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Festival express 

Time to get together with a few thousand friends and listen to some good music

Cocoon season is over, and whether you're planning a trip to Merlefest, a drive out to Silk Hope, or waiting for something else to happen under that water tower in Durham, there is plenty going on to get you outside over the next month or so. There's also plenty happening indoors, including a whole lotta rock. Such as:

Spring Fling at Kings.
Oh, the signs of spring: shorts, T's, sandals, showers and blooms, chirps, proms, children, skirts, and amps cranked up until the knob twists off. That's right, Kings is offering a new take on this verdant season, replacing the doo-wop and slow-dancing of customary Spring Flings with the split snares, busted strings, popped eardrums and exploding amps bound to happen at the inaugural Kings Spring Fling April 22 and 23. The Triangle's dominant rock pantheon, Demonbeach Records, busts out its big guns for this Friday and Saturday double-header, from the straight ahead rawk-ousness of The Ghost of Rock to the instant appeal of its newest signing, Fake Swedish. Greg Barbera's appropriately named Chest Pains (see the June 16, 2004 Independent) makes its debut, and Dudegarden, The Young Idea, NYC's The Assault, Fashion Design, The Spinns, Chrome-Plated Apostles and The Jones stock the line-up of this two-day, shit-you-not rock revival. The shows start at 9 p.m. --Grayson Currin

Sparklefest at Local 506.
The prodigal returns this weekend when the sixth annual Sparklefest opens at the Local 506. It's where founder Mike Nicholson's three-day pop festival got its start, before a three-year detour to Raleigh. Spring is the right time for the snappy jangle pop, crunchy, super sugar riffs and melodiriffic sounds that characterize the bands of Sparklefest. Thursday, April 21 is a local night with the Beach Boys-meet-prog pop of The Nevers, new wave enthusiasts Velvet, literate singer/songwriter Dan Bryk, and Replacements-ish country-rockers Patty Hurst Shifter. The second night is highlighted by the "American Andy (XTC) Partridge," Parthenon Huxley, legendary guitarist Mitch Easter, Terry Anderson's good-time rock 'n' roll Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team, and The Breakup Society, the pop-smart project of ex-Frampton Brother Ed Masley. The final night includes Nicholson's own rumbling pop-rock outfit Stratocruiser, the Nick Lowe-inspired rootsy rock of Walter Clevenger & The Dairy Kings, show-stopping power pop trio The Shazam, and of course, the host and a talented pop musician in his own right, The Brady Bunch's "Cousin Oliver," Robbie Rist. More information at sparklefest.com. --Chris Parker

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