim Lauderdale joining Dr. Ralph Stanley, who recently announced his retirement from the road. Saturday will be his final Merlefest set. Keller Williams with play with Larry and Jenny Keel Saturday and the Traveling McCourys, respectively.

Hosted by Pete Wernick, Banjo-rama features esteemed five-string pickers Alison Brown, Ron McCoury, Teerry Baucom, Mark Johnson, Jens Krugers, and others backed by the McCourys and Bryan Sutton. Of course there will no doubt be several unscheduled guest appearances, and jams throughout the long weekend.

Tickets for the four-day folk, world, bluegrass, roots, and Americana gathering are still available. The festival runs through Sunday. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Matrimony premiers Charlotte-set live video

Charlotte's Matrimony releases its debut full-length album, "Montibello Memories," on Columbia Records May 6. Check out the video for "See the Light," which was filmed at Chop Shop in NoDa. You might even see yourself singing along in the crowd.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Benefit for homeless Saturday pits Beatles against Stones

The debate is classic. Beatles vs. Stones. Charlotte musicians will take on both tonight during a benefit concert for the Urban Ministry Center, which aids 500 to 600 homeless Charlotteans daily. The concert features Reeve Coobs, Toleman Randall, Yaddatu, Little District, and Dead End Parking as well as groups formed by students of Charlotte's School of Rock.

The eight acts will take on the Beatles and Stones in a battle of the bands at Double Door Inn Saturday. Tickets are $12 in advance and $16 at the door. All proceeds benefit Urban Ministry Center. The concert is presented by Poverty Is Real, a Decatur, GA-based organization that works with local charities through fundraising concerts to combat poverty.

In February the HousingFest to benefit Urban Ministry, which featured the Blind Boys of Alabama, was a sold out success.

As an avid music lover I'm sure my dad would have an opinion on the Beatles and the Stones debate. I'm not sure who he would choose. He was partial to later psychedelic Beatles where my mom was a teeny bopper when "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" came out and favored the early Fab Four. I mention my father, who died in 2003, because he could have very easily ended up homeless. Most of us think that homelessness is unlikely to happen to us. I certainly don't want to think I could lose my family or the roof over my head, but life isn't that predictable.

Thirteen years ago with the help of a social worker at the veteran's hospital in my hometown, I placed my father in a nursing home. I was 24. I had just moved from Arizona and was living with my boyfriend's mom in Charlotte while looking for work and a place of our own. My father, who'd been diagnosed with untreated diabetes, chronic depression, morbid obesity and serious heart problems (he had a heart attack on the same day as Jerry Garcia seven years before) had been hospitalized for months, but checked himself out of the hospital multiple times. He went home to a house with no power or phone (although he rarely kept a phone). He hadn't paid the lease on the house for a year. He was being evicted. This is the situation I walked into upon returning from the barren desert. I was given two weeks to find him a place to live and if he had not been a Vietnam era veteran, I am almost sure he would've ended up homeless. That's how easily it can happen.

I didn't want to put my father in a nursing home, mind you. But he was a stubborn, 400 lb. man on an endless stream of medications and his only options were that or my elderly grandparents who he didn't get along with and who were not in any shape to take care of him due to his size. I'd spent my first month back trying to dole out his medicine (it was confusing since the VA would send him home with a paper bag full of pill bottles with different instructions on them) and do his grocery shopping. He'd eat an entire box of Lean Pockets and balk at my tofu dishes ("I've never eaten anything that gets bigger when you chew it before," he complained).

I share this because my father wasn't any more likely to end up homeless than the next guy. My father was raised in the church by my devout grandmother. He had a degree in psychology and worked as a social worker, a psychologist, a hypnotist, sold coal mining and construction equipment and managed construction sites. He'd traveled to Italy and France when he was in the Navy and enjoyed culture, languages, art, poetry, and even math. He read philosophy and the classics and was a die-hard bluegrass fan. But circumstances, untreated illness, and bad judgment put him in a spot where he could have easily ended up homeless.

That's my point. When you consider contributing to a charity or not, remember that it could someday be you or someone you love in need.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Record store day celebrates happiest place on Earth

Disneyland may be considered the happiest place on Earth if you believe their advertising, but I realized recently that, for me at least, record stores may be the happiest place on Earth. Hence, Saturday April, 19 where lovers of vinyl records and the few mom and pop stores that house them celebrate Record Store Day.

