Oct. 15, 2008 12:00

The Green Bean, Garage, and Greene Street

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The Green Bean in downtown Greensboro is a place pretty well known for great coffee and a relaxing vibe. But that goes out the window — the vibe anyway — this Friday night when Philadelphia’s the Death Set (www.thedeathset.com) turns the place on its head with its ultra-caffeinated brand of punk rock. They cite Minor Threat and Black Flag as major influences and it really comes through in their raucous live shows. Though they have been slapped with the occasionally lamentable “pop-punk” label, expect to hear something much closer to Henry Rollins than to Hawthorne Heights. Band leader, vocalist and guitarist Johnny Siera is a pint-sized dynamo with a maniacal stage persona and a taste for electronica that rears its head every so often.


The band has toured almost nonstop since 2005, when they formed as a two-man band in Gold Coast, Australia and moved their base to the rowdy Baltimore bar scene. They’ve since replaced their drum machine with actual human beings and their tours have taken them through Europe, Japan, Canada and seemingly every stinking dive and hole-in-the-wall bar in the US. The album to hear is the 2008 release Worldwide, their first full-length release after several EPs. The show is free and starts around 8 p.m., but you may want to get there early for this one. Just remember that no matter how the mood strikes you, flipping tables and chairs is wholly unacceptable. I’d still like to have a place to sit when I come in for my Saturday morning coffee.

The Garage welcomes Jeff Mosier

Attention Triad Phish phans: Obviously, you’re completely stoked about the recent news of your heroes’ impending reunion in the coming spring.

In the meantime, consider checking out the man who has been stated as having perhaps the biggest influence on Phish’s music as any guest performer in their history. The Rev. Jeff Mosier (not ordained, just a nickname) brings his band Blueground Undergrass (www.bluegroundundergrass.com) to the Garage (www.the-garage.ws) on Saturday for what promises to be a truly mind-blowing evening.

As a member of Aquarium Rescue Unit in the early ’90s, Mosier was instrumental in planting the seeds for the explosion of “jam” music that proliferated years later along with bandmates Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic) and Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band). Mosier describes BGUG’s sound as “psychedelic hick-hop,” which does a fairly good job of encompassing the pulverizing, highly energized mix of rock, bluegrass, jazz and trance that the band throws out. The lineup features virtuosos at every spot on the stage, but this is especially true of fiddle player Owen Saunders. Replacing revered fiddler David Blackmon who left in April for personal reasons, Saunders is highly respected on the four- and five-string fiddle and electric mandolin. The show is slated to start at 11 p.m., so you may want to get a nap in beforehand. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Steel Train at Greene Street

If you have ever had your heart broken by the ravishing Scarlet Johansson, then you have something in common with Jack Antonoff, lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for Steel Train (www.steeltrain.net). But let’s face it. You probably couldn’t come within 15 feet of her without receiving a permanent impression of her bodyguard’s pinky ring implanted into your forehead. Antonoff has since moved on to involvement with “Arrested Development” actress Alia Shawkat, but still enjoys getting in a few musical digs at his ex. You can hear those and a lot more Tuesday at the Greene Street Club when Steel Train performs with fellow indie-rockers Dear and the Headlights (www.dearandtheheadlights.com), Forgive Durden (www.forgivedurden.com) and Holy Ghost Tent Revival (www.myspace. com/hgtr). Though Steel Train currently exists on the emo and pop punk-heavy Drive Thru label, their predilection for improvisation makes it difficult to cast them in with artists of that distinction. Their sound lends itself heavily to classic rock of the late ’70s and early ’80s, with definite inflections of Billy Joel and Queen. Nevertheless, Steel Train is well known for exceptional live performances and share the bill with three other promising acts, particularly Holy Ghost Tent Revival. Doors for this one open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance and $12 on the day of the show.

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