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MAP ROOM BATTLE CONCLUDES

After nearly three months of weekly competitions, The Map Room held the final event for their massive "Battle of the Bands" series on Tues. Aug. 22. The five finalists included piano-driven quintet Loud! Stereotypes (featuring Whitt Algar on keys and vocals), synth duo The Power Star (keyboardist/singers Adam Seven and Karaoke Chris), alt-rock five-piece Smoking The Ghost (featuring vocalist "Rhymin' Mike" Gruenloh and MacDaddy guitarist J.R. Getches), old-school metal act Virus, and mod-rock band At Last Glance. Judged by audience ballots and a panel of four "experts" (including yours truly, 98X's Amy Hutto, trivia queen Dagger Deb, and trustworthy regular Barry Varner), Smoking the Ghost took the first place. They play this week at Satchmo's (28 Isabella St.) on Wed. Aug. 30. Check out www.myspace.com/smokingtheghost for more.

TWANG FROM TEXAS!

Tickets are now on sale for an impressive Americana songwriters bill featuring Texas troubadour Lyle Lovett, Indiana song craftsman John Hiatt, Tex-Mex balladeer Joe Ely, and Texas folkie Guy Clark. The Songwriters Tour 2006 is scheduled to hit the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Fri. Jan. 26. Tickets should sell quickly! They're available for $49.50 (plus fees) at the Coliseum office, all Ticketmaster outlets (including select Publix stores), by phone at 554-6060, and online at www.ticketmaster.com. Check www.coliseumpac.com for more info.

'GRASS JAMS FROM COLORADO!

Rocky Mountain veteran newgrass ensemble String Cheese Incident recently announced their fall tour. Dates include an all-ages concert at the Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island on Sun. Oct. 8. The Cheese are on the road behind a new studio album titled One Step Closer. Opening acts include Peter Rowan and The Tony Rice Quartet. Tickets are available for $31.50 on the band's website (www.stringcheeseincident.com).

MORE LIVE MUSIC: FOLLY

Although it seems to be in a loose beginning stage, the newly-opened venue Taco Boy – located in the middle of all the Folly commotion at 15 Center St. – plans to feature live acoustic acts every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. until late. Call the venue at 588-9761 for details. –TBL

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