Friday, April 2
A round of word association with Richard Buckner's music as the subject might yield responses like intense, lean (and, interestingly enough, also burly), evocative, and ambitious. And if things were boiled down to the first song on his first album Bloomed, my response would be a resounding captivating. Within the first 20 seconds of "Blue and Wonder," I knew I had just made the acquaintance of an album that I'd be listening to for the rest of my days. Since then, Buckner has released an even starker affair (Devotion + Doubt), made the second best Son Volt record ever (Since), and adapted poet Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology (The Hill). Whatever Buckner chooses to do, he still has my attention. --Rick Cornell
Friday, April 2, 9:30 p.m.
As far as the very limited world of under-30 Raleigh acoustic music is concerned, it's hard to imagine two bands on the same bill with more disparate sounds than Ticonderoga and Kennebec. Ticonderoga, after all, is a trio of best friends who have equal parts in songwriting and arranging and alternate from drums to keyboards to guitars. They render a warm, headphone-type folk rife with surreal images and haunting reminiscences. Kennebec, though, delivers on another kind of warmth. Fronted by country soul singer Troy Smith and backed by an all-star, six-member band featuring Rob Watson and Christopher Thurston, Kennebec oozes perfectly laconic, slightly lilting pop songs that are as cool as the breeze of an early April evening. For information, visit www.bickettgallery.com. --Grayson Currin
$tinkworx with Sendex and Speculator
Friday, April 2, $5
The Nightlight in Chapel Hill recently rearranged their digs to create the best possible performance space, and it's paid off. This show of electronic dance bump-and-grind is a great reason to come see it for yourself if you haven't already. $tinkworx, Carolina's own electro-bangin' misfit, and owner of the acclaimed Down Low record label, will be producing the dirty beats, along with some great house music stylings of Sendex and Speculator. For more info, call 933-5550. --Chris Toenes
Friday, April 2
Kerpow! Kerblammo! It's Kerblocki!! North Carolinian-turned New Yorker-turned Carolinian again, Kerblocki is comprised of two MCs, MJ aka Urban Myth and JB aka The Chip. The duo and their guests Art Lord and the Self Portraits are putting on the show for Go!'s Mike Triplett, who is still ailing, but recovering. --Chris Scull
My Dear Ella, L in Japanese, Dr, Mindbenda
Friday, April 2
Admission is free to this release party for Bright Orange Tailspin, the latest CD by Chapel Hill's My Dear Ella
Anderson Airplane, Degrassi, Minutemen and Dwarves tribute bands
Saturday, April 3
In the spirit of the "Anybody but Bush" campaign, the folks at Axis of Change in Raleigh have another installment of their shows to raise money for getting W. out of office. This one coincides with the birthday, April 1st, of the late D. Boon, front man for the Minutemen. If ever there was a time to have a band like them back, and their "we jam econo" politics, it's now. For more info on how the Axis works, visit their Web site, at www.axis-of-change.org. --Chris Toenes
The Vivaldis, The Pink Slips
Saturday, April 3
On a train somewhere in Switzerland, an art student born in Chapel Hill but living in Raleigh and making left-field hip-hop with some friends meets a busy-body electronic musician born in New York but raised in Colombia only to find out they've both been thinking about starting some sort of "digital pop" band and that the latter is moving to the Triangle to go to school. This isn't make-believe, but it is the serendipitous chain of events that led to The Vivaldis--the duo of Jorge Alvarez and Hollin Norwood. They play with The Pink Slips, a tempting trio straight out of Chatham making infectious guitar pop. --Grayson Currin
Saturday, April 3, 10 p.m.
Are they a bluegrass band that rocks, or a rock band that plays bluegrass? "We don't pretend to be a bluegrass band of any sort, never have," says Acoustic Syndicate guitarist Steve McMurray. He blames cousin Bryon's banjo playing for the rock moniker. "If you gave Jimi Hendrix a banjo, that's probably what it would sound like." The band also sports a dummer as well as a Nashville bassist who favors jazz. "We do have an occasion to sort of go out into outer space a good bit," McMurray admits. "We have a lot of different colors." --Grant Britt
Sauce Boss Bill Wharton
Herb Young Community Center
April 3, 8 p.m.
He's the man Jimmy Buffett says he wishes he was. Sauce Boss Bill Wharton's schtick is that he cooks a pot of gumbo while playing blues guitar. Buffett, who found fame warbling about cheeseburgers and tequila, now adds gumbo to the list, hiring Wharton for his Margaritaville Cafes across the country and writing "I'll Play For Gumbo" for him. --Grant Britt