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Raleigh Rhythms 

Notes on the Raleigh music scene

Kings' Par-tays!
Lately, have you been sitting around all afternoon in your Sunday best after a hefty lunch of homegrown summer tomatoes and piping hot turnips (at momma's house), just biding your time until The Simpsons comes on? Then quick! Remove the clip-on tie, strap into your favorite rock 'n' roll rags and head down to Kings Barcade so you can start rocking every Sunday away with their newly incarnated Matinee Shows.

"When I moved back into Raleigh, there really weren't a lot of bands that I was into. I thought the scene was kind of stagnant," says Jeff Ware, who pitched the matinee idea to receptive Kings' owners after returning from California. "I hope we can bring some bands that may play smaller clubs elsewhere--or not play at all here--with this."

In that spirit, Mitch Easter's newest outfit, The Fiendish Minstrels, will play the first of the shows on Sept. 7. Shalini Chatterjee and Eric Marshall will join Easter on bass and drums, respectively; and, yes, they will play a handful of Let's Active numbers.

Velvet will also be on hand. Enon--whose highly anticipated "Hocus Pocus" hits shelves Sept. 9 on Touch and Go--plays Sept. 14 with Shesus and perhaps Proof. Zuexeuz--a largely instrumental one-man band out of Wilmington--plays the next Sunday, followed by the fresh-faced and ultimately melodic Grand Piano Falling. A note on Grand Piano Falling: After a discouraging Brewery gig, this may be their last in a while if things don't turn around quickly. These cats are worth seeing. Go. You can even make it back in time for "The Simpsons."

The Cherry Valence headed out on their third international tour of the year earlier this month for a three-week trek through Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Denmark. They return stateside after their Sept. 13 set at the Azkena Rock Festival in Victoria, Spain alongside Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Cracker, Jesse Malin and The Jayhawks (who open for Lucinda Williams at Disco Rodeo on Sept. 25). T.C.V. returns to Kings' Oct. 4 with the masterminds of moody, grievance-laden hip hop, Dalek (you should own "From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots").

The Weather plans to get down at Kings with a massive shindig on Sept. 19 as they prepare to release their full-length, eponymous debut on Sept. 30 through Pidgeon English. The band--a four-piece amalgamation of classic rock hooks, punk spirit and indie guitar shards--turned the two month home-recording process into a real community affair with locals from T.C.V.'s Brian Quast to Dragstrip Syndicate's Erik Sugg lending both equipment and time during the recording and mixing of the album. Keeping with the big-happy-family approach, The Weather plans not only to play all 11 songs from the record, but also to bring members of Jett Rink, The Greatest Hits, The Ready Set and--of course--The Cherry Valence on stage for a good part of the night. Wilmington's Summer Set will open, along with The What What (featuring Mickey from Utah! and Jon Yu formerly of The Applejuice Orchestra) in what is only their second set ever.

Lights Out!
The members of Chatham County Line--the four-piece Raleigh bluegrass outfit that has recently taken the town by storm, and even managed to shush a crowd during their opening slot at Tift Merritt's Lincoln Theatre performance two weeks ago, now have a story from New York City to share with their kids one day. After a stellar gig at The Iota in Arlington, Virginia (they partied the night away with ABC producer, Monika Konrad), they were set to head to a blackout-stricken Manhattan for another show with Merritt at the Mercury Lounge. After arriving in the city and checking into their hotel room (with no hot water), CCL was forced to cancel the gig, opting instead for a stroll around the city.

"It was great how the city just kind of came back up so quickly...there was no real crime and everybody was working together and trying to make the best of it," the band's John Teer told The Independent. "Some folks told us it was the only time they ever saw stars in the sky of the city!"

They had hoped to pursue a little "guerilla bluegrass" by playing in an all-acoustic, unplugged circle in Times Square, but those plans fell through as well. Instead, they settled for dinner at Mary's Fish Camp on 4th Street. Raleigh alumnus Ryan Adams showed up for a quick drink with girlfriend in tow, though he slipped out just before the guys had a chance to introduce themselves.

J5 (Hearts) LB
Zakir, one of the four word-rattling Jurassic-5 emcees that sent the Cat's Cradle into a frenzy earlier this month, mentioned Durham's highly touted hip-hop trio Little Brother as the favorite thing in his CD player at the moment.

"When it comes to hip-hop, that's the new shit I'm bumping," he said in an interview with The Independent Weekly hours before the show. "I ain't hooked up to nobody else's right now but that. Those cats are really reppin' North Carolina...Pooh, all of 'em...they're really hot," he said, beaming as he tapped a beat into a leather couch with a sole drum stick. "I really want to meet those guys."

9th Wonder, Little Brother's mastermind producer, did show up for the show, backing Chapel Hill's Kaze with his own remixes of Kaze's material during his opening set.

In the mean time, Little Brother leaves the Triangle on Sept. 22 to join up with the Hieroglyphics Full Circle Tour for 40 dates. With as fine a hip-hop record as has been made this year, a spot on MTV's "You Heard it Here First" and an opening slot for a handful of Cypress Hill dates under their belt already, 2003 continues to look magical for Big Pooh, Phonte and 9th Wonder. The tour pulls into the Cradle on Oct. 4, and the new Hieroglyphics LP hits stores three days later. EndBlock

You can e-mail Grayson at dgcurrin@unity.ncsu.edu or call him at 919-512-9815 with music news...or just to tell him he's pretty.

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