YES, PLEASE: Animal Weapon, Lindsey Buckingham, Regina Hexaphone, Actual Persons, Andrew Weathers, Haunter, Pipe, Flesh Wounds, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson
VS: Allman Brothers Band & Lynyrd Skynyrd vs. Chicago & The Doobie Brothers
INTRODUCING: The Human Eyes
08.01 ANIMAL WEAPON @ LOCAL 506
Patrick Cortes' previous direction as a singer-songwriter shows in the electronica of his new identity, Animal Weapon. Where some laptop artists create cool sounds for cool sounds' sake, Cortes' pieces are structured and directional. His Good Luck draws on his songwriting strengths as well as production, with airy, often gentle ambience wrapped around damaged guitar, synthetic lows and skittering, mid-tempo percussion. Sleepy, half-whispered vocals complete the chilly, though ultimately depressed, vibe. Even instrumental tracks like the intriguing "Flightpill" maintain a sort of dreamland narrative. Oneiric and Future Flutes open. $5/9 p.m.—Corbie Hill
08.02 LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM @ THE ARTSCENTER
Fleetwood Mac would not have become a legend without Lindsey Buckingham. The band's spark plug, he's an endlessly energetic guitarist with a uniquely tangled style. He fashions catchy hooks before subverting them with production that favors complexity over knee-jerk appeal. He's a singular talent, the chief reason that the work of three disparate pop songwriters became one of the most cohesive catalogs in rock history. His solo performances offer up these gifts in all their unmitigated glory. Acoustic odes spiral into reverb-drenched bliss, and full-band rockers rush forth with meticulous momentum. In short, be there, even if you're holding out for a 2013 Fleetwood Mac reunion. $46–$54/8:30 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence
08.02 REGINA HEXAPHONE, ACTUAL PERSONS @ THE PINHOOK
Since starting in a living room in the mid-'90s Regina Hexaphone has blossomed. Their warm, amiable pop comes built on a baseline of jangly riffs, likable keys, close harmonies and the occasional stomping beat. Songs range from hazy folk odes to tunes that crackle beneath punchy riffs and catchy hooks. Actual Persons Living or Dead pair meaty chord progressions and shambling beats beneath deadpan vocals, a welcome throwback to the dead-ahead menace of '90s indie rock. North Elementary bandleader John Harrison opens with his solo project, Jphono1. $5/9 p.m. —Ashley Melzer
08.04 ANDREW WEATHERS, HAUNTER @ NIGHTLIGHT
Modern composer, folk-drone improviser and Mills College post-grad Andrew Weathers has spent at least half his summer on tour, though the trip has been as much an adventure as anything: He's been camping in the desert and got separated from his tour mates overnight after a New York show, when his phone died. "No one knew where I was," he says. "They sent out an APB on every social media." The latest in his rotating cast of travelmates—Eric Perreault and Kyle Miller—will join Weathers on concertina and guitar, respectively, for what the Chapel Hill native says will be an evening of improvised folk and blues. With Haunter. $5/9:30 p.m.—Corbie Hill
08.04 PIPE, FLESH WOUNDS @ THE PINHOOK
The third show of Churchkey Records' First One's Free—a so far excellent monthly rock 'n' roll double-header—might be its best yet. At least it's the most forceful. Flesh Wounds bring familiar faces (Last Year's Men's Montgomery Morris, Future Kings of Nowhere's Dan Kinney and The Moaners' Laura King) and a familiar garage rock mania to the opening slot. Here, Memphis swagger swings with Detroit muscle. It's enough to stand even with this evening's bruising headliner, Pipe, whose burly punk traces a line from the Stooges to Drive Like Jehu, and whose shows are notorious hailstorms of punishing riffs and haphazardly thrown beer cans. Free/10 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
- Courtesy of the artist
- Ray Wylie Hubbard
08.06 RAY WYLIE HUBBARD @ BERKELEY CAFE
If the narrator Waylon Jennings voiced in Dukes of Hazzard had left Hollywood and spent the rest of his life in a dingy Texas bar reimagining the lives of his patrons, he could be Ray Wylie Hubbard. His bedraggled air is well earned, as he spent his youth in dissipation other than penning Jerry Jeff Walker's hit "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother." Since cleaning up in his 40s, he's honed an avuncular, observational manner fueled by wry resignation and coy wit. His gritty country-blues narratives have a driving insistence echoed in the lifestyles of his nomadic literary creations, who ride the knife's edge between survival and savoring each moment. $22–$25/8 p.m. —Chris Parker
08.07 MERLE HAGGARD, KRIS KRISTOFFERSON @ KOKA BOOTH AMPHITHEATRE
In 2010, Kris Kristofferson was part of a contingent of songwriters and performers who sang at a D.C. gala to honor the lifetime achievements of Merle Haggard. Haggard's honors are deserved, of course: The big-hearted bard of the hobo jungle, Haggard earned his legend status not only by helping define the existence of country music stardom but also helping to defy it, with surprising collaborations and the sense that he follows only his own direction in a genre dominated of late by industry puppets. Kristofferson, though, is worthy of a salute of his own. Although his acting credits are now perhaps more voluminous than his discography, he's written some of the finest, knottiest country songs ever. For evidence, see Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends, a collection of early demos that show his talents at their most humble and cosmic. $39.50–$59.50 7:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
TIME WARNER CABLE MUSIC PAVILION
ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND & LYNYRD SKYNYRD
From: South Georgia and North Florida
Since: Dawn of the '70s
Claim To Fame: Greasy Southern boogie blues and rock
In Neil Young's universe, these acts would be those that chose to fade away rather than burn out, the musical equivalent Morpheus' blue pill. During the '80s, these bands might have been a T-shirt badge of honor among the greasy-haired, weed-soaked back-of-the-bus set who weren't blasting Rush or AC/DC. The Allmans grounded Traffic's spacey blues in Southern roots sway, while Skynyrd wrote more directly, penning some of the '70s finest rockers—like breaded-and-fried Aerosmith. Skynyrd's latest return is little more than a money grab, but the revitalized Allmans with Warren Haynes are quite enjoyable. On SATURDAY, AUG. 4. $20–$85/7 p.m.
