- Cadillac Records
Hubert Sumlin and Bob Margolin with Cadillac Records
N.C. Museum of Art—Written and directed by Darnell Martin, Cadillac Records chronicles the life of Leonard Chess and the artists—like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Etta James—that he recorded on his label, Chess Records. The film explores the evolution of rock 'n' roll from the 1940s to 1960s, as well as the issues of race, sex and violence that accompanied it. Starring Academy Award winner Adrien Brody as Chess and Grammy award-winning singer Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James, the film boasts a great ensemble cast. Prior to the film, guitarists Hubert Sumlin (a former Howlin' Wolf sideman) and Bob Margolin (who played with Muddy Waters) will perform. The guitarists rock at 7 p.m., with the film screening after dark. General admission is $15, members $12, children 7-12 $7.50, and children under 6 enter free. For more information visit www.ncartmuseum.org. —Belem Destefani
Janice L. Mills Foundation Rising Stars Benefit Concert
Hayti Heritage Center—As former dean of the N.C. Central University Law School, Janice L. Mills heavily influenced the school and community before she died in 2007. The foundation established in her name and the law school present this concert as a benefit for scholarships awarded to aspiring law school students. Expect smooth jazz and neo-soul from this slate of performing artists, including the Jayy Music Group, Tanya Ross Project and North Carolina R&B mainstay Sweet Dreams, now in its 25th year. Fred "Funki" Mills, who started the foundation, is Ms. Mills' brother and might be known to Indy readers for his part in the career of funk diva Betty Davis. "Big E" from WNAA 90.1 FM hosts the show, which starts at 7:30 p.m. and costs $20. —Chris Toenes
Sun Ra Saturn.ify
Downtown—The book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus was ridiculous on a number of levels, especially in its inability to account for people from other planets—like jazz composer, performer and bandleader Sun Ra, who claimed to hail from Saturn. Sun Ra's music is otherworldly; he embraced electronic keyboards and synthesizers before it was fashionable and used two basses and elaborate percussion to construct complex polyrhythms, while spinning off into mesmerizing improvisations.
Sun Ra, who died in 1993 at age 79 in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., (a long way from Saturn) assumed a larger cultural significance as the leading figure of Afro-futurism, in which magical realism and science fiction converge to examine the black experience.
As a "pre-exhibit spectacle" to a Sun Ra-centric extravaganza slated for September at the Durham Arts Council, local musicians will lead a public procession taking off from Durham Central Park, 502 Foster St., pausing for a couple of poetry chants along the way and landing at the Durham Arts Council, 120 Morris St. There, they will perform, tripping into the exosphere on theremin, pedal steel guitar, bowed saw, saxophones, clarinets and oboes. The Triangle Soundpainting Orchestra closes the night with more weird and wonderful music—and a requisite light show.
Minds begin to bend at 5 p.m. Admission, like the jazz, is free. What you inhale or imbibe in preparation is your own business. —Lisa Sorg
- Lil Wayne
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre—What means more to us men? Witnessing Lil Weezy recite his predictable, Styrofoam-cup, sizzurp-laced rhymes or hoping to see Nicki Minaj, his Young Money label's Brooklyn bra-angel bombshell, appear on stage in lingerie and rap about her bisexual capers? Now, ladies, since your boyfriend pissed you off with that last answer, wouldn't it be nice to exact revenge and spend your Saturday night with a handsome, young Canadian rhyme-juicer named Drake? He's also a Young Money affiliate, with the most-requested song in every club across the country right now. Or maybe you just want to do the Soulja Boy, since he'll be on hand, too.
It's Lil Wayne's world of late, and in his world, you're either a goon or a goblin or a martian or Katie Couric. But whatever you are, you're probably a fan of this Nawlins Cash Money veteran emcee in some way, as most of the world calls him the best rapper alive. That's up for discussion, of course, but until that debate is settled, there's more than enough room to at least party with him and the rest of his Young Money crew on this America's Most Wanted Music Festival tour stop. After all, this is a guy who claims to be tougher than Nigerian hair. Is that as tough as Run-D.M.C.'s leather? I bet we'll eventually find out. Tickets for the 7 p.m. extravaganza cost $22-$79. —Eric Tullis
Killer Filler, The Breaks
The Cave—Pittsboro power poppers The Breaks might be seen the night before at the Cheap Trick show in Raleigh (see page 41), judging from their chunky, hook-enriched bounce. It's abetted by pulsing new wave synths and frosted with singer John Ensslin's reedy croon, which is eerily reminiscent of Television's Tom Verlaine. Opener Killer Filler inspires significantly less ambivalence than the name suggests. Former Southern Culture on the Skids keyboardist Chris Bess doubles up on guitar in his instrumental quintet, forging an unusual country-surf-rockabilly-jazz swing sound that takes space-age bachelor pad music into the next millennium. The band's energetic, foot-tapping grooves are a soundtrack for a swinging party. Pay $5 at 10:30 p.m. —Chris Parker