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upcoming shows you should check out

THOSE BOBBY AND WHITNEY JOKES AREN’T FUNNY ANYMORE

I had a great interview with New Edition lead vocalist Ralph Tresvant that was all set to run this week, that is until the unfortunate death of Whitney Houston dumped a bucket of ice water on its cheery subtext. It’s kind of hard to care about the mood of the band just before the first performance of their 30th anniversary tour in Louisville, Ky. when the day after, the person most closely affiliated with the group’s legacy passed tragically and unexpectedly. Bobby Brown broke down on stage the night of Whitney’s death and tributes are likely to become a regular part of this tour, but the show goes on as the band’s much delayed reunion has finally come to fruition. It’s ironic that around this time last year, New Edition was nothing but a trivia question that the Village Voice used to test the mettle of some of its favorite rock critics in which all were asked simply to name all six members of the group. The most commonly forgotten member? Ralph Tresvant, the real voice of the band, of course. New Edition will perform at the Greensboro Coliseum this Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $49.15.

MIKE FARRIS’S WHEEL STILL GOING ROUND

The life story of Mike Farris is almost begging to be scripted into a biopic with Kirk Cameron cast in the lead role. The former front man of Nashville hard-boogie band Screaming Cheetah Wheelies beat an early-age drug addiction that nearly killed him, formed one of the ‘90s hardest-hitting blues-rock bands and began a new life as a born-again in the early 2000s. Currently under the banner of his solo project Mike Farris & the Roseland Rhythm Revue, Farris’s transition has taken the shape of an amazingly powerful 10-piece backing band that possesses the inexorable energy of the Screaming Cheetah Wheelies — and Farris’s own massive voice — in a soulful gospel-rock package. They’ll come to the High Point Theatre this Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $25.

ERIC CHURCH IS SUDDENLY THE MAX SCHMELING OF COUNTRY MUSIC

First off, Eric Church was robbed. Not quite on the Chris Brown-over- El DeBarge level, but he was straight Grammy-jacked nonetheless. Lady Antebellum had a few good hooks on Need You Now and they got handsomely rewarded for it in 2010, but Own the Night, however, is about as aggressively vanilla as an album can be and the reviews reflected it. That it far outsold Church’s excellent Chief is its most redeeming quality, but Church’s Chief was a rarity in contemporary country in that it relished in taking risks. His lead single “Homeboy” presses cross-cultural sensitivity buttons while his ideas about melody and arrangement flip the bird to the country status quo. He also blew Toby Keith off the stage night after night during a recent supporting tour, though all eyes will be on the North Carolina native Church when he comes to the Greensboro Coliseum this Saturday as a headliner in his own right. Brantley Gilbert, who wrote a pair of hits for Church rival Jason Aldean, will open the show, which starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets start at $45.75.

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