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The guide to the week's concerts


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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Earth Day Celebration with The Connells, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Resist Not, Straight 8s, Acid Mothers Temple, Sonic Suicide Squad, World/Inferno Friendship Society

EH, WHATEVER: Pat Green, Randy Houser

VS.: 420 Fest vs. Southeast Engine

VS.: 5 N.C. bands vs. 2 N.C. bands + 2

SUPPORTING: Funk Friday Fundraiser



It's been a quarter-century since The Connells lifted off, catching wind from the Southern jangle pop renaissance helmed by R.E.M. The band's Rickenbackers rang like a telemarketer, a jingle-jangle echo of the Byrds with a dash of atmospheric shimmer courtesy Echo & the Bunnymen. Such rootsy pop scored big on college radio, and 1993's Ring went platinum in Europe on the strength of the pretty, melancholy single "74-75." The Connells never quite broke through at home, held back somewhat by their label, TVT. Though eight years removed from Old School Dropouts, the guitars are still crisp and refreshing, like a breeze heralding the arrival of spring. This Earth Day Celebration begins at 11 a.m. with Violet Vector & the Lovely Lovelies, The Huguenots and Razpa. —Chris Parker

Thao Nguyen
  • Thao Nguyen


Exploring the world in a slightly detached dream, Thao Nguyen's unfettered vocals flutter at the brink of a yodel. Bass mimics the heavy breathing of the sea, while a ragtag army of light and busy drums runs drills on the shore. Pop hooks and folk nostalgia combine and contradict one other, making both dancing and sitting on the front porch rocking chair viable options. At times tentative and jittery, this acoustic music is best when it's in the wind, working off of freeing, reckless abandon. Also at Chaz's Bull City Records at 5 p.m. for Record Store Day. With Samantha Crain and Sister Suvi. $8. —Andrew Ritchey


Durham's Resist Not boasts one of the year's best songs in "Choice Means Choice," a teen pregnancy parable told in the first-person. In it, Aaron Ward gives personality and empathy to hot-button issues, presenting social politics with the very specific life of one scared, young girl. Here, Ward's quartet of rabblerousers—more often irreverent than overtly political—promises to complement the revivalist rockabilly of Hillsborough's Straight 8s with its own rollick, rooted in anti-folk's spare sound and the clattering one-two of the Tennessee Three. 7:30 p.m. —Bryan Reed

Acid Mothers Temple
  • Acid Mothers Temple


In a perfect world, the most dunderheaded jam-band dork would have to sit through an Acid Mothers Temple show in silence. Not only would the set scorch the split-ends from a dude's dreads, but it might cause epiphany, leading to the life of a monk devoted to the worship of Kawabata Makoto, the group's mysterious bandleader and shaman. Probably not, though: Makoto forges upward armed with his guitar or whatever else he's on at the time with a third eye view of music's hypnotic power; and strives for the clouds like Daedalus' bastard son.The poorly named SSS are well worth early arrival. Sam Lohman (drums), Vinnie Paternostro (tenor sax) and Jon Simler (live acoustic manipulation) move unhindered by rules, led by Paternostro's blowing, which twitches in free jazz freak flag salutes. Step back, folks, men with heavy equipement at work here. $10-$12/ 10 p.m. —Chris Toenes

World/Inferno Friendship Society
  • World/Inferno Friendship Society


Take the Squirrel Nut Zippers, dose 'em with enough punk to swing from chandeliers and discontent to pen a half-dozen discs of anarchic rants, and they'd fall close to Brooklyn cabaret collective World/Inferno Friendship Society ... if it only focused on the tunes, that is. World Inferno's revolving orchestra—more than 30 members have filled its ranks; expect at least eight in Carrboro—has gained a cult following for theatrical performances complete with fake blood and audience participation. Opener Stuck Lucky is a thrashy ska punk outfit from Nashville. $10-$12/ 9:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith



While Pat Green cut his teeth on Lone Star country, his connection to the classic windblown austerity and hard-luck poignancy of forebears like Guy Clark is more tenuous than Courtney Love's sanity. Since signing to a major eight years ago, Green's traded any credibility for slick, bland, radio-ready Nashville pap heavy on sentimentality and light on substance. Perhaps hard Texas country just isn't suited for pop hooks ready for a Gavin DeGraw record, or maybe he's as bored as the music he makes. At least when he suggests he's "making this shit up as I go" on What I'm For, you believe him. $23-$26/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker

(Natalie Portman's Shaved Head at Local 506 Thursday, April 16, has been canceled. Instead, A Rooster for The Masses and The Pneurotics will play a free show at 9:30 p.m.)


