YES, PLEASE: I Was Totally Destroying It, The Loom, Jolly; Goodbye, Titan; The Neil Diamond All-Stars, The Infidels, David Heartbreak, Kingsbury Manx, Jeffrey Lewis, Guardian Alien
REOCCURRING: Post-Turkey Day Benefit Jam
11.23 GROSS GHOST, LILAC SHADOWS @ TIR NA NOG
Gross Ghost's four-song EP, Wicked Game, was one of the Triangle's most delightful bits of music this year. In just 13 minutes, the four-piece cut a clear path from the whip-smart sass of "You Tell Me" to the appropriately titled "Soft Focus," a woozy and impressionistic number that managed to imprint its melody, despite the band's best intentions, with fuzz and blur. Meanwhile, Lilac Shadows—the stormy new project from Sam Logan, of the occasionally obvious and bright Huguenots—has been teasing with demos and samples for the better part of a year. Logan maintains his long-running knack for breathless hooks here, but just as Gross Ghost does, he willfully distances them, flanking them with tangents of drone and textures of noise. Both bands are overdue for full-length albums, so hopefully this 2011 closer is a prelude to proper albums next year. Free/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
11.25 THE JACKETS, PETER LAMB and THE WOLVES @ MOTORCO
Swing a pair of skinny jeans around your head in these parts and you're bound to hit a band that gushes about shoegazers, psycheldic rockers or melancholy strummers. Maybe save the experiment for another night; when The Jackets and Peter Lamb team up to shake out the Thanksgiving lethargy, it'll be a different take on modern nostalgia. The Jackets' twin flairs for '50s rock 'n' roll and electric country make for a wonderful wash of pop melodies and rowdy stompers. Peter Lamb and the Wolves, a quintet of local jazz hotshots, put earworm melodies above atavistic jazz grooves with sophistication. $10 / 9 p.m. —Ashley Melzer
11.25 THE MODERATE, MOTION PICTURES, JOE HALL @ THE POUR HOUSE
D.C.-via-N.C. quartet The Moderate returns to Raleigh for the holidays, like the long-lost cousin of new local favorite Jack The Radio. The Moderate similarly blends equal parts swampy blues, classic rock gusto and modern indie sensibilities into a compelling, melodic blast emboldened by Ian Burke's saxophone play. Likeminded Raleigh quintet Motion Pictures relies on strains of roots and blues for its rowdy rock rave-ups, while Hammer No More The Fingers guitarist Joe Hall plays a rare solo set in the first opening slot. $8/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
11.25 KENNY ROBY, STEPHEN SIMMONS @ THE CAVE
Ever since his '90s country-rock act Six String Drag, Kenny Roby has remained a local fixture. He's explored similar directions since going solo more than a decade ago, winding from more traditional country and bluegrass to rootsy pop and ragged twangy rock well-suited to his Southern drawl. Meanwhile, Stephen Simmons is a roots troubadour specializing in verbose songs backed by spare finger-picking. Raised in Tennessee as a disciple of the Church of Christ, there's a rustic homespun atmosphere to his songs. Simmons' supple, reedy baritone fills every room, evoking songwriters like Harry Chapin and Jim Croce. 10 p.m. —Chris Parker
11.25–26 A CAROLINA CHRISTMAS @ MEYMANDI CONCERT HALL
This weekend, three performances of A Carolina Christmas by the state symphony will include many of the season's expected carols and classics, made more tempting by the invitation to sing along. But the chief enticement here is the stage premiere of The Gathering, a smart six-song cycle composed by Laurelyn Dossett and performed by a stellar ensemble that includes Carolina Chocolate Drop Rhiannon Giddens Laffan and The Nashville Bluegrass Band's Mike Compton. Crisp and carved from the state's traditional folk strains, The Gathering is an evocative tale that speaks more of the coming season of cold than Santa Claus. The Friday launch at 8 p.m. is followed by Saturday shows at 3 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $18–$63. —Grayson Currin
- Photo by D.L. Anderson
- Dex Romweber Duo
11.26 DEX ROMWEBER DUO, PHIL COOK & HIS FEAT @ NIGHTLIGHT
