What is it with the Triangle and premier African bands?

Slow ticket sales scratched what promised to be one of the major events of the fall–Benin’s Gangbe Brass Band, whose music is inspired by their native voudoun sounds as well as the lingering influence of west African music icon Fela Kuti.

The PineCone-sponsored show promised to be a highlight of the traditional music group’s move to bigger digs at the Progress Energy Center (formerly BTI) as well as PineCone’s intent to branch out into music traditions beyond the New World. This was truly a Best Bet. Now, it’s a missed opportunity. Underwriting anyone?

Prepare for battle
Now, this is one corporate takeover of music that might prove interesting. McKinney ad agency and the American Tobacco Campus are hosting a kickoff meeting for the first annual Triangle Battle of the Corporate Bands.

At the meeting scheduled for next Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. in Bay 7 of the ATC, interested companies will get a chance to find out about the event, register their bands and mill around with fellow corporate rockers. Beware though, McKinney’s own PANTS!–with their rock opera style–won top honors in Forbes magazine’s national corporate battle of the bands contest.

The big battle is planned for May 20 and will feature eight of the best in business rock. Proceeds will benefit the youth art programs at SeeSaw Studios.

Laff harp
Tom Scharpling, the host of The Best Show on WFMU, and Jon Wurster, Superchunk/Marah/Whiskeytown drummer, have moved away from their customary comedy formats of the airwaves and those little silver compact disc things (pick up Hippy Justice, the duo’s new double album) and into print with a new column, “(Not-So) Great Moments in Rock,” which debuts in the November issue of Harp, on news racks now. Look for the issue with Liz Phair (What? She has clothes on?) on the cover. Mark Kemp, the editor-in-chief of Charlotte’s Creative Loafing, also has a column in this issue, and Fred Mills’ interview with Sinead O’Connor is absolutely fascinating. To see Scharpling & Wurster’s column online, see www.harpmagazine.com. To see their list of the Top 10 unreleased covers Johnny Cash recorded with Rick Rubin, though, you’ll have to gander the print edition.