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In the clubs 

Flash back to Chapel Hill 25 years ago. It's Thursday night at the Cat's Cradle, then located where the Skylight Exchange currently resides. Like every Thursday at the Cradle, Chatham County's The Bluegrass Experience holds the stage, entertaining a packed house of folks liberally consuming beer and traditional bluegrass music. Who knows how many impressionable college students fell under the sway of bluegrass then and there? Look forward to Sunday at 3 p.m., when the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh hosts a free 30th anniversary concert by The Bluegrass Experience. While the Beane Brothers have gone to the great jam session in the sky, stalwarts Tommy Edwards, Snuffy Smith and Keith Thomas have welcomed former Blue Grass Boy Stan Brown (banjo) and Bass Mountain Boy Mike Aldridge (mandolin). Other area groups have achieved far more national fame, but the Bluegrass Experience remains the Triangle's best loved bluegrass ensemble. Call 715-5923 for details. --Art Menius

DiamondDiamondDiamondOur own eclectic popsters The Comas are on an East Coast tour with the Starlight Mints (pictured), a Norman, Okla. outfit that started life as a seven-piece orchestra, then pared down to a quintet. Like The Comas, the Mints implement strings, keyboards and odd effects, with nods to everything from wiggy '60s pop ("Sugar Blaster") to The Pixies to classic Bowie. Their See Thru Broadcasting disc, the dream that stuff was made of, is a baroquely beautiful pop statement delivered with a spirit of indie confidence and non-preciousness. Just like The Comas. Catch them Tuesday, Sept. 2, at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro. Call 967-9053 for details. --Angie Carlson

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