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Raleigh rhythms

Notes on the Raleigh music scene

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Killer/Keller ModeReko
If you can't get enough of the latest jam band craze or if you just like to dance your ass off, you need to be at The Lincoln Theatre on June 6. "Why?" you ask, as the Oakland Auditorium Dick's Pick moves silently from Disc One to Disc Two in your home stereo.

John Molo--famed percussionist for card-carrying jam pioneers The Grateful Dead, as well as Bruce Hornsby and Asleep at the Wheel--brings his band, ModeReko, to The Lincoln Theatre. The quintet has recently been working on its follow-up to 2001's eponymous debut, set for release sometime later this year on Raleigh's own Deep South Records.

And, as if you needed another reason to get out on a Friday night, heavy rumors are flying through Raleigh that guitar bandit Keller Williams will be on hand to jam with Molo & Co. during their entire set and during an intermission mini-set of his own. Remember, Williams' Tuesday night set at The Lincoln in November sold out, and ModeReko will likely draw a strong crowd. Get there early. Go home happy.

Real Raleigh Rock
If the jam circuit isn't your circus of choice, you may consider seeing The Bleeding Hearts, one of the hottest bands to make the Raleigh scene in a while (really, does Clay Aiken count?). Their clandestine gig at Slim's in early May managed to bring 250 people out on a Sunday night, and one of Raleigh's newest promoters, Mike Guin, admits he knew he had to bring the guys back to the Lincoln after their debut gig with Leadfoot last month. Fronted by Raleigh music veteran Sam Madison (Bloodmobile, Man Will Destroy Himself), the quartet built on Cheap Trick hooks and Ramones ferocity started practicing in early January, quickly eschewing a collection of tunes Madison had penned in high school for an updated set of songs that seemed to blossom out of nowhere.

"Once we started playing, I just started writing new songs again," laughs Madison. "Before I knew it, I had 15 new tunes ready to go." The band heads into the studio with bass man Dave Bartholomew (currently on tour with Caitlin Cary) in a few months to lay down work for a debut record. The Weather and The Loners--two bands quickly becoming the straight rockin', high-octane favorites of the Raleigh circuit--will open the show. Both bands can be heard on the first Pidgeon English compilation (along with The Greatest Hits and The Cherry Valence; you need to own this disc). The Weather--who saw their stage debut as a Cars' cover band at a Kings' Great Cover-up--plan to release their first album sometime in September. And in related news hot off the press, the fledgling Pidgeon English will release the debut Proof album in October of this year.

Yet another local label, Bifocal Media, will host a night of rock own June 6 at Kings. The Kickass (whose Death Metal is for Pussies hits stores June 17) will be on hand with Gold Circles, Des Ark and Witchcraft by a Picture.

Cary's ZZ Top Stop
If you thought you saw a "Sharp Dressed Man" with a mammoth beard and a polished tour bus pull behind Maximillian's in Cary late at night on May 9, your eyes weren't fooling you--none other than legendary ZZ Top axe-man Billy Gibbons was in the house. Gibbons and a posse of 12 dined on beef quesadillas, Thai lobster, Korean Steak and red wine until nearly 4 a.m. at the Cary restaurant following ZZ Top's recent gig at Alltel Pavilion. Gibbons picked up the entire tab, or at least what Maximillian's chef, ZZ Top fan and vintage-Stratocaster collector Michael Shiffer would allow him to pay. Among the guests was Gibbons' former girlfriend Gretchen Barber, owner of North American Publishing and a 19-year veteran of the famed Austin music circuit. Barber is a longtime friend of Gibbons, who used to stop by for "Tuesday night enchiladas" and mammoth jam sessions with like-minded blues/rock icons (and iconoclasts) Eric Johnson and brothers Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

"Billy was just telling us crazy stories all night, and he had us glued to our seat. You go thinking he's just going to be just a big rock star, but he's such an articulate, well-mannered business guy ... a real class act," Barber told The Independent. EndBlock

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