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Exactly a month after Spark Con--the new convocation of creative types in downtown Raleigh--ends, Troika Music Festival begins in Durham. Though both multi-day events utilize different formats and disparate definitions of creative inclusion, they are united by one goal: to encourage awareness and exposure of creative life in the Triangle. Now in its second year, Troika will do this with a horde of local bands and a select batch of national touring acts, most with local ties; but, in its debut, Spark Con will try to prove that the Triangle is "the creative hub of the South" by undermining considerable local talent while pantomining appreciation.

In fact, the first Spark Con music lineup is a failure: A look at the Triangle's creative life cannot be summed up or even hinted at with two nights at the Lincoln Theatre, especially if one is headlined by World Party, a Welsh band now on its second reunion trip around the globe. With proper promotion, World Party's opening acts--Tres Chicas, American Aquarium and Stratocruiser--are capable of hosting their own night at such a nebulous conference. Little Brother, luckily, was left alone to do this one the conference's second night. Fortunately, no one called Coolio.

But now, whatever Caitlin Cary & Co. manage to pull off on the Lincoln stage will be necessarily eclipsed by the better-left-behind circus that follows. Essentially, a (meddlesome) international band who last scored a Billboard single in 1993 is headlining above a group of local bands at a conference deigned to evince local ambition. And a Pixies documentary (essentially a SXSW leftover) constitues most of the festival's film programming. It's a drastic underestimation of what the Triangle is capable of doing, and an insult to the artists working here. But, unlike Troika, at least they remembered their hip hop.

Tickets for the Friday, Sept. 15 World Party show with American Aquarium, Tres Chicas and Stratocruiser are $14 in advance and $17 on the day of the show. Tickets for the Saturday, Sept. 16 show with Little Brother with L.E.G.A.C.Y., Joe Scudda, The Away Team, Jozeemo, Chaundon and Darien Brockington are the same price. Tickets can be purchased at loudQUIETloud: A Film About Pixies shows at Kings on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 3 and 8 p.m. For more, see

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