420 FEST

From: Mother Earth
Since: Early '70s
Claim to fame: Inspiring manic food runs, meandering movies, and a peaceful, easy feeling (or belligerent metal, as it were)

Wielding the sacramental weed as a portal of escape, 420 patrons are harder to herd than cats, if decidedly more docile. While typically associated with soap-averse, hacky-addled jam-band enthusiasts, a dark counterpart developed during the last decade among the headbanging legions. They're equally impressed with groove but prefer it expressed in plodding, wall-shaking vibrations, which—for heavy stoners—approximate one of those virtual reality rollercoaster rides. You don't go anywhere, but your body doesn't know it. While sometimes as directionless as String Cheese, the malevolent rumble and vocal screech of stoner metal offers a world without tie-dyes, populated with only a steely black throb that screams "We're not in Kansas anymore." Tonight, get tripped on the edge of Garner with Black Skies, H.O.W., Broadslab and Shiloh. At VOLUME 11. Free/ 8 p.m.



From: Athens, Ohio
Since: 1999
Claim to fame: Folksy Americana with a big picture spin

Southeast Engine's bright, ringing acoustics set to jangle don't necessarily inspire fear or foreboding, but the band's apocalyptic religious allegory—apparently not just for Jesus freaks (and scientologists) anymore—does: Following 2007's biblically themed A Wheel Within a Wheel, the rootsy-minded quartet brings down a redemptive flood on From the Forest to the Sea. From parched, world-weary folk ache to roof-raising Hammond-driven country-rock rave ups (the wonderful "Black Gold"), the Ohio act executes its game plan with the assurance of David, delivering a one-two of foot-tapping bounce and traditional backwoods lope that could floor any contender short of top-shelf acts like Wilco, Smog or Okkervil River. With The Desmonds at LOCAL 506. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker



From: Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, Asheville
Since: This decade
Claim to fame: Guitars: doin' thangs

Tonight's packed bill sets its poles early: The 7:30 p.m. show pairs one-man Asheville band Saint Solitude with Raleigh trio The White Cascade. From the former, expect sharply regimented keyboards, drum machines and guitars serving as a bed for buoyant pop lines about amorous isolation and disappointment; from the latter, expect vocals only as an accompaniment to the band's arching textural excursions, which are "post-rock" for their guitar/bass/drum instrumentation but more concerned with the ability of those blessed German jam bands of the '70s to burn both slow and bright. Show two, which starts at 10 p.m., brings the sounds together: Veelee makes excellent two-people pop that's subversively simple and completely loveable, and Embarrassing Fruits mines indie rock oldies with paradoxical slacker aplomb. Polynya's twisting melody lines, co-ed harmonies and vacillating moods clash nicely with the band's occasional hard charger. At THE CAVE. Donate generously.



From: Bynum, Chapel Hill, St. Louis, San Francisco
Since: This decade, except Vibrant Greene (1995)
Claim to fame: Bounce with it

Tonight's bill brims with several dozen melodies you can memorize: Opener Ben Flanagan leads the San Francisco band The Trophy Fire, an American reinterpretation of earnest Britpop that borders on FM emo. Flanagan used to play in IO with John Booker, who now leads the preternaturally tight, punchy I Was Totally Destroying It. Think Mates of State, but stronger. Vibrant Green's been around in spurts since 1995, when three Swan Quarter kids sharing the last name Tunnell formed it. Johnny and Joah have since joined The Never, but the band's 2006 album, Artless Yet Excellent, is still refreshing in its detail-heavy love laments. Pinkerton on Nyquil, maybe? For better and worse, headliners Gentleman Auction House takes textural and dynamic risks as a matter of habit. Tune for tune, The Cave is the sure bet tonight, but either corner will serve most any pop zealot OK. At THE RESERVOIR. Donate generously. 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin

Bull City Syndicate
  • Bull City Syndicate



For a devoted group of listeners in the Triangle, every Friday delivers not just a happy hour but happy hours—four of them, to be exact. Hosted by Sharon Berry-Vivian, Funk Friday (4-8 p.m.) on Shaw University's radio station WSHA 88.9 FM spotlights the classic (James Brown), the classic-in-waiting (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings) and the fringe (Dr. Lonnie Smith). "Funk Friday is one of the few resources for me to get a taste for what funk really is," says Leo Kishore, bassist in Funkuponya, a Raleigh-based quartet that's played live in the show's studio. "They play a lot of tunes that I wouldn't have heard of otherwise, shaping how I view the genre. A lot of bands out there get 'funky' but aren't playing funk."

On April 17, Funk Friday moves from the Shaw campus to The Pour House for a fundraising remote broadcast. Kishore's Funkuponya will be in the house, as will Bull City Syndicate. The former operates more in a jazzy, improvisational space while still keeping things—as required—danceable. The latter, sporting grabby vocals and driving horns, is catnip for anyone who's ever bought a record just because the Tower of Power Horn Section guests on it. Tickets are $10, and the fundraiser (complete with prize drawings) lasts, as always, from 4 to 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell

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