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by INLANDER & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & O & lt;/span & f all the nu metal groups of the mid- to late '90s, AARON LEWIS' Staind was, by far, the most in touch with its feelings. That's a dangerous label among bands whose salve for all troubled childhoods and daddy issues was to "break stuff." It paid off, though, garnering Lewis three Grammy noms and the undying love of every nu rock girlfriend in America, for whom Staind must've proven a short respite from hour after hour of the Deftones, Limp Biz, Korn and Disturbed.

And though being the most emotionally open of a group of seriously troubled rage rockers is like ruling the land of the blind, it's given Lewis a viable life after Staind. You certainly don't see Fred Durst or Jonathan Davis doing solo acoustic shows.

Ain't nothin' wrong with putting down the anger and picking up the heart. Look what it did for everlast.

There's a VIP ticket that promises autographed memorabilia, a meet and greet with Lew-lew.


Aaron Lewis at the Big Easy on Thursday, Aug. 2, at 8 pm. $30-$50. Visit or call 325-SEAT.

Forget that trendy YouTubery, kid. Mary Verner's GET OUT THE VOTE CONCERT at the Blvd. featuring Benjamin Gordon and High Ceiling is the hottest election ticket in town.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & V & lt;/span & erner has crafted this thing to jibe perfectly with her cool single mom image. Holding the thing at the Blvd. proves that Verner isn't above stumping to rock's young, drunken fans. Further, by going that far down the proverbial rabbit hole, it signals she's down with just about all other music fans as well. (Hip-hop has its own sphere, though, so we can't guess at how she'll play with the rap clique.)

Because Verner is easily the most liberal of the five mayoral candidates, her selection of Benjamin Gordon's surfy, scratchy-throated Everlast-meets-Jack-Johnson steez says, "Hey, I'm progressive! I'm hip! -- though not so hip as to, like, alienate your parents." It's an important message for Verner and Diddy couldn't have crafted it better.


Get Out the Vote concert featuring Ben Gordon and High Ceiling and the comely, estimable mayoral candidate Mary Verner at the Blvd., on Friday, Aug. 3, at 9 pm. $5. Call 624-3929.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & C & lt;/span & all the bomb squad, breezies, it's time, once again, for an ACOUSTIC EXPLOSION! I won't waste words, since the tag below is roughly a mile long, but here's the thing: It's one day, two stages, 26 acts and nine straight hours of nothing but acoustic guitarists plying their trade. Put on your sittin'-and-listenin' shoes, kids, it's going to be a sedate, thoughtful ride.


Acoustic Explosion featuring (front stage) Beth LaVelle, Kevin Morgan, Brannon Heftel, Nate Greenburg, Dustin Sandlin, Matt Russell, Kori Henderson, Philip Gregory, JS Butcher, Nick Yost, Mordekye Layman, Matt Tansy, Jonathan Nicholson, Brandy Perry and Thomas Bechard, and (back stage) Joel Smith, Kristen Marlo, Matthew Winters, Sean Saugen, Ben Mancke, Melody Moore, Dave Hannon, Bridget Vogel, Josh Hedlund, Marshall McLean, and the Shook Twins, all at Empyrean on Saturday, Aug. 4, starting at 2 pm. $5; $7, at the door. Call 838-9819.
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