Record Store Day has become a huge deal since its inception in 2008. Charlotte has three participating stores now according to the RSD website - Lunchbox, Repo. and the Wax Museum. Record Store Day is exclusively for independently owned stores, whereas Manifest is now owned by the same company as FYE.

So what's Record Store Day, anyway, you may wonder? It's the third Saturday in April designated to celebrate independently owned record stores with a slew of new releases on vinyl, cassette, and CD. The list is completely overwhelming with exclusive RSD releases, limited quantities, and releases that will be available at indie retailers for RSD first before making their way into chain stores and online retailers.

Go here for the full list of releases. They range from split 7 inch singles with well known bands like the Cure and Dinosaur Jr. playing the same song (in this case the Cure's "Just Like Heaven") to albums that were previously unavailable on vinyl like the Dresden Dolls' 2004 debut to special limited edition versions of albums in picture disc format or on exciting colored vinyl like Motorhead's latest "Aftershock" LP or Joan Jett's "Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth" on bubblegum pink vinyl, respectively. As you can see it's not just the young, hip kids getting in on this thing. Artists from all different genres on a variety of labels are putting out something.

Fans actually voted to have Doc Watson's 1966 album "Southbound" reissued on vinyl. Other more mainstream artists include NC's Eric Church, who is releasing his latest "Outsiders" on LP for RSD, and Kings of Leon, who pressed a yellow gold 7 inch single of "Wait For Me" in limited quantities for the event. Pop stars dig vinyl too. Katy Perry's "Prism" will be released as a picture disc and even One Direction has a 7 inch.

Despite my excitement over RSD, I've actually never gone inside a record store on record store day. On the first RSD in 2008 I drove all night from New York to try to make it to an RSD-related Steve Earle signing at Manifest. We didn't make it. Ever since then I've cruised passed Lunchbox Records on Central Ave. to scope out the line that leads to the street - a line I am not going to tackle with two small children. This year I'm going to try my favorite hometown store, Cheap Thrills, while visiting WV. My kids and I always stop in when we're in town anyway to browse the used vinyl and children's DVDs (a `80s Chipmunks movie has been on repeat ever since I picked it up last month). I'm hoping they'll have one of those Peanuts children's turntables, which Crosley is releasing for RSD. Lunchbox has already posted photos of theirs online, but I'm sure they'll be gone by the time I return.

I'm not sure what I'd be willing to stand in a line that long for (the line kind of takes the happiest place on Earth out of it) anyway, but R.E.M.'s "Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions" piqued my interest and I simply must hear Garbage's "Girls Talk" single with Brody Dalle. Ray Parker, Jr. clear 10 inch of "Ghostbusters" is also adorable for the kiddos and those with a big case of `80s nostalgia.

Like the Pixies "Indie Cindy" LP, those aforementioned releases will be available at other outlets as well later on. The logistics of the exclusives, limiteds, and the first releases is sort of mind boggling. Maybe that's why I normally stay away despite a love of record stores that was fostered when I spent four years working at Record Exchange at Cotswold and on East Blvd. Those were happy times and if I'd have known how collectible vinyl would become, I would've stocked up.

As a side note one of RSD's founders was actually my very first editor, Carrie Colliton, who edited The Record Exchange's "Music Monitor." Colliton set me up to interview Frente, Letters to Cleo's Kay Hanley, and Kristen Hersh and probably had more to do with my career path than she ever knew.

Music Factory's Friday Live! series reveals summer lineup

The annual Friday Live! concert series at NC Music Factory announced its lineup today. While the outdoor concert series has featured predominantly alt-rock hit makers from the `90s wth artists like Tonic and Soul Asylum filling up the calendar in previous years, this year's lineup features a more eclectic mix.

Live favorite Cowboy Mouth will kick off the series on May 9 with local reggae rock act Of Good Nature. Rising Knoxville roots rock combo the Dirty Guv'nahs will headline May 16. Cracker brings a bit of that `90s nostalgia back with its May 23 show with Charlotte stalwarts Simplified. Atlanta's Yacht Rock Review sends crowds back even farther in time to the late `70s and `80s on May 30 with its fully-committed, tongue-in-cheek take on hits by Christopher Cross, Hall & Oates, and other stars of the AM pop era. Ultralush opens that show.

