01.02 HOLY GHOST TENT REVIVAL @ THE POUR HOUSE
Vaudeville performers finish their set, wander through Tin Pan Alley, grab a few beers along the way and wake up the next morning on a sidewalk in New Orleans' French Quarter. Holy Ghost Tent Revival plays the soundtrack to this blacked out night. Banjo rings, trombone croons, and sing-along melodies bore themselves through the brains and into the dancing feet of listeners. Whether it's a jazz band marching down the street or into a bar to dance, high-five the patrons and fall over each other, this music commands movement. Releasing its first CD in December, HGTR bounds with energy and knows how to party if you didn't get enough of that one Wednesday night. $6/ 10 p.m.—Andrew Ritchey
01.03 BASS INVADURRZ, JJAK HOGAN @ NIGHTLIGHT
Donte Oliver and Wayne Brooks, who double as Bass Invadurrz and Jjak Hogan, have two true loves: funk and outer space. Those fields also happen to be two constants in a long lineage of bass-driven music from Parliament's Mothership Connection to Miami Bass's robotic voices. It takes both groups (and, oftentimes, associates from their hometown of Augusta, Ga.) to fully explore these worlds. Both were first brought to light by Chapel Hill label FrequeNC, with Bass Invadurrz coming out of an electro left field and the hip-hop outfit Jjak Hogan now enjoying attention overseas. Come see 'em in a second home, where the room is converted into an otherworldly, fog-drenched, body-moving space. In other words, for these guys, home sweet home. 10 p.m. —Chris Toenes
01.04 POMPEII, POLYNYA, INSPECTOR 22 @ LOCAL 506
It's an evening of textured and well-manicured atmospheric rock. Austin's Pompeii fashions dreamy loping shimmer, gently casting side-to-side as it traverses pretty, melancholy arrangements well-lit with baroque melodies. Singer/ guitarist Dean Stafford's wavering tenor is a fine match for Polynya frontwoman Andrea P, both topping their respective band's musical efforts like particularly sweet icing. Also, Inspector 22. Free. —Chris Parker
01.06 EMBARRASSING FRUITS, DELETED SCENES, BUTTERFLIES @ LOCAL 506
Bachmann, Berman, Barlow and Malkmus: The kings of the ill-tagged "slacker rock" daze still echo in garages and cheap apartments around the world. Their half-baked wit and spaghetti-stained college charm consistently influence troupes of Fender-wielding deadbeats and dropouts, and Chapel Hill's Embarrassing Fruits is no exception. Or perhaps it is. Since the Trekky Records trio released its The First Time EP, Embarrassing Fruits has proven its songs aren't just throwbacks to deleted Dinosaur singles or Eric's Trip deep cuts. Instead, they stand on their own, fuzzy and well-read pop for anyday dweebs. While the '90s mark of influence is incapable of being overlooked, songwriter Joe Norkus' stoned afternoon melodies serve more as late-coming contemporary than tardy homage. Trekky mate Butterflies sings clearer and less playfully, while D.C.'s Deleted Scenes keeps its pop well orchestrated and cut from the same cloth as an MP3-blogger's bedtime blanket. Free/ 9 p.m. —Rich Ivey
01.06 ROTTING CHRIST @ VOLUME 11 TAVERN
Celebrating the 20th anniversary tour of any band generally implies high levels of nostalgia, an excitement for seeing a band that reflects not one's perception of the music now as much as the memory of one's own youthful, more enthusiastic perception of the same. This doesn't hold for Greek black metal pioneer Rotting Christ, who's only gotten better and more diverse with age. Last year's Theogonia was a blistering exercise in roaring and rotating, the album's heaviest, most punishing passages generally aided by textural keyboards and countermelodies of unusual complexity. Atmospheric industrial spells and symphonic flourishes added dynamics and narrative, and the lyrics—still obsessed with mythologies contrary to the Judeo-Christian purview—remain erudite and inflammatory, if not too articulate. An essential metal start to 2009, especially if you're still feeling weird from wearing that Christmas sweater. With Mantic Ritual, Epicurean and Mysteriarch. 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin
SATURDAY, JAN. 3
FROM: The Triangle
CLAIM TO FAME: Irrepressible costumed craziness
It's not hard to have stage presence when your lead singer's a ham. His identity disguised by a felt pig mask, frontswine Piggy Plop guides The Totally Unstoppable Rawkin Doom Squad through goofy, party-friendly rock tunes like a more primitive Electric 6. E6's trunk of funk is replaced with squalling psychobilly guitar, and its sense of humor's reflected in unhinged odes to slow-driving rubberneckers, making babies, David Hasselhoff and Tony Danza, proclaiming loudly, "Welcome to the Asylum." The high-spirited spectacle is ample reminder that the best shows are performances, not an opportunity to scrutinize one's shoes. At THE CAVE. $5/ 10 p.m.
FROM: Chapel Hill
CLAIM TO FAME: The terrific folk rock ode "True." Well, it should be famous...
The Hellcats can't match The T.U.R.D.S. for hijinks or silly antics. There are no costumes—beyond a couple funny hats—and no unbridled irreverence to tame. Instead, this quartet relies on the basics—well-written songs, beguiling, hook-laden arrangements and fine vocals. Guitarists Dave Rutter and Diane Rodelli trade songs and lead vocals, harmonizing over Americana that ranges from folk-blues to ragged barroom rock. Rodelli keys the mellower rustic vibe, while Rutter's gruff baritone steers the Hellcats' grittier side. The band compensates for its relative lack of theatricality with songcraft more enduring than colorful dress-up. At MANSION 462. 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
01.04 CLOTHING & SHOES @ THE POUR HOUSE
After growing up in Fuquay-Varina, Levi Christopher finished high school in Ohio. Upon graduation, though, he returned to Raleigh, funneling the questions that came with such transition into a batch of songs alternately wistful and whimsical. He began recording the tracks himself, adding guitars, keyboards, bass and his voice, a pleasing warble possessed with a David Bowie circa Hunky Dory flair but dosed heavily with indie pop's casual aplomb.
But he needed drums, and, to play live, he needed a band. Happenstance took care of both: His sister, Bethany, married a drummer named Rodney Finch who, in turn, taught her how to play drums as he was helping Christopher record what would become Clothing & Shoes' eponymous debut. The couple double-drums the material live, accompanied by a keyboardist Christopher knew through high school marching band, a guitarist who worked at Guitar Center, and a second guitarist who was a friend of a friend. Somehow, says Christopher, the six personalities quickly gelled, and the band's first tour—which happened shortly after the band formed—was more validating than frustrating. Christopher's now recording the second album, which is largely a return to one-man-band form. He'll release it on his own label, Eskimo Records.
"Everyone agrees that the sound of Clothing & Shoes comes from the way I write," says Christopher, 20. "Usually, that's not the case. There are power struggles, and people do whatever they can to get the spotlight. But everyone agrees that this is the way Clothing & Shoes is." With Rocket Surgeon, Bright Young Things and Geoff Register of Sleepsound. $3/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin