Hamell on Trial
De La Luz
Brooklyn singer Hammel on Trial brings acidity to his acoustic songs, akin to the anti-folk movement to which he is often attached. Punk-informed ballads of world-weary characters dominate the shaved-headed, leather jacket-wearing troubadour's work. He's gained much exposure here and abroad through frequent touring alongside the likeminded Ani DiFranco. Durham's Wigg Report opens. 9 p.m./$10--Chris Toenes
Biddle Music Building, Duke
Ndodana, the artistic director of Ensemble Noir in Toronto, will give a talk at Duke on African composers entitled African Classics: A Survey of African Art Music Composers in the Post-Colonial Era. The event is free and starts at 4 p.m.
Eddie From Ohio
Named by drummer Eddie Hartness' girlfriend after fIREHOSE's eD FROM OHIO, folk rockers Eddie From Ohio have more in common with the Indigo Girls than fIREHOSE. The band's blend of folk, bluegrass, pop, calypso, jazz, rock and acoustic blues helped win them fans, but what has kept them coming back is the band's ability to poke fun at the sacred cows of folkdom with their quirky lyrics. 8 p.m./$14--Grant Britt
Microcosm/Macrocosm: The Global C20th
B.N. Duke Auditorium
Part two of Duke's exploration of 20th-century African-American composers starts with a piano recital featuring Duke's Anthony Kelley, N.C. Central's Malcolm Rector and Bongani Ndodana of the Ensemble Noir in Toronto, followed by a panel discussion on being a black composer in North America. The event is free and starts at 7 p.m.
Echoes of War
Nelson Music Room, Duke
Echoes is a multimedia program of songs, poetry, letters and visual images evoking war and its many ramifications, featuring soprano Terry Rhodes from UNC-Chapel Hill, mezzo soprano Ellen Williams from Meredith Collge, pianist Jane Hawkins of Duke and narrated by Meredith's John Creagh. The free event starts at 7 p.m.
His style is operatic, but Josh Groban says his voice hasn't matured enough yet to swap licks with the fat lady onstage. For now, Groban will be content to take home the Grammy for Best Pop Male Vocal Performance for "You Raise Me Up," an operatic anthem that owes more to one of Groban's early influences, Mandy Patinkin, than to Luciano Pavarotti. 8 p.m./$35-$65--Grant Britt
King Wilkie & the Duhks
Stewart Theatre, NCSU
If you're going to name your band after Bill Monroe's horse, you'd better be able to deliver the goods, bluegrassily speaking. Charlottesville, Va.'s King Wilkie came up with the traditional-sounding name because they "didn't want to end up being the Foggy River Boys Band or something--there's so many of those." "We just like the raw power of the old-time bluegrass stuff, the 'less is more' kind of attitude," says guitarist John McDonald. 8 p.m./$20, $8 students--Grant Britt
The Pour House
This afternoon teen show with the youthful Asphalt, Sebi de la Mata and We're Not Ghandi starts around 3 p.m. and costs a teen appealing zero dollars.
New Year Festival
Lighthouse Convention Center
Wednesday, Feb. 9 marks the official start of the Year of the Rooster (that's year 4702 on your Chinese calendars). But if you want to ring in the year right, you'll want to turn out Saturday for the Triangle Area Chinese American Society's New Year celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lighthouse Convention Center on Tryon Road. Visit www.rtpnet.org/nctacas for details.
Reynolds Theater, Duke
This weekend marks the world premiere of award-winning author Ariel Dorfman's play Purgatorio, a work he calls a "thematic sequel" to the Oliver Award-winning Death and the Maiden. The play, staged as a workshop production by director David Esbjornson, runs Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15.
Steel Pulse lead singer David Hinds sees his role in reggae as putting another dimension of black music on the map. The band has always strived to raise social consciousness through their music. Hinds says it is the duty of everyone to pay attention to politics, "because every life and soul that's born on this earth is a political maneuver for someone, at some stage." Their latest, African Holocaust, is nominated for a Grammy. 10 p.m./ $18--Grant Britt
General Store Cafe
No, this isn't some kind of new Chatham demolition derby, but a food, music and silent auction fundraiser for the fine folks at Chatham Animal Rescue and Education and their furry friends. A $10 donation gets you a burrito dinner, music by Matt Daniels and the chance to bid on pet portraits, autographed basketballs, pottery and other fine items. Starts at 6 p.m.
Listen to Rogue Wave, and Seattle comes to mind. Sonic cousins of The Shins, Modest Mouse and Death Cab, Rogue Wave is a Sub-Pop act helmed by Zach Rogue, a fella with an acoustic guitar and a magnetic voice (think Doug Martsch) made for indie rock of the crossover sort. Though Rogue Wave does hail from the west, it's apparent that they call the Bay Area home, as traces of summer-of-love smiles creep into these synth-augmented arrangements. --Grayson Currin
The Comas' new album, Conductor, presents a futuristic love story whose stainless steel sheen and cold perfection befits its Dark City-derived sci-fi feel. The music swoons, enveloping singer/guitarist Andrew Herod in loose, shambling ribbons of melody. Between the fluffy, laconic, dream pop textures and the snappy indie pop sensibility, the Brooklyn by-way-of Chapel Hill quartet combines the atmospheric appeal of Mojave 3 or Mazzy Star and the infectious catchiness of The Shins. The band's outfitted with acoustics for this show, which starts at 10 p.m. --Chris Parker