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Fall into Music

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
LAURYN HILL
From her pioneering work with The Fugees to her legendary turn as a solo artist to her continued presence on the cultural landscape as both an activist and artist, neo-soul legend Lauren Hill casts a long shadow over contemporary music. Hill joined The Fugees while still a teenager, helping the band evolve a new musical vernacular that connected the charged politics of early-nineties hip-hop to the syrupy sound of Stax Records. Her solo masterpiece The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill went further, brilliantly delving into the psychology of the systemically oppressed and giving full voice to her rebel heart. —Timothy Bracy

RED HAT AMPHITHEATER, RALEIGH
6 p.m., $71-$431, www.redhatamphitheater.com


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
SYLVAN ESSO & FRIENDS
Instead of hosting a run-of-the-mill release show for its second record, What Now, the Durham electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso is putting on a minifestival throwdown with friends tUnE-yArDs, Wye Oak, and Helado Negro. What Now, released in late April, is an exaggeration in production and lyrical play from Sylvan Esso's eponymous 2014 debut, and this particular performance is a homecoming for the band before it launches into a long stretch of touring across the globe. Singer Amelia Meath has said the album echoes the personal and political valences of last year, and listening to What Now is like listening to all of the anxieties orbiting around everyday life as they collide into one another. At Shakori, though, those anxieties should evaporate in favor of a very, very good time. —Katie Fernelius

SHAKORI HILLS, PITTSBORO
5:30 p.m., $50, www.catscradle.com


MONDAY, OCTOBER 2
KESHA
After five years and a very public legal battle with her former producer, Kesha has come out the other side with Rainbow, a perfect pop record with country and rock influences that is as triumphant to listen to as it is for the thirty-year-old star. Few people could pull off a fourteen-track album with guests like Eagles of Death Metal, the Dap-Kings Horns, and Dolly Parton, but Kesha has never been the type to back down from an adventurous collaboration. The humor we've come to know and love from Kesha is still there on songs like "Godzilla," but overall this is an intimate record about learning lessons and finding peace in personal devastation. —Annalise Domenighini

THE RITZ, RALEIGH
8 p.m., $55, www.ritzraleigh.com


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12
BRUNO MARS
With the death of Prince and the rise of producer-driven pop radio, it's tempting to declare the era of the multi-threat pop performer a thing of the past. Then one stops to consider Bruno Mars. The Hawaii-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist boasts intimidating chart-dominating capabilities and a seemingly endless capacity to make massive hits. His skills align with the tradition of the Purple One and Michael Jackson, but also with vaudeville, cabaret, Sun Records, and the Rat Pack. Sure enough, he's even an amazing dancer. —Elizabeth Bracy

PNC ARENA, RALEIGH
8 p.m., $198-$983, www.thepncarena.com


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19
OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW
Old Crow Medicine Show can credit much of its success to Bob Dylan, whose song fragment frontman Ketch Secor transformed into "Wagon Wheel," the band's inescapable breakthrough hit. Last year, the Nashville-based sextet demonstrated its reverence by covering Dylan's Blonde on Blonde in celebration of the record's fiftieth anniversary, and now takes the show on the road. Secor describes portraying the double album through "the many faces" of Dylan's career, and while Old Crow's interpretations often take interesting new directions, they're just as often influenced by the band's own proclivities, as when the bluesy "Pledging My Time" transforms into breakneck bluegrass. Outside of the band's signature tune, expect few originals during this two-set performance. —Spencer Griffith

MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM, RALEIGH
7:30 p.m., $33–$55, www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com


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