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And the band played on

While students returned home for break, local music groups continued to entertain the masses: A review

Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 09:01

Although UNCG called it quits for a few winter weeks, the Triad area kept on keeping on while bringing tons of entertainment to us who call the Gate City home year-round.

Out of all the shows over winter break, the top contenders include a flavorful round from the Dotmatrix Project, a New Year’s pop-punk delight, and last but far from least, a two-day long festival honoring the birth of the King of Rock-n-Roll.

The Dotmatrix Project, a collective of musicians and artists who are working hard to put Greensboro’s music culture on the map, hosted a kickin’ show at the start of winter-break at the Green Burro featuring local punks acts like Queen Anne’s Revenge and the Leeves. Dotmatrix shows include fantastic acts from the Greensboro area, and are not to be missed.

A house show on Chapman Street rang in the New Year. Two of the last bands to play in 2008 were pop-punks Social Life, from Greensboro, and Averman of Virginia Beach. A Greensboro three-piece band called the Nondenoms, rocked it out as the ball dropped and we all ushered in 2009. The Nondenoms are always fast, fun, and should definitely be checked out. They were most recently featured on Sunday’s episode of the WUAG show Radio Greensboro, and their uber-catchy first release Persistent was part of YES! Weekly’s “Best of 2008.”

On January 9, 2009 Dave Quick hosted the two-day long 10th Annual Elvisfest in honor of Elvis Aaron Presley. Presley Elvisfest took place not too far down the road, in Chapel Hill, N.C. The rockabilly onslaught took over a Holiday Inn, featured the first ever “Miss Elvisfest” pageant, and showcased over 20 bands, each covering at least two Elvis songs.

The set-up was fairly ingenious, providing the three basic essentials for a good rockabilly festival: bands, booze, and a nearby bed. The two stages, “The Diner” and “The Point,” were erected in two rooms of Time-Out: a large sports bar adjacent to the fairly cheap Holiday Inn. A bar at each stage (and late-night menu) gave the place enough room to house the crowd while quenching its mighty thirst for PBR and fried food. As with any decent sports bar, the place was filled with dozens of televisions; all splashed with Elvis footage (well, except one playing the Panthers game, ouch.)

The spirit of the King was everywhere, especially in the always rowdy Matt Hill during the Buzzkillz’s set the second night. Hill preached to the crowd in a sweaty southern twang, and was sure to remind everyone that, “now ya’ll remember, Elvis was into the Gospel too.” But, that was before he began crawling over the bar, doing a chaotic pseudo-striptease, donning a robe for the last song, and shaking offstage. It was the kind of act that would usually be theatrical to the point of silly, except Matt Hill has more than enough chops to pull it off and a power-house of a band backing him.

The place was filled with all the hollers, yelps, and thumps from upright basses that should be heard. Greensboro rockabilly heroes, The Tremors, set a bopping’ tune for the first night, TCB ’56 took care of business, and everyone had a blast.

On the second night, Matt Walsh, a quintessential southern boy from Statesville played a bluesy set, while Kelley and the Cowboys belted out more countrified kind of tunes. The night musically wound down with the awesome uke-a-billy duo, Mad Tea Party. Mad Tea Party consists of Ami Worthen strumming wonderfully infectious ditties on a ukulele while Jason Krekel pounds drums with his feet and blasts a wallop of sound from a sweet Silvertone guitar.

Elvisfest was fun in the most wonderfully rowdy way. There were so many bands crammed into those two nights that seeing everything was more impossible than finishing my “to do over winter break” list. If this sounds like your kind of thing, check out Heavy Rebel Weekender which will run from July 4-6 in Winston-Salem, NC. For a more immediate dose of rockabilly, the Dotmatrix Project’s next show will feature The Tremors and The Buzzkillz on Jan. 29 at the Green Burro. They both rocked the house at Elvisfest, so don’t miss your chance to see them both practically in your backyard, and for free!

So a lot happened over the break, but fear not! There is plenty of things to do and shows to see. The next WAUG presents show will kick off this Friday with Greensboro-based Dawn Chorus opening for Fat Cat records’ David Karsten Daniels. Start this semester off right; support some local music, and above have some fun.

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