The series celebrates the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania with Charlotte's Spongetones revisiting the Fab Four's greatest hits during its June 6 tribute. Another rising buzz band, Blackberry Smoke brings a change of pace with rocking Americana on June 13. The Chris Cook Band will open the show.

Veteran cover band Charity Case, which features Ace from Ace & TJ, heads up the June 20 bill while On the Border recreates the lush harmonies of the Don Henley, Glenn Frey and company with its impressive Eagles tribute closing out the series June 27 with opener Jive Mother Mary.

As always tickets are $5 in advance for each show. An eight show pass is available for $30 at The events kick off every Friday in May and June at 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This week's hot concerts

Friday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $26.50,
The Boston dance-pop duo enjoyed an early career bump with viral covers and its own YouTube hits, but it’s been a rocky road to release its debut full-length, “Pulses” (which “Rolling Stone,” who already put them on the cover, panned). With the record out it’s on the second leg of the PulsesTour.

L.A. Guns
Friday  8 p.m., Amos’, 1423 S. Tryon St., $14-$18,
With founder Tracii Guns’ competing version of the glam-metal veteran disbanded, singer Phil Lewis and drummer Steve Riley’s entry remains the last (L.A.) Gun standing. Since Lewis was the voice on the hit-filled “Cocked and Loaded,” most fans consider this the preferable win.

Bruce Springsteen & The E. Street Band
Saturday  7:30 p.m., Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St., $55.45-$141.56,
Fresh from his legendary band’s induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, the Boss returns for a likely marathon, off-the-cuff set that, while no doubt including favorites and material from his latest “High Hopes,” should also offer up some surprises like his cover of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive.”

Chick Corea
Saturday  8 p.m., Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., $19.50-$59.50,
From his early days playing forward thinking Latin funk with Return to Forever to more recent Grammy winning collaborations with Bela Fleck and John McLaughlin to children’s music, the jazz piano legend has proven he can do it all. His next project is a solo album tied to his current solo piano world tour.

Motel Glory
Saturday  9 p.m., The Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd., $5-$7,
This twangy local quartet puts the “rock” in Rock Hill with infectious, messy, raw toe-tappers that sound birthed in a garage that’s seen its share of Ramones and Replacements’ posters peeling off the walls, but with a distinct Southern country-punk streak.

Local Natives
Saturday  9 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $33,
Following its recent run opening for Kings of Leon and before getting wrapped up in festivals all summer, one of 2013’s biggest buzz bands and certainly one of Sirius/XMU’s most played, gets a stretch of headlining dates to further showcase its dreamy harmonies and psychedelic indie-pop. (If you're a dog lover, this video is super, by the way). 

Of Sinking Ships/Bask/Tusker 
Saturday  10 p.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $5,
Consider this a loose Hopesfall reunion with former guitarists/bassists Chad Waldrup and Mike Tyson piloting two acts. Ships is Waldrup’s instrumental trio - which strikes a balance between emo and Explosions in the Sky - with Tim Cossor (HRVRD) and Ethan Ricks (Matrimony), while Tyson provides bass for Winston-Salem’s boogieing hard-rock outfit Tusker.

Tuesday  8 p.m., Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave., $25-$28,
After years underground the veteran indie rapper has built a million dollar hip-hop empire on his own terms and given Jay-Z competition on the charts. Aside from star collabos and a roster that’s added dexterous emcees like Murs of late, he’s branded his Strange Music label as a go-to hub for quality like the artists supporting him on tour and his next album (out in May).

Wednesday  7:30 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $37.50,
On the trio’s new album “La Gargola” the Loeffler brothers and brother-in-law bassist Dean Bernardini tap Ministry’s early industrial metal and classic psychological horror films like “Rosemary’s Baby” for inspiration. The results are heavier, dark, and more metal than in the past. Middle Class Rut and Nothing More open the show.

The Coathangers
Wednesday  9 p.m., The Milestone, 3400 Tuckaseegee Rd., $10,
The Atlanta garage rock girls club carries the riot grrrl torch and like the Sleater-Kinneys that came two decades before them, the trio gets better, smarter, thematically heavier, more musical, and hookier with age without sacrificing the fun, party vibe of its shows. It's fourth album, "Suck My Shirt," was released in March.

