If you drew a triangle from Muscle Shoals to the 1970's New Orleans funk scene and all the way down to Montego Bay, and then stood at the center, you'd probably end up somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. Or, you might be at The Cave in Chapel Hill on Saturday night dancing to the Platinum Heavyweights. After years of dreaming about it, Mitch Rothrock (then of the Crow Flies) and Jumpstarts bassist Shane Hartman formed the Heavyweights in 1999 as a band to cover some highlights in Hartman's vast LP library: Toots, Booker T and the MGs, Curtis Mayfield. This ensemble features other Jumpstarts, including flamenco-style guitar player Guy West and Countdown Quartet and Squirrel Nut Zippers' sax player, Tim Smith. They threw the Jumpstarts' ska sound back to rock steady and roots reggae and began to experiment with Rothrock's blues and soul guitar background. Now the Heavyweights hit the stage with original material that pulls from the reggae, roots and funk. --John Martin
This weekend offers two superstar bluegrass events in the Triangle. On Friday at 8 p.m., the ArtsCenter in Carrboro presents the rare combo of Don Rigsby, Dudley Connell and Missy Raines. The Lonesome River Band's Rigsby and Connell, the former Johnson Mountain Boy now fronting The Seldom Scene, recorded a remarkable duo CD a couple of years back, and will be joined by reigning International Bluegrass Music Association Bass Player of the Year Raines. Tickets run $15; $12 for Arts center friends. Call 929-2787.
On Saturday, PineCone brings New Grange, (pictured) an all-star ensemble that draws on everything from bluegrass to Bach to rock, to N.C. State's Stewart Theatre for an 8 p.m. concert. Each member of New Grange--Tim O'Brien, Mike Marshall, Alison Brown, Philip Aaberg and Darol Anger--ranks at the top of his or her field. Together, they have it all. Tickets are $21 for the public, $17 for PineCone members and $10.50 for students. Call 515-1100.--Art Menius