This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Blues In The Night, Savage Weekend, Band Together, The Future Kings Of Nowhere, The Others, Municipal Waste, Charlie Hunter
VS.1: Modern Skirts vs. The Temperance League
VS.2: Thee Dirtybeats vs. Randy Mcallister
05.06–07 BLUES IN THE NIGHT @ MEYMANDI
In a sort of grand experiment, the North Carolina Symphony pairs for two nights with bluesmen Corey Harris and Phil Wiggins, as well as sopranos Rozlyn Sorrell and Tina Morris-Anderson. Gershwin is among the American composers who have been influenced by jazz and the blues, but can "real" blues fit with classical music? Wiggins' bending, puffing harmonica is no clarinet, and the percussive twang of Harris' acoustic guitar is no cello. The juxtaposition of Mozart-driven intellectualism and whiskey-fueled emotion will do its best to break down genre stereotypes. Considering Harris' previous genre bending helped him win a MacArthur "genius grant," there's reason to be optimistic about the results here. $30–$60/ 8 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey
05.06–07 SAVAGE WEEKEND @ NIGHTLIGHT
It's been a few years since Chapel Hill had its own multi-day noise festival, as No Future got canned about the time it really seemed to find its stride. But Ryan Martin has returned with the appropriately named Savage Weekend, a righteous, two-day, fuck-off extravaganza of harsh and wavy, majorly aggressive and mildly academic. The touring highlights include Fat Warm of Error, Ironing, Leslie Keffer, Horaflora and the certain-to-wreck-yr-perceptions Laundry Room Squelchers. Friday's 27 (not a misprint) bands start at 7 p.m., while Saturday's unholy 36 begin at 5 p.m. Get your rest, people. $10–$15 —Grayson Currin
05.07 BAND TOGETHER @ LINCOLN THEATRE
During the last decade, Third Eye Blind's gone from a band headlining major amphitheaters to more of a big-club, remember-when relic. But that's OK: If the earnest and immediate invective of the California band's first album still makes you hum "Narcolepsy" or "Motorcycle Drive-By," they still play those tunes with the same braggadocio. They'll likely omit a few big hits from this weekend's set list, but this is a benefit for Alliance Medical Ministry, so don't get greedy. Local legends Dillon Fence open, with possible legends-in-the wings Lonnie Walker just ahead of them. This is the latest smartly conceived benefit from Band Together, a local organization that pairs bands with wide enough appeal to sell tickets and corporate sponsorships with worthy organizations in need. Also, U.S. Royalty. $20–$150/ 6 p.m. —Grayson Currin
05.07 THE FUTURE KINGS OF NOWHERE @ MOTORCO
Shayne O' Neill's self-titled debut as The Future Kings of Nowhere was a fine and frantic balance of heart-on-the-sleeves jitters and romantic-lad storytelling, sung and strummed as if O'Neill had to tell the world what he'd learned. After a lengthy battle with Stage 4B non-Hodgkin's B-cell lymphoma, O'Neill—who, after marriage, takes the last name Miel—will likely play his songs with even more urgency and resolve, broadcasting from experience that most bands never have to imagine. Welcome back. Hammer No More the Fingers and The Wigg Report open this overdue return to the stage. $8–$11/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin
05.07 THE OTHERS @ THE PINHOOK
The Pinhook's new music series, The Others, has made a point to feature female, minority and LGBTQ musicians; tonight, no exception. The intertwining vocals of husband and wife Mark and Sarah Tillman tumble over rolling guitar in the gentle folk duo Wind and Willow. Banjo and autoharp also join the gambol. Singer-songwriters Jessica Long and Emily Musolino open. Long's Neko Case-inspired, sultry vocals are more vulnerable without her backing band. Musolino's fleet guitar picking supports her flittering, soulful jazz voice. In honor of Mother's Day, the evening benefits Welcome Baby's Cribs for Kids program, which works to prevent SIDS by providing cribs to families with newborns. $6/ 8 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey
05.08 MUNICIPAL WASTE @ KINGS
With the Big Four lumbering out of their lethargy to relive the glory days on a massive package tour—which most accounts describe as essentially a Metallica show featuring Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax—thrash is an easy target in 2011. And Richmond's Municipal Waste is riddled with revivalist tendencies, with D.R.I., C.O.C. and Anthrax all casting long shadows. But the 10-year veterans keep the sound fresh, funny and fierce. Their shows offset precise playing with sloppy good times; beer bongs beget boogie-boarding stage dives. Raleigh's Man Will Destroy Himself darkens the evening with grindcore growls over mid-tempo pummeling. $10/ 9:30 p.m. —Bryan Reed
05.11 CHARLIE HUNTER @ THE POUR HOUSE
Charlie Hunter is a prolific composer of jazzy instrumentals and a proficient conductor of jammy improvisation, but he's best known for his ability to get bass, rhythm and lead guitar sounds out of his custom seven-stringed instrument. Hunter's focus is a more jazz-oriented variant on the typical jam-band rock/ funk fusion; his unique guitar style and tone have led him to collaborate with a diverse array of artists including D'Angelo, John Mayer, Mos Def and Norah Jones. He performs two sets tonight in duo format with drummer Eric Kalb, who's pounded out beats for Sharon Jones and John Scofield. $12–$15/ 9:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
THURSDAY, MAY 5
MODERN SKIRTSFrom: Athens, Ga.
