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What a relief!

Another gathering of local musicians for a good cause

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Not only does the Triangle have more than its fair share of good musicians, but it's blessed with an abundance of good-hearted ones; I'm convinced that the area leads the nation in benefit shows per capita. The latest is the Benefit for Food and Medicine, an event with both an admirable five-band line-up that features a little something for everybody and the admirable goal of supporting two organizations that are in a position to help the people of Iraq deal with the aftermath of the war.

First, the causes: Whenever I start concluding that genuine compassion and humanity have gone the way of the dodo, I think of Doctors Without Borders, a private, nonprofit (and Nobel Prize-winning) organization dedicated to providing medical relief in areas devastated by armed conflict and other manmade disasters as well as natural disasters. (For more information, see www.doctorswithoutborders.org.) The evening's other beneficiary is the United Nation World Food Programs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And now the bands: In the pages of this very publication, North Elementary has been described as "beautifully brooding" and as "the Flaming Lips trying to make Grandaddy's The Sophtware Slump in 1989 instead of their own Telepathic Surgery." The Sames' well-crafted pop has earned them frequent best-kept-secret nominations, plus comparisons to the Feelies, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and, as dictated by the Indie Pop Act of 1992, Pavement. Lud, I assume, is still led by an exceptionally gifted and versatile pair of guitarists in Bryon Settle and Kirk Ross, with support provided by whatever other pair has rotated into the rhythm section slots. Patty Hurst Shifter is a smooth-humming guitar-rock Mustang with a rootsy undercoating courtesy of Chris Smith's twangy vocals and coffeehouse teeth-cutting. And Gerty makes giddy, hooky synth-pop, which in turn tends to make people think of the Cars and John Hughes movies in no particular order. The duo (members of Wilmington-based Eskimo Kiss' sneaky-good roster) possesses, among other fine qualities, the good sense to cover a Julian Cope tune.

It's a bill with an impressive scope--a breadth that comes close to matching the size of the Triangle music scene's heart. EndBlock

For more information, call 967-9053 or visit www.catscradle.com.

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