Though they're separated by a few decades of ago and several categories of style, Dex Romweber and Phil Cook make fitting mates on a bill. Both, after all, treat music with the same veneration and vitality that, lately, it's a family project. Cook, of course, plays with his brother, Bradley, and best friend, Joe Westerlund, in the far-reaching anti-gravity American band Megafaun; after several important years in Flat Duo Jets and a spotty solo output, the Dex Romweber Duo is now fueled from behind by his sister, Sara. What's more, Romweber and Cook are both obsessed with dragging the sounds of the past back into the present, treating forgotten recordings and benighted styles like spark plugs for modern art. Somewhere in their respective collections, there's likely a serrated center of a Venn diagram, containing thorny blues, unrestrained gospel and unadulterated folk. Listen for those strains in their co-headlining sets. Also, The Dogwoods. $10–$12/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
11.26 BLOTTER'S 100TH ISSUE @ THE PINHOOK
Since 2003, The Blotter nurtured and published area underground artists and writers dedicated to their craft. The magazine's mission is to present literature with a healthy dose of intelligence and without any smack of pretension. It's a delicate balance, made mostly attainable thanks to a freewheeling editorial bent and a wide range of contributors—from high schoolers to working stiffs to overeducated grads. To celebrate its 100th issue, the magazine's throwing a barbecue bash with bands: Chapel Hill Southern rockabilly force Storm Front and prog/ psych/ grunge rockers The Gonzo Symphonic Presents perform. $5/ 10 p.m. —Ashley Melzer
11.29 SECRET BOYFRIEND, RIND @ NIGHTLIGHT
This week's tongue twister: Secret Boyfriend is Boyzone's Ryan Martin. This noise-folk solo project sees Martin draping electronic hiss around cores of sweet piano or comfortable guitar. Much of his recorded output is welcoming and warm, with even the circuit-bent passages delivered gently. Opener Rind is a more aggressive project, with sinuous, heavily affected vocals and scuzzed-out drum machines and keyboards. The project's disorienting debut album was initially intended as a response to 2010's Deepwater Horizon disaster, most openly engaged in "From the Executive." "I'd like my mind back," lone member Lee Relvas yelps atop a super-sparse industrial march before closing with "What is this?/ Who has made this mess?" With Visk's human body noise and Isabel Gun. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Corbie Hill
11.25 POST-TURKEY DAY BENEFIT JAM @ CAT'S CRADLE
One of the best ways to push through Thanksgiving's tryptophan coma and the Black Friday hangover is with synapse-clearing sound. To that end, singer/ songwriter Jon Shain has enlisted his friends in yet another Post-Turkey Day Benefit Jam. It's a show that keeps working long after the club is closed, too, with proceeds going to the Inter-faith Council of Social Service.
True to the spirit of the weekend, the evening evokes a spirit of comity and connection with participation from Squirrel Nut mainstays (Tom Maxwell, Stu Cole), a little Old Ceremony (Mark Simonson) and the Triangle's resident pocketful of soul, Greg Humpheys, among others. Shain and Maxwell's bands will play, while Humphreys will lead a klatch of songwriters in sharing songs and stories in the round.
"It's really more of a half-circle," Humphreys cracks on his way back from a gig in Charleston, S.C. "It's great not just to hear the songs but the stories how and why that song was written; it's just a fun way to share songs."
In fact, it won't feel that different to Humphreys than a typical evening at home in Durham. These days, he and Shain foment impromptu hootenannies in their neighborhood. "We'll get together on his porch, and his wife, Maria, will make Maria-hattans, and we will trade songs and tell stories. Sometimes friends will come over," Humphreys says. (Editor's note: Maria Bilinski Shain is an employee of the Independent Weekly.) "It's a perk of being a musician."
After living and playing in Prague this past summer, Humphreys returned home to release his third solo album in as many years, People You May Know, in September. Meanwhile, Shain's supporting his own new release, The Kress Sessions by the Jon Shain Trio. Recorded live at a Durham house concert this spring, it pulls Shain's shuffling acoustic folk through the muds of Mississippi.
Tonight, Shain's trio will join Humphreys, Simonsen, Cole, Lizzy Toss, SONiA from Disappear Fear and Tom Maxwell & the Minor Drag at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. —Chris Parker