Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys
"This is who we are--it's not costumes we put on," says Robert "Big Sandy" Williams of the vintage '50s look he and his band the Fly Rite Boys advocate. "It's a honest thing. This is sort of just the way we live." Though the music he plays is from a wild and wooly era, Williams uses restraint in his delivery, rocking it up enough to get people moving while also playing to those who like to understand the lyrics. --GB
We're Not the Tourists You're Looking For
Stone Center, UNC
One-man show by journalist Jesse Kalisher about traveling in the Middle East post-9/11. The free event starts at 7 p.m. in Cobb Theater at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History on the UNC campus. 962-9001.
Captured! By Robots
Get this: A ska scene veteran (Skankin' Pickle) decides that sound isn't for him, so he quits to build musical robots--essentially, player pianos bashing out rock 'n' roll on mechanical steroids. Something goes wrong, and they capture him, turning him into the "S" in some way weird S&M equation. He complies, writing topic-specific and often hilarious metal, backed and brutally commanded by three asshole bots, two hippie bots and the automated "Headless Horsemen."--GC
Some of the best young dance talent can be seen as Alvin Ailey's second company returns to Durham. Performances are Thursday and Friday night at 8 p.m. Visit www.carolinatheatre.org for details.
The Femm Nameless hail from NYC but exude the spirit of West African rhythms and Afrobeat music, and its forefather Fela Kuti. This all-female world music ensemble percolates the beats Nigerian style, so get ready to move. The show is part of ArtsCenter World Arts Festival, presented in partnership with Temple Ball. www.artscenterlive.org. 8 p.m. $14. --CT
Montas International Lounge
If you haven't checked out Montas in Durham yet, you owe it to yourself to get down to their weekly fiery salsa dance night, every Friday. Move yourself to the rhythms of real celebratory dance music, and become a regular. Tonight's theme is Echale Salsita Fall Jam. --CT
Call it a canned food drive in overdrive, with several local architectural firms offering up can sculptures and creations. The show starts at 2 p.m. The cans head to the Foodbank of N.C. at its conclusion. Hours and times are at www.exploris.org.
Common Woman Chorus
BTI Center for The Performing Arts
Through the use of narrative and music, this benefit for the Breast Cancer Resource Directory of N.C. hopes to drive home the point that coming together as one and seeing it on a personal level can fight this disease. With a total of 13 stories told through song and narrative, the Common Woman Chorus seeks to comfort those who have gone through breast cancer, and those who are now making the journey. 8 p.m.
Earlimart, Julie Doiron
Though they began toying with noisy guitar-based rock, Earlimart has mellowed with age, exchanging the post-punk for a resplendent folk that can reach from the wistfulness of Elliott Smith (to whose memory their latest album, Treble and Tremble, is dedicated) to the plush sound of Grandaddy. Former Eric's Trip singer/bassist Julie Doiron opens. --CP
A Tasteful affair
Carolina Club, UNC
For 14 years, A Tasteful Affair has brought together some of the area's best chefs for a night of food, drink and fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. Tickets are $45 per person or $100 for a patron's package. This year features 31 restaurants, caterers, wineries, breweries and coffee roasters, including: Biltmore Estate Winery; Bombay Grille; Carolina Brewery; Foster's Market, Il Palio; Pop's, A Durham Trattoria; and West End Wine Bar. The event is at the Carolina Club on the UNC Campus. For information, visit www.chapelhillrmh.net .
Jazz musicians and renowned solo artists Bob James, Larry Carlton, Nathan East and Harvey Mason form Fourplay--a kind of Harlem Globetrotters of contemporary jazz with a slick combination of gospel, R&B, rock, blues and classical styles. Tickets $34; show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Nashville Star-judging, Dixie Chick-marrying Charlie is the rowdier of the two music-making, Texas-based Robison brothers. Charlie likes to crank it up more than quiet-country-leaning Bruce, but both can spin a mean yarn. "They bought up half of Southern Texas/It's why they act the way they do/When them boys meet me in Laredo/They think they own Laredo too," offers Charlie on "New Year's Day" from his new Good Times. Watch him act like he owns the Lincoln stage for an hour or so on a Monday night. --RC
Pittsboro Memorial Library
Longtime Islam scholar and UNC-CH religious studies professor Carl Ernst's work to understand the roots of modern Islam has taken on an even greater importance. He'll talk about his new book, Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World, at 7 p.m.
Griffith Film Theater, Duke
She's been described as "Madonna of Americana," has an instantly recognizable style to listeners of NPR's This American Life, and, most recently, lent her unique voice to the making of The Incredibles. She's funny, witty and speaking for free at Duke at 8 p.m.
Whatever your feelings are on the commercialized nostalgia that rolls in with these Rastafarians, there's little doubt that this reggae party--replete with the hits, the bounce and the bassist (Aston "Familyman" Barrett) that still define the genre--is something to experience. --GC