This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Raleigh writers; Dexter Romweber; Kid Rock; Warm, Safe & Sound Benefit; Cool John Ferguson; The Nein; Boys of the Lough
VS.: Dean & Britta vs. Anna Kramer & The Lost Cause
INTRODUCING: The Club is Open
LAST WEEK'S PARTY: Tetsuya Nakatani
SONG OF THE WEEK: Valet's "Fire"
02.21 RALEIGH WRITERS @ NIGHTLIGHT
Scott Phillips of The Monologue Bombs (and Goner) is calling this the Wake County Invasion. What a quiet war it will be, as three Raleigh writers take two songs at a time, then pass the microphone in round-robin form: Phillips plays piano and sings solo with The Bombs, detailing characters caught between remorse and redemption; David Mueller (who plays bass in Birds of Avalon) makes anxious psych with surreal and sinister layers as Heads on Sticks, a bit like Bevis Frond melting on that Skip Spence record; and Stuart McLamb takes a solo turn as The Love Language, bringing a shot of soul to his shout-with-me sprees. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
02.22 DEXTER ROMWEBER @ SADLACK'S
Is he of this planet? Does it matter when he rings sweet country-blues and rockabilly better than Quasimodo does the bells of Notre Dame? Romweber often performs as if possessed, but he constantly conjures such spidery runs with his lead guitar that jaws unhinge like furniture from China. Tonight, with drumming sister Sara at 7 p.m.—Chris Parker
02.22 KID ROCK @ RBC CENTER
Live sets by Kid Rock invariably stand up to two standards often regarded as mutually exclusive: Satisfy your audience, and enjoy and believe what you do nightly. Aside from perhaps Kenny Chesney, no modern performer under 40 with the ability to play an arena and draw a fair crowd understands and appreciates his audience better than Detroit's low-brow, self-aware Kid Rock. Half-nude dancers wrapped around poles? Pyrotechnics? Ballads? Rockers? Solos? The word "fuck" a lot? "Bawitdaba"? People that came to see exactly that? A guy who still looks like he's having a good time? Yes, please. $25-$45/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin
2.22 WARM, SAFE & SOUND BENEFIT @ THE POUR HOUSE
Of the many things the Raleigh Rescue Mission provides the homeless, the most important gift is the warmth of human kindness. Tonight's benefit capitalizes on that idea with some heat from a few area bands donating their time and sounds to the cause: There's Love Language's shimmering art-soul-pop, Puritan Rodeo's Southern-tuned alt.country, and Beggars Caravan's jammy stomp. Bring a coat or sweater and get a $10 ticket for $5 at 10 p.m. —Kathy Justice
02.23 COOL JOHN FERGUSON @ BLUE BAYOU
A great Triangle natural resource who now calls Beaufort, S.C., home, Ferguson's blues guitar cuts like a new kitchen utensil, julianning all shapes of gospel, soul, electric blues, funk and rock. His style is an indulgence of the senses, even as he proves the chilly pallor of his nickname with effortless, yet engrossing stage presence. 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
02.23 THE NEIN @ RESERVOIR
The Nein's Luxury was one of the best albums released in the Triangle last year, a vivid double-post-punk reconstruction that thrived on structural misdirection and unexpected layers. Harsh electronics met consonant guitars, and carefully cut songs came slashed with unexpected layers. But the band's touring behind the fantastic record was limited, and, by now, it's been some eight months since The Nein has played a Triangle stage. The band returns tonight in rare three-piece form—"no samplers, keyboards or noisemakers. Just power-trio style with a lot of new songs," says frontman Finn Cohen. Impossible Arms, featuring Mike Meyerson of Mowing Lawns, opens. Free/10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
02.24 BOYS OF THE LOUGH @ THE ARTSCENTER
For the second year in a row, the Celtic Concert Series comes tucked neatly into the middle of the American Roots Series. The bands highlighted here traffic in traditional sounds from the British Isles, sometimes played with a twist or delivered straight. The Boys of the Lough are proudly in that latter camp, with no amped-up rock rhythms or tape loops cluttering their Scottish and Irish tunes. When music this lovely and lovingly arranged by virtuoso musicians for whom every run on the fiddle and every sigh on the button accordion is a salute to their homeland, it's enough to make your heart race naturally. $25/ 7 p.m. —Rick Cornell
Tuesday, Feb. 26
DEAN & BRITTA
From: New York, N.Y.