Gardens & Villas/Tycho
Thursday  8 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $15-$17,  
The Santa Barbara quintet’s Facebook description labels its music “galactic fever,” but its electro dream pop cuts a swatch between `80s soundtrack, shoegazer, and Depeche Mode and modern indie rock that manages to cast moody shadows against blindingly sunny songs. San Francisco trio Tycho, who headlines, offers swimming guitars in futuristic atmospheres.

Spoon, St. Vincent, Mastodon head up Hopscotch Festival

Raleigh's Hopscotch Festival, which takes place September 4, 5 and 6, revealed its initial lineup today. The 5th Annual Hopscotch Festival will feature Spoon and St. Vincent as headliners Friday with progressive Atlanta metal outfit Mastodon, NC's hard rock masters Valient Thorr, and Detroit's reignited punk trio Death heading up Saturday's bill.

Other acts include San Francisco folk-rock act Sun Kil Moon (featuring Red House Painters' Mark Kozelek), a solo set from current psych-folk favorites Phosphorescent, stoner kings High on Fire, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore (who will play his own set and join other acts as the festival's Improviser-in-Residence), British producer Jamie XX, indie jazz pop quartet iiii, Brooklyn psychedelic dance duo Prince Rama, Canadian DJ and producer Lunice, buzzing garage rockers Diarrhea Planet, veteran space rocker Nik Turner's Hawkwind, experimental soul dance outfit Ava Luna, Canadian punks White Lung, Mississippi synth-soul guru Dent May, and the first appearance from former Ween frontman man Aaron Freeman's new band Freeman (pictured). Freeman includes members of the triangle's Lost in the Trees, Megafaun, and the Foreign Exchange.

Read the 115 act lineup here.

Hopscotch's lineup consists of almost half NC-based acts including Charlotte rapper Deniro Farrar, reunited Chapel Hill rockers the White Octave, Asheville garage rock combo Reigning Sound, Raleigh's Lonnie Walker (who'll open for St. Vincent and Spoon Friday), Raleigh roots rock favorites American Aquarium, and Raleigh rock trio Young Cardinals. Another round of acts will be announced at a later date. The schedule will be released in June.

I'm particularly interested in the appearance of Death, the subject of the compelling documentary produced by Charlotte filmmaker Jeff Howllet. The Hackney brothers' punk trio predated punk in the `70s, but its work was never widely heard. It was only years after brother David's death that their music went viral and was actually released. Given renewed interest in their music brothers Dennis and Bobby Hackney reformed the group with a new guitarist and have been playing sporadic gigs for the last couple of years and recently put out a new album.

VIP tickets and 3-day passes, which include entry into all the clubs hosting acts as well as both headlining shows in Raleigh's City Plaza, are currently available here . Individual tickets for the City Plaza shows will be made available soon for $40 per night.

Hopscotch takes place at a series of venues in and around downtown Raleigh. For more information check out

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Local summer camp teaches girls to rock

The year I turned 13, my parents got me an electric bass for my birthday. My dad's friend - who played bass in Charlie McCoy's band on "Hee Haw" - taught me  "Paradise City," "Summertime Rolls," and "Glamour Boys," but I was destined to rock alone.

There were no other girls in my junior high who were interested. I'd occasionally pick up some Iron Maiden or Cure from boyfriends, but I was never that comfortable playing with them (I didn't realize that aside from death metal riffs, they too knew very little).

I was always jealous of the Donnas and female bands like them who found each other at an early age. What I wouldn't have given for a group of female peers who wanted to rock too. That's what Girls Rock Charlotte is offering in the form of a week-long summer camp.

Girls Rock Charlotte takes place June 23-27 at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Girls ages 10 to 16 will receive musical instruction (no experience necessary), form bands, write songs, and end the week with a concert. Between rocking they'll attend workshops on songwriting, DIY crafts (who else is going to make that wicked merch display?), media literacy, yoga, body confidence, women leaders, and zine making.

I think something like this would have made a huge difference for me. Sure, I was surrounded by music from my father's bluegrass musician friends to my boyfriends' death metal bands, but to see someone like yourself who you can relate to providing an example helps you see yourself in that same role. While PJ Harvey and Siouxsie Sioux were fabulous, I couldn't really see myself in them. It wasn't until I met my roommate after college that I even knew another girl who wanted to play music. Maybe with something like Girls Rock, I would've begun playing with other people earlier. Charlotte is actually very lucky to have several talented young women fronting bands now.

