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Leo Kottke at CT, Monotonix and Beastie Boys

by Ryan Snyder

Play it, Leo! Acoustic master holds court at Carolina Theatre

One of the preeminent guitarists of our time will make his only North Carolina appearance of the year at the Carolina Theatre this Friday at 8 pm. Leo Kottke (www.leokottke.com) will be swinging through town with plans to blow a few minds along the way. But it’s going to be real quiet like, you see? To say that Kottke is a great guitar player may be one of the more egregious understatements you’ll ever hear. Stylistically, he spans the gaps between jazz, blues, folk and neo-classical, sometimes within the same song. While you may think, “Alright, another overly-technical virtuoso with a completely emotionless style,” you would be wrong. Kottke engages audiences like few others can. His compositions are funny, touching and occasionally bizarre stories and he sings in an unconventional baritone that he himself described as sounding like “geese farts on a muggy day.” I got the chance to see him once alongside Phish’s Mike Gordon and I remember my jaw dropped in amazement at his dexterity on the 12-string guitar, a very difficult instrument to play, much less master. Tickets are $22.50 for adults and $20.50 for students, seniors and military. A $1.50 restoration fee is added to the price of each ticket. Oh, and if you get the reference I made in the headline, then you just scored major cool points with me.

Banned in their hometown — sort of

Out-of-control Israeli rockers Monotonix (www.myspace.com/ monotonix) have a reputation for fostering dangerous environments at their shows, for better or for worse. So much so, in fact, that their sets have had the power shut off, cops have been called to break it up and the group has been banned outright from several premier venues in their hometown of Tel Aviv. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like it has the makings of a pretty good time to me. It must sound good to UNCG’s home station WUAG also, because they’ve booked the band to play a show at Square One on Oct. 28. The band will be joined by a couple of equally irascible bands from Athens, Ga: We Versus the Shark (www.myspace.com/weversustheshark) and Pegasus XL (www.myspace.com/ pegasuses). Both have a pretty eclectic sound, fusing post-punk, electronic and edgy experimentalism into their own unique brands of breakneck rock. It’s free to attend, as long as you can find the place, and the doors open at a time to be determined, but I’d wager that it’s going to be some time at night. It’s just supersecret, that’s all. Be on the lookout for black helicopters in the sky.

Get out of town for Get Out and Vote

It’s not often that I’ll dip outside of the Triad music candy jar in this space, but it is sort of a slow week musically and it seems like appropriate timing for this one. The Beastie Boys (www.beastieboys.com) added a last-minute North Carolina date to their tour of electoral swing states just a week before the election itself. They will be appearing at Amos’ Southend in Charlotte this Monday alongside Sheryl Crow (www.sherylcrow.com) and spacey electro-soul singer Santogold (www. myspace.com/santogold). It promises to be a very politically charged event, but those usually make for the best performances. Neither the Beasties nor Crow make any bones about their leanings, so red-staters may want to proceed with caution and take the show at face value. You can be certain that it will be a great show, nonetheless. The Beasties are always entertaining and surprise a lot of people seeing them live for the first time with their fantastic instrumental sets. The evening’s lineup also includes the ever-portentous promise of “special guests.” I’m holding out hope that they really will be someone special, rather than the musical version of the player-to-benamed-later. Tickets for the event are $35 and doors open at 6 p.m.

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