Since: 2003 (and Luna)
Claim to fame: Two totally sexy people
The Dean & Britta ticket offers plenty of dreamy, lilting textures, similar to those Dean Wareham fashioned with Galaxie 500 and Luna. The duo's latest, Back Numbers, has the somnambulant drift of snowy Swedish pop, juiced with a jazzy cocktail. Like everything he's done, there are echoes of the Velvets, with Britta adding a '60s bubblegum pop flair sure to charm the septuagenarians. A little low on energy, Wareham's music's never had much of a pulse. Sure, this pretty couple has the look, but will Britta's icy Nico-ish demeanor rate outside '90s alt-rock refugees looking for an easy, risk-free evening in the rock club? It shouldn't. With Keren Ann at CAT'S CRADLE. $15-$18/ 8:45 p.m.
ANNA KRAMER & THE LOST CAUSE
From: Atlanta, Ga.
Claim to fame: A revolving rhythm section
Talented upstart Anna Kramer disguises her lack of experience with a sassy vocal strut, stomping and gesticulating over the garage rumble of her mates. On her second album, The Rustic Contemporary Sounds of Anna Kramer & The Lost Cause, her palette's broad, ranging from farfisa-fueled bluegrass and hot-stepping samba to rockabilly rave-ups. She's backed here by The Selmanaires, who match Kramer's swagger on their new album, Air Salesman. What Kramer & the Selmanaires lack in songcraft is compensated with panache. Not as predictable as statesmanlike Dean & Britta, Kramer's contingent appeals more toward the adventurous and creative. With Spider Bags at LOCAL 506. 10 p.m. —Chris Parker
02.20 THE CLUB IS OPEN @ CAT'S CRADLE
Cat's Cradle is an institution among Triangle music venues: Bands from around the world come through the club, and people expect big-name bills in its corner of a brick Carrboro strip mall. But, with those international bands coming through to play the Cradle, the locals often get left off of the venerable stage. New concert series The Club is Open—which happens for the second time tonight—aims to fix that.
"The Cat's Cradle is just a great place to see music, and we have a really amazing music scene [in the Triangle]," says Jesse Moorefield, production manager and series founder. "It seemed to be a shame the Cradle was here and local bands weren't playing here."
Tonight's show features hooky indie rock from Can Joann, slacker-fun from The Longshoremen and weird excursions from Grappling Hook. Unfortunately, the music series isn't on a set schedule, so you'll have to recheck your calendar every month. Moorefield plans to make it worth waiting for with genre themed nights (from bluegrass to hip hop), big-name area acts, free admission and drink specials. In short, he wants it to be "a night just to go and see local music no matter what band it is." Tonight's show begins at 9 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey
LAST WEEK'S PARTY
02.15 TETSUYA NAKATANI @ MARSH
In his last two trips to Raleigh, Japan-via-Pennsylvania percussionist Tetsuya Nakatani played for a combined 20 people. Friday night, around 80 crowded into the second floor of Raleigh's Marsh Woodwinds to hear his solo set. The lot was as diverse—gray heads, Slim's regulars, Chapel Hill residents—as it was pleased. Combining imagination, precision and hyper-extended technique, Nakatani turns a minimal drumkit and accessories like string bows and prayer bowls into a microcosm of unexpected sound. By the end of his half-hour exploration, one got the sense he'd only started investigating the possibilities. —Grayson Currin