But it's not just about a rock n' roll future. Forming bands and writing together is a way to learn teamwork and cooperation while building the confidence in your own creativity to get up on stage and perform. The additional workshops also aid in building self-confidence and creating, instead of simply consuming, art.

The week-long camp, which lasts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, is $325. Parents can register their kids and learn more about the program online here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

This week's hot concerts

Friday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., $19,
The Nashville duo is primed to blow up thanks to the infectious, electro-pop party single “Doses & Mimosas,” which simultaneously channels Timberlake’s soul, Kesha’s crassness, and edgy hip-hop attitude. Its debut album, “Year of the Caprese,” is due May 27 on Columbia Records. (Video contains some profanity). 

Amos Lee
Saturday  8 p.m., Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd., $49.90-$62.25,
The Philly singer-songwriter mines the South (he graduated from the University of SC) on “Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song” - which finds him shifting from raw near-bluegrass to classic country and radio-ready R&B ballads to all sorts of rootsy, atmospheric spots in between. That’s also reflected in recent live shows.

Desert Noises
Saturday  10 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $10-$12,
Utah's latest buzz band recently wrapped a slew of SXSW appearances that garnered praise from outlets like NPR. The hard working road band's buzz continues to build with the late March release of its latest album "27 Ways" - think a heavier (at times) Band of Horses with a keen sense of harmony and hooks.

Holly Golightly/Dexter Romweber Duo
Saturday  10 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $10,
Given their separate histories with tastemaker Jack White - she appeared on the White Stripes’ “Elephant” while White has namedropped the NC guitarist and his old band Flat Duo Jets for years - it’s about time the Brit-garage rocker turned rural Georgia transplant joined the revered rockabilly vets. The latter duo celebrates the new disc “Images 13.”

Ben Taylor
Tuesday  8 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $18-$20,
The handsomely scruffy singer-songwriter son of James Taylor and Carly Simon makes gentle, quiet folk-pop with a voice and delivery similar to his dad’s, but infuses it with his own humor and perspective. He’ll reveal new music from an upcoming album tentatively scheduled for August release.

Ben Sollee
Wednesday  7:30 p.m., Stage Door Theater, 130 N. Tryon St., $15,
From Ditch the Van bicycle tours to donating his performance guarantee to a WV community ravaged by fire to scoring a Charlotte ballet, the singer-songwriter and cellist makes stirring music that reflects the beauty and thoughtfulness evident in his everyday life.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Wednesday  9 p.m., Visulite, 1615 Elizabeth Ave., $16-$18,
Charlotte’s being treated to classic New Orleans’ brass for the second month in a row with another French Quarter institution’s return as the be-bop and funk-infused, 36-year-old DDBB, who - like neighbors the Preservation Hall Jazz Band - has spent recent years enjoying an ultra-cool resurgence and working with hip artists from disparate genres.

Thursday  9 p.m., Chop Shop, 399 E. 35th St., $15,
The 23-year-old electro-funk, sax-slinging producer (aka Grant Kwiecinski) spikes his original modern soul tracks and remixes (like his recent retooling of Lettuce’s “Slipping into Darkness”) with old school funk, jazz, and hip-hop for a fresh and exciting sounds that mines the best of old and new.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Former CLT rapper releases sunny new video

Former Charlotte resident Supastition - who moved to Atlanta in November - released a new video Tuesday. "Nothing Like It" is from the emcee's great "Honest Living EP." It's a sunny ode to doing well and things, in turn, going well. It's such a positive piece.

The track is refreshing with a simple, old school quality. It's also PG-enough for this adorable baby (and man, what a cute baby).

Can this please be the direction hip-hop is heading? That goes for Supastition's entire EP, which was inspired by his experience struggling to find a day job in his native-NC - hence the move to ATL.

You can read more about "Honest Living" here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

You can take the girl out of WV...

Charlotte strikes me as a city that's welcoming to outsiders. Maybe that's why you meet so many transplants. My home state of West Virginia, on the other hand - while not necessarily unwelcoming - is rather suspicious of outsiders. Although I haven't lived there (aside from nine months while attending dog grooming school - yeah, you read that right - after college) in almost 20 years, that suspicion comes almost naturally to us.

