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Balfa Toujours features the wondrous singing of Christine Balfa, daughter of tradition-bearer Dewey Balfa, and the band's relentless Cajun sound. Balfa Toujours, now recording for Rounder, has earned recognition not just as one of the most important ensembles in Louisiana, but one of North America's strongest, most danceable musical outfits. Despite the youthful intensity, innovation and energy of their playing, Balfa Toujours remains close to the center of Louisiana French tradition. The Triangle Folk Music Society brings Balfa Toujours to the Cat's Cradle for an 8 p.m., Sept. 22 show. Tickets are $14 at the door; $12 in advance or for TFMS members. Call 968-9600 for details. --Art Menius

DiamondDiamondDiamondThe mightiest, least jokin'est, most supremely controlled of the muy bueno riff-heavy so-called stoner rock enclave, Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA, pictured) bring their sinuous brand of alt-metal to the Cat's Cradle Thursday, Sept. 21. After the dissolution of cult faves Kyuss, guitar hero Josh Homme did a guitar stint with Seattle's Screaming Trees, then regrouped with Kyuss bassist Nick Oliveri back home (Cali's Palm Desert region) for some genre-confounding, post-metal experimentation that landed the group an Interscope deal. Introducing their new "robot rock" sound (Homme's term), the critically-lauded QOTSA debut emphasized texture and turned-on-a-lathe metal precision through sparse repetitive grooves and layers of riffs. Oliveri's pulsing plutonium-heavy single-note bass mantras provide a fat bottom for Homme's sound explorations and tasteful riffs, cuz--hey--lots of boneheads can shred. --Angie Carlson

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