Claim to fame: Running British Invasion melodies through a '00s indie filter
The decision of tonight's matchup will be entirely up to how you like to be treated. Modern Skirts speak softly and politely, but they're eloquent in their textured evolution of classic pop-rock. There's more than a little of the smooth-glide power pop—think Beatles, Sloan, etc.—in this band's roots, but lately they've moved beyond staid traditionalism, incorporating electronic timbres lifted from the experimentally inclined indie pop of this decade. Truthfully, this band is probably bound to be the bettor's favorite; they've got polish, style and hooks to spare. They're so slick, they managed to make themselves a rare out-of-towner at Tir na nOg's weekly Local Band Local Beer night. At TIR NA NOG. 10 p.m.
THE TEMPERANCE LEAGUE
From: Charlotte, N.C.
Claim to fame: Running British Invasion melodies through an American garage filter
A significantly more local band—by about 200 miles—Charlotte's Temperance League makes a point of betraying the irony in its name. Cold beer and blue-collar storytelling are this band's lifeblood. Frontman Bruce Hazel treats the stage as more recommendation than rule, skipping into the crowd, jangling his tambourine all the while. The League itself is a crack team of Queen City veterans whose confidence and precise playing never get in the way of the band's '60s-born influences. Soul, garage rock and Bruce Springsteen lay the groundwork for Hazel's politically inclined observational songwriting. This scrappy underdog will give the competition a workout, at least. At CASBAH. $5/ 9 p.m. —Bryan Reed
SATURDAY, MAY 7
- Photo by Stacy Watson
- Thee Dirtybeats
From: Chapel Hill
Since: Late '00s
Claim to fame: Resurrecting classic N.C. garage "nuggets" from '60s
You wouldn't want to meet this Triangle quartet in a dark alley. Their grimy, leather-jacketed garage sound may go back more than four decades, but it's still built to lay you out. Their chunky psych-inflected rumble is surprisingly tuneful—taking you out at the knees while singing drummer/ garage rock archivist Ken Friedman's smoky drawl hits like a shot to the ribs. That they're playing moldy oldies hardly makes a difference—if you haven't heard them before (and few who haven't purchased Friedman's three-record N.C. nuggets compilation Tobacco Road-A-Go-Go have), then they're new to you. With The Static Minds. At THE CAVE. $5/ 10 p.m.
- Courtesy of the artist
- Randy McAllister
Claim to fame: Energetic rock and soul-inflected blues
Grammy-nominated blues rocker Randy McAllister doesn't have the profile you might expect, despite nine studio releases over the last 15 years. The rare bluesy singing drummer, McAllister owe debts to ZZ Top's Texas boogie, Big Easy Cajun grooves and Motown soul. It's a crackle that's rich in hooks, abetted by his deep vocals. He's more interested in songs than your typical blues artist, offering stinging wit on tracks like the bounced check ode "$127.00 Sandwich" and "The Girl Ain't Right," where he thanks the man who stole her. While both McAllister and Thee Dirtybeats traffic in underappreciation, McAllister's humor and songwriting skill give him the edge. At PAPA MOJO'S. $12–$15/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
05.05 PRISMS @ MOTORCO
Durham's Prisms are in the process of recording an EP. Their only existing recording, available on Soundcloud.com, is a 17-minute beast of a track recorded live at Motorco. Hard-edged noise washes ride Neu!-style Motorik beats. Delay-soaked voices and electronic signals wander in and out of the thick mix, resulting in an intensely psychedelic sonic tapestry.
Shaun Sundholm, who is joined in this project by Sean Thegen and Nick Williams, says the band wants to challenge itself, so it avoids the trappings of the traditional rock show and instead books movie nights. "I'm an art director so art and music has always been intertwined for me," Sundholm says. The members wear all white, so they disappear into the screen and improvise along with the film. The work in question for this show is Ron Fricke's Chronos, the 1985 offering from the maker of Baraka.
What's especially exciting about Prisms is seeing Williams go nuts on his effects pedals. The guitarist, also of Free Electric State, is responsible for some of that band's more elemental textures. If the online track is any indication, he's an even noisier monster when left to his own devices. The free show starts at 8 p.m. —Corbie Hill