That's why when I got a press release about Perez Hilton crowning NJ/NY songwriter/producer Skrizzly Adams as an artist to watch based on his lyric video for a tracked called "West Virginia," my WV meter spiked. I wasn't expecting John Denver. Hilton labels Adams' music "Bropop," which sounds like a recipe for frat boy mangling of hip-hop and country, but to my relief "West Virginia" is actually really good. It's more of a love song that doesn't really relate to the state or our reputation as the "most depressing state in the US" according to a recent ranking (which explains a lot about my high school years, actually). Adams' "West Virginia" is quite lovely and doesn't fall into any of the traps a term like "Bropop" implies. Watch the lyric video for "West Virginia" above.

Usually when outsiders target our state (which I still view as mine) the results are something like MTV's "Buckwild" or the tragically successful documentaries about "The Wild, Wonderful Whites of WV." My father discovered "The Dancing Outlaw" on PBS long before Jesco was a hot commodity. Dad had a friend that worked at the local PBS affiliate nab him a VHS copy after it premiered as part of a series on interesting West Virginians in 1991. He showed it to everyone. I, at 15, was horrified at how WV was portrayed. I equate the suspicion of outsiders to being bullied or unpopular in school. You get made fun of with jokes about inbreeding enough, you're likely not going to expect much from folks that are making them.

I realize being suspicious of outsiders is antiquated, but it's something that's come up quite recently as my husband investigates mountaintop removal in WV for a paper he's working on for class. It's a touchy subject. While opponents of the practice have been more than willing to discuss it, he's had trouble getting miners who have worked in the industry to call him back despite my ties to the state. These are family members and friends of friends who won't even broach the controversial subject for what he is hoping will be a balanced piece.

Last weekend a friend from high school, who still lives there, and I spent almost six hours traveling back roads to photograph the ravaged sites where mountains have literally been blown up and mined for coal. Even worse than actually blowing up the land is the fact that this releases chemicals like arsenic and selenium into the streams where people in rural communities actually get their water. So in my county for instance, you have higher rates of cancer and birth defects than in areas without mountaintop removal sites. In one community in particular, six neighbors died of brain tumors. They ranged in age between 4 and 37. That is absolutely horrifying, but having left 20 years ago before mountaintop removal was common, I never knew much about it. When an anti-MTR group called Appalachian Voices approached us about it at Bonnaroo a few years ago, my initial reaction was suspicion although I signed up on their mailing list. Now I realize what a huge deal it is and one that my friends who live there seem pretty oblivious to because they reside in the city where the destruction isn't as apparent. Unless you're looking for these sites cruising through the mountains down I-77, you're not going to notice them.

This is much like the coal ash situation facing NC right now.

What this excursion into the backwoods of WV made me realize is that I'm the outsider now. My friend was nervous about the rough terrain her CRV was taking on on muddy, unpaved roads with snow from the night before still melting on the fringes and no guardrails ("I'm glad I got that Xanax refilled," she muttered at one point). I was worried about security trucks posted at mine entrances. I kept my long lens camera in my lap as we passed on the way to the top of Kayford Mountain where Keeper of the Mountains has created a park that overlooks the biggest, bald site we found.

We never encountered any trouble, but my knee-jerk reaction of Skrizzly Adams' song helps me understand the born-in suspicion many West Virginians have of outsiders as well as a reminder to keep my own mind open. It's funny. When I tell people where I'm from, I expect some sort of weird reaction, comments about how poor the state is or how uneducated. But people usually remark on how beautiful the state is - those lush, green mountains towering above you. That is certainly the impression I'd like people to keep.

Note: As I was scheduling this to post Saturday morning I realized today is my father's birthday. On what would be his 67th birthday it's fitting to write about his beloved home state, which he refused to leave - like so many WVians - despite the promise of better pay, better work, and a seemingly better life. I once worried about the environmental impact of spreading a portion of his ashes over the Greenbrier River. With all the pollution in the water there now, I realize that wasn't really a big deal. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

NC web series features live music, interviews

Tonight Western Carolina acoustic trio Red June is the featured artist on "The Lingua Musica Show" - a web series that features interviews and performances and tapes live before a studio audience at Arden, NC's Moonlight Mile studio.

