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Grand Champeen (opening for The Dynamite Brothers and John Vanderslice)

Yeah, I know it's kinda weird to spotlight an opening band, but Austin's Grand Champeen are worth getting to the club early for. Their disc, Battle Cry For Help, is a shout out to bands like The Replacements and early Soul Asylum (who they're constantly compared to). The rockin' quartet, who open for the likes of Spoon back in Tejas, deliver hard, punchy rock that literally leaps off the disc. Hearing frontman Channing Lewis tear up on track like "Nothin' on Me"--delivering screams that call to mind a young Paul Westerberg (think "Run It") is enough to make you want to chug a few Mickey's and gobble trucker speed. But Lewis can bring it down too (check out the lonesome twang of the pedal-steel driven "Sparks"). Incidentally, guitarist Michael Crow and drummer Ned Stewart did time in Chapel Hill before relocating to Austin. The Dynamite Brothers, last time I saw them, were doing a kind of heavy, '70s boogie thing. (John Vanderslice is reviewed on page 49). See it tonight, Feb. 27, at Kings Barcade. --Angie Carlson

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