CHICAGO & THE DOOBIE BROTHERS
From: Illinois and California
Since: Dawn of the '70s
Claim To Fame: Sappy soft (or yacht) rock
Both of these bands began well before diving headlong into the province of sucking. The Doobie Brothers had meat on their bones prior to keyboardist/crooner Michael McDonald's arrival. A prog-symphonic rock act that wasn't as indulgent as Yes or stoned as the Moody Blues, Chicago was even better. Any rock edge had disappeared by their fifth album, replaced by a bland echo of their former selves. It's easy to forget how hugely successful Chicago were, and even easier to forget how good they used to be (and are again at times on 2006's Chicago XXX), but it's still awfully slick. The Southern hellraisers just offer more fun than these laid-back elevator types. Appropriate, then, that they'll close the weekend on Sunday night, rather than stoke the party. On SUNDAY, AUG. 5. $15–$145/7 p.m. —Chris Parker
08.03 THE HUMAN EYES @ NIGHTLIGHT
As a band name, Human Eyes can read not only as a pun on its homophonic verb but can also point to two opposing outlooks: First there's a feeling of hope, or finally knowing the world's wonders. Then there's the inverse, the notion that truly seeing the world means exposing yourself to its horrors.
Thomas Costello, the Chapel Hill songwriter behind the moniker, leans toward the latter explanation. "I used to cry every day when I thought of answers locked away and the need to fight from last to first," he sings on "Born to Die," a highlight from The Human Eyes' debut,Guiding Eyes for the Blind. "But now I see with human eyes that answers are just well-read lies."
Drifting from new wave bass and shoegaze riffs to reverb-soaked folk, the album's variety of styles comes unified by Costello's emotionally rich lyrics and comfortably fuzzy production, courtesy of local singer Ryan Gustafson.
"Ryan Gustafson and I play each other demos a lot, and at some point he offered to record a few of them and it turned into a record," Costello explains. "He wanted to learn more about recording, and I wanted to actually finish something."
The Human Eyes hit the Nightlight alongside Gustafson and Love Language frontman Stu McLamb for this debut. $5/9:30 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence
08.03 LOLLIPOPS @ THE PINHOOK
Iggy Cosky began recording songs at 14 and hasn't slowed down since. "Songs are just pouring out of my head," explains the young Raleigh resident, who says he tries to write a song each day. "At the end of the week, I'll take one and really try to bring it to life." Though he released an EP in January under his own name and quit the two bands in which he toured as a guitarist, Cosky's music career took on new life after an attempt to take his own. "My depression and mania pushed me over the edge," he says. After a four-week stay in April at a mental hospital, Cosky left with about 30 songs and a new name for his solo material.
Emphasizing short, infectious pop ditties, Lollipops—"sugary and sweet," he boasts—fit Cosky's new direction, influenced by far-flung idols from Fela Kuti to Billie Holiday.
Having met DiggUp Tapes' Nathan Price prior to his hospitalization, Cosky sent Price some tracks he'd recorded for Lollipops' Pop Narcotics EP. Cosky played all the instruments on the May release, so Price helped him assemble a live band. Cosky says he is already several tunes into his next release, Your Royal Masochist & The Love Crusades. Tonight, the live unit will pause to join White Laces and Blanko Basnet, the solo project of Hammer No More The Fingers' Joe Hall. The $7 show starts at 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith