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Raleigh Rhythms 

Notes on the Raleigh music scene

Too Much Testosterone!

Boy oh boy, the crazy things men do at concerts. The free, by-invitation-only show last Thursday night at the Lincoln Theatre with Los Angeles-bred radio rockers The Exies was a testament to the hilarious things that happen when men, testosterone and beer meet for the evening.

Raleigh's own nu-metal emcees Squeezetoy opened the show, the second in a series of Budweiser 1 Night Stands sponsored by WBBB 96.1 and Budweiser.

"We're gonna try to tickle everyone's groin right now, so that at the end of the set we all have one big simultaneous orgasm," quipped Squeezetoy's Whitey-Ford-with-the-microphone J-Martin, three songs into the set.

J-Martin later took to the top of one of Lincoln's large stacks, giving the 3-year-old venue one of its inaugural crotch-grabbing speaker mounts. After rapping two verses high above the stage with hands shaking and voice wavering, the man in the backward hat jumped back to the stage, joining the ebullient Omotade for the chorus.

As if that wasn't enough excitement for a weeknight, Axel Young, a self-described "balls-to-the-wall, all-out-rock" fan sporting an outdated Axl Rose 'do, made his way onto the stage during The Exies frantic set not one, not two, but an impressive three times. He danced. He smiled. He even managed to hug frontman Scott Stevens twice. Of course, he was wrestled off the stage and thrown out during the encore.

Praise WBBB

Locally owned WBBB 96.1 has been one of the few local stations to take an actual interest in the Raleigh music scene during the past few years. Local and regional bands are beginning to receive substantial airplay, and the station is beginning to consistently bring outside talent into the market. Chris Grace, a potentially explosive rock act out of Manhattan, opened the show, and their debut single "Thorn" has entered regular rotation at 96.1. Grace--at the request of the station--will be a common player in the Raleigh club circuit in the coming months. They open for Oleander at Lincoln Theatre on April 15.

Jam-Bands

The Lincoln will play host to two consecutive nights of great jam this week. The Jazz Mandolin Project--a traditional bass, percussion and mandolin bluegrass outfit that performs in some of the most brilliantly non-traditional ways imaginable--performs on Thursday night. The band's latest effort Jungle Tango, a dense, masterful collection of jazz and bluegrass-induced psychedelic washes and crescendos, hit stores on March 25. Umphrey's McGee, one of the hottest jam bands ever to come out of the Midwest, plays two sets Friday night.

Make a Ruckus

It's time for March Madness, Ruckus-style. Ruckus Pizza, a pizza and beer dive by day and a hard rocking, cozy venue by night near N.C. State's campus, is hosting its first Battle of the Bands. The tournament, consisting of a 16-band bracket spanning genres from splintering cock-rock to local hip-hop to acoustic pop, began seven weeks ago. First round competition ended Thursday night. Second round competition begins on April 3 with Raleigh's own punk-ska fiends Flojo, and the championship showdown will be held at Ruckus on May 10. The competition is judged by a panel of local celebrities and radio personalities, as well as Ruckus co-owner Ryan Pilz. The winner will receive a band's dream: $1,000 courtesy of Budweiser, a Paul Reed Smith electric guitar and enough studio time with Bass Music of Garner for the production of a demo.

"We were looking for guys to come in with some great originals and strong covers, and we wanted to find bands that will be around here for a while and are playing music full-time," Pilz told The Independent. "A lot of places here have tried different battles of the bands, but I think this format has worked really well for us and the acts."

Visiting the Deep South

Raleigh's own Deep South Records is on the prowl again. Formed by music-lovers-turned-businessmen Andy Martin and Dave Rose in 1995, Deep South released three compilation CDs in short order. The sounds on those discs were so strong, in fact, that 19 of the 60 bands featured--from The Marvelous 3 to Athenaeum--went on to sign major-label deals. The label went on a brief hiatus in 1999, when Martin and Rose chose to focus on establishing a high-profile artist management company. Following their timely re-launch earlier this month, the label's fourth compilation, appropriately dubbed Deep 4, will be released later this year.

The label has already released Raleigh-based Waylandsphere's debut EP Salt Works Meditation, a disc packed so tightly with huge, Jimmy Smith organ flairs and pouncing drum work that it often threatens to burst at the seams. Waylandsphere headlines their CD-release party April 5 at The Pour House.

The John Molo-led jam collective Moderko plans to release their debut EP on Deep South this summer, and the Emma Gibbs Band will soon re-release its latest two records on the label.

Jazz Anew

Jazz Anew, a once regular dance party at the now musically defunct Humble Pie, will now make its home at Kings on the first Friday of every month. The first show--featuring DJs Archer, Guile, dj.exe and Nik Fidele--will happen April 4 in celebration of Saint Stupid's Day, an event that apparently began as a San Francisco parade dedicated to the celebration of the completely absurd.

From British Invasion to Noise Rock

Get ready to shake it like you used to as a British Invasion! pulls into Kings on April 5 to cover Gang of Four, Joy Division and the ilk. Classically trained, experimentally inclined guitar virtuoso and teacher Craig Hilton (who doubles as Kings' vanguard doorman) will spearhead a Festival of Noise at Kings on April 12. His band, appropriately dubbed CHilton (C for Craig, plus Hilton), will test the waters of avant-garde noise rock along with a handful of other local bands. EndBlock

Contact Grayson Currin with Raleigh music tidbits at dgcurrin@unity.ncsu.edu

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