A friend of mine gripes annually about his birthday being on Jan. 1. No one, he complains, wants to go out to celebrate his birthday because they're all too hung over from the night before. I wouldn't think the aftermath of Valentine's Day would be quite so devastating, so head out to Kings in Raleigh on Feb. 15 for a little of the hair of the cupid that bit you--or didn't, as the case may be. The fourth annual "Love Hangover" show features four musical pairs performing songs, both covers and originals, that explore the exhilarating ups and the debilitating downs of romance. Among the duos, you'll find Sara Bell (of Regina Hexaphone and Shark Quest) paired with former Polvo guy and Helium-ite Ash Bowie, and Caitlin Cary teaming up with the evening's host, Richard Alwyn (aka Dick Luxury). The event's evocative press release promises "candle light and dirty ashtrays, carnations and Mad Dog, tender looks and false eyelashes and, with any luck, some indoor fireworks"--with that last item not necessarily a reference to the Elvis Costello song of the same name.
There's no more important band coming out of New Orleans these days than The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (pictured left). But that's not why you should go hear them. You should go because there's no better way to get your feet dancing, your head bobbing and your soul tingling than to hear the amazing sounds that seven people playing traditional brass band instruments can make (their name doesn't come from their numbers but from the Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club, where they were created). They're important because 25 years ago they took a slowly dying art form, the marching Dixieland brass band, and revived it in ways the old men who grew up playing "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" could never have imagined. They brought in modern jazz, pop and funk, and started doing things with a Sousaphone that John Philip never imagined. The result is original music with a Dixieland base that--in one of their concert traditions--has crowds dancing out of the theater. What a great way to get ready for Mardi Gras.