Dixie Classic Fair, Blind Tiger or Cat’s Cradle

by Ryan Snyder

You’re walking shoulder-to-shoulder through a sea of humanity, trudging along parallel to a nearly identical column moving in the opposite direction. There are vendors in every direction serving up provisions to satisfy any sweet, salty or spicy craving imaginable, while the Grateful Dead’s “Fire on the Mountain” floats off of a nearby stage.

No, you haven’t fallen into a time warp and into the Reading Festival. You’re at the Dixie Classic Fair ( on Saturday night and tribute band the Pranksters (www. are tearing through a fiery set of Dead classics as headliners of the Clock Tower Stage. If your tastes insist on something a little closer to the real deal, you may prefer to see Phil Lesh & Friends with the Allman Brothers Band the same day at Charlotte’s Verizon Amphitheatre. In any event, the Dixie classic is swinging through town again and this year’s Grandstand performance schedule includes country music star Mel McDaniel (, former “American Idol” contestants Bucky Covington ( and Mandisa (, and Contemporary-Christian singer Matthew West (, along with various junk cars smashing into each other. For a really good time, stick around the Clock Tower Stage on the second fair Saturday and check out the sweet, twangy sounds of honkytonkers the bo-stevens ( bostevens). All Grandstand and Clock Tower performances are free with admission.

Blind Tiger or Big Nasty? Don’t look now, but the Blind Tiger (www. is talkin’ junk about your mama. Hold on a second, those are just promos for this Friday’s Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band ( show. This eight-piece bass and percussion-driven force is a favorite of the festival crowd and combines the distinct elements of Latin, reggae and hip hop with generous helpings of good, old-fashioned funk. These recipients of Home Grown Music Network’s 2008 Band of the Year and Studio Album of the Year awards are still riding high from their debut release, Now You Know, and will be treating your funk deficiency promptly at 10 p.m. Only a limited quantity of the tickets ($12) will be made available, so don’t get shut out at the door. Can’t make it, but still need that Booty Band fix? Bring your dancing shoes to Greenville’s the Corner the following night. You can also check out YMBFBB’s John Heintz, John-Paul Miller and Derrick Johnson at Deerfield, NC’s Loki Music Festival ( on Oct. 10. They will be performing with colossal all-star funk collective and festival headliner the Big Ol’ Nasty Getdown featuring George Clinton (, a collaboration between some of the biggest names from New Orleans’ and Asheville’s music scenes and, well, P-Funk’s George Clinton. Tickets to this weekend-long throwdown are certain to sell out.

Cat’s Cradle has Old 97’s Feeling compelled to step out of town for a night, but still need to scratch that live music itch? Are you ready for that Great Atomic Power? Head on over to Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle ( and check out a little bit of something old with a little bit of something new. Alt-Country rockers Old 97’s ( will perform alongside of country music icon Charlie Louvin (www. Touring in support of their recent release, Blame It On Gravity, the 97’s borrowed their name from Johnny Cash’s “Wreck of the Old 97” and won’t hesitate to mix such solemn ballads with their own flavor of electric Americana. It’s easy to say that Louvin is opening for the 97’s based on billing alone, but anyone with a bit of insight into American music lore will know who a large part of that crowd are coming to see. As one half of the Louvin Brothers (deceased sibling Ira being the other), the roots of the alt-country genre practically sprang from Charlie’s forehead. Songs such as “Cash on the Barrelhead” are credited with being major influences to classic artists (Gram Parsons, the Byrds) and contemporaries (Wilco, Alex McManus, Elvis Costello) alike. Uncle Tupelo even recorded a cover of the timeless “Great Atomic Power.” Tickets are $18 and the doors open at 8 p.m.