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Redeye The Sweet Science 

The jukebox is a minefield, my friends. And depending on how you fuse with it, your mindfield can end up offering the rest of a bar a map or a quagmire.When I was going through an overwrought period of my life, about six months ago, I played Sugar's "Changes," the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" and Radiohead's "High and Dry" countless times at the North Highland Pub. It was a Molotov cocktail of wounded pride.

But those dog(ged) days are behind me. While at the Highland Tap on Sat., April 16, enjoying a martini with my friend Catrinarina, I heard a back-to-back combo of some Jewel and Elton John's "Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues." It was killing the mood, so something had to be done. In the corner I saw a gleaming jukebox, and I knew I wanted to make friends with it.

Now, I love my iPod, but I'm of the mix-tape generation. Sometimes random just won't do. So I stepped to that jukebox like I was a lead singer taking the stage. I surveyed the crowd to gauge their mood.

For a warm-up I offered the Who's "Pure and Easy" and Bowie with Queen's "Under Pressure." I hit my stride with the Byrds' sardonically melodic "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better," however. I could hear some guys grinningly discussing Gram Parsons' influence on the Byrds and the greatness of the Flying Burrito Bros. Then, with Neil Young's "Cowgirl in the Sand" I really felt I'd hit the right note, so to speak. As the song's first bar rang out, I heard a yelp and saw one of my newly converted devotees cocking his arms up and striking an air guitar power chord like a zealous hunter caught in the recoil of a victorious snipe.

With that I wanted to lay my own invisible ax down and yell, "Good night, Detroit!" But instead Elvis left the building and returned to civilian life, just one in the throng of people spilling off the sidewalks of Virginia and Highland Avenues.

No matter who you are - whether blue collar or yuppie, mod or rocker - the corner of Virginia and Highland offers plenty of restaurants and bars to down beers with your buds: George's, Moe's and Joe's, Taco Mac or Everybody's Pizza, or the winers and diners of La Tavola and Murphy's, among others.

Danger! High Voltage News U.K. MC Dizzee Rascal at the Loft on Saturday turned out to be one of those scene-invigorating but sadly under-the-radar shows. As Sterling McGarvey from the AJC/LunarMagazine.com observed - when he wasn't matching Dizzee lyric for lyric with his fist pumping the air - the crowd of maybe a buck-fifty seemed one-half industry, one-fourth British and only one-fourth clued-in locals such as MidCity Cuisine's Shaun Doty. But some in the crowd were really feeling it. McGarvey's fellow journo Russ Marshalek said that the intense bass actually made him vomit. Grimy, for sure.

Of extra interest - the attendance of former Georgia resident Danger Mouse, who had been in Athens the previous night to DJ the Olivia Tremor Control reunion after-party. He filled CL in on his upcoming projects with local artists Cee-Lo and MF Doom, so look forward to more on this in the coming month.

- Tony WareKeep one RedEye open. And send all comments, questions, observations and invitations to redeye@creativeloafing.com.

I love my iPod, but I'm of the mix-tape generation. Sometimes random just won't do.

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