While the Asheville area may be too far for most readers to travel, you can watch "Lingua Musica" on YouTube each month here. The tapings are invitation only since the space only holds about 50 people, but you can email to reserve a spot in the crowd for tonight (seats are still available) or for a future taping. It's free.

Friday Red June will discuss its upcoming album "Ancient Dreams" as well as perform new tunes. The album is out April 15. The next guest is Asheville songwriter Emily Easterly who'll perform Saturday, April 19.

"Lingua Musica" is the brainchild of host Joe Kendrick, a DJ at WNCW in Spindale who conducts the interviews (that's him interviewing Aaron Burdett in March). We profiled Kendrick, who has long conducted radio and web series to discuss different aspects of music and highlight particular artists - many of them regional. We profiled him in "The Observer" last February. You can read more about him here.

For more information on "Lingua Musica" click here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This week's hot concerts

The Teetotallers
Friday  8 p.m., Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Ave., $22.73,
Irish born fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist John Doyle (Solas, Joan Baez), with Lunasa’s Kevin Crawford (who was born in England, but lives in Ireland now) form this all-star collective that hones in on the Clare County sound during one of the busy group’s rare US tours.

Chris Knight
Friday  9 p.m., Puckett’s, 2740 W. Sugar Creek Rd., $20,
The critically acclaimed, but commercially underrated singer-songwriter’s latest album “Little Victories” (a Top 10 favorite among “No Depression” readers in 2012), may still be too left of Nashville to score a major radio hit. But with literary skill and a knowing, blue collar delivery, Knight could charm the most mainstream country fan along with the Americana base.

Baby Baby
Friday  10 p.m., Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St., $5,
This Atlanta foursome celebrates the release of its debut album, “Big Boy Baller Club,” which was released this week. The group was formed in 2009 as an alternative to the city’s self-serious hip-hop, indie, and hardcore and comes off like a modern Beastie Boys-meets-Bad Brains - guitar punks with dance elements, catchy choruses and a sense of humor.

Debby Boone
Friday and Saturday  8 p.m., Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., $26.50-$65.50,
She lit up radio and created an even softer side for AM pop in the late `70s with “You Light Up My Life,” but the 57-year-old Grammy winning singer plays up sass and fun on her “Swing This” tour - a tribute to `60s Vegas when her dad was headlining the Sands and Sahara.

Pierre Bensusan
Sunday  8 p.m., Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St., $20-$22,
World music loving critics and guitar geeks trip over themselves describing the technical prowess and emotional heft of the virtuoso fingerstyle guitarist’s live shows. The Frenchman celebrates a 40 year career with a three disc set and magazine covers all over Europe where such an intimate, one-night show is rare (so take advantage).

Miley Cyrus
Monday  7 p.m., Time Warner Cable Arena, 333 E. Trade St., $27.75-$106.95,
If you’re interested in pure spectacle, the former Hannah Montana’s got your number riding flying hot dogs and sliding down a giant tongue. While that’s certainly an attraction, luckily the scantily clad Disney grad can actually belt it out with the best of them. With Icona Pop.

Juicy J
Monday  8 p.m., The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory, $37.50, 
The Oscar winner is enjoying a hot solo career 23 years after co-founding Three 6 Mafia at age 16 thanks to work with younger rappers Wiz Khalifa and the Weeknd on his “Stay Trippy” album and a new pop fanbase courtesy of his spot on Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse.” He’s back with his fourth solo album on the “Never Sober” Tour.

Onward Etc.
Tuesday  8:30 p.m., Tremont, 400 W. Tremont Ave., $8-$10,
If you dig fiddle and banjo-infused beer-raising sing-alongs in the vein of Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys, but with equal footing in gravelly-voiced, rural singer-songwriter folk and the hard charging punk of Social Distortion, this migrant unit may be for you.

Todd Rundgren
Wednesday  8 p.m., Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St., $37,
“An Unpredictable Evening With…” is exactly what you get with the eccentric, adventurous classic psych-rock and AM pop legend who in recent months has covered Rebecca Black, Robert Johnson, Daft Punk and the Miracles as well as his own more predictable Utopia. But you never know if he’ll actually play his own biggest hit “Hello It’s Me.”