This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Grohg, Overtone Quartet, Wanda Jackson, Nantucket, Driver, Hidden Cat, Fuck the Biters, Doomtree, Tatsuya Nakatani, Shovels and Rope
VS.: Eric Benet vs. Aretha Franklin
VS.: Clay Pigeons vs. Todd Snider
VS.: Fishbone vs. Bruce Hornsby
02.09 GROHG @ TIR NA NOG
When Grohg played its first show on Halloween Eve last year, the local buzz surrounding the band was perhaps heavier than its music; that had to do more with who was in the band than how it sounded, though. Since its debut, the band has replaced guitarists BJ Burton and Stu McLamb (of indie rock favorites The Love Language) with The Kickass' Andy Townsend and Craig Hilton of Here Lies... That's a pair that seems more suited for Grohg's tangled doom, which weaves flashes of technical death metal into a Godflesh-meets-Thou siege. Complementing the still-young headliner, Man Will Destroy Himself brings tarry scuzz-metal, while Hog offers a captivating set of prog-sludge informed by Baroness and Buzzov-en. Free/ 9:30 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
02.10 OVERTONE QUARTET @ UNC'S MEMORIAL HALL
Jazz bassist Dave Holland's enjoyed a rich career for nearly half of a century, highlighted by his time with Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis. A diverse musician, he's explored free jazz, big band and bop, earning several Grammys and a reputation for supple swing along the way. Three years ago, he assembled Overtone Quartet with post-millennial drummer extraordinaire Eric Harland, his Manhattan School of Music classmate in pianist Jason Moran and MSM alumna Chris Potter, one of the most feted post-bop saxophonists of the last two decades. Combos don't get much sharper than this; intriguingly, they've yet to release an album. $10–$39/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
- Photo courtesy of the artist
- Wanda Jackson
02.10 WANDA JACKSON @ THE ARTSCENTER
The seductive croon that belongs to Wanda Jackson has indeed lost some resonance over the years, but the First Lady of Rockabilly certainly isn't missing any spunk. Courted by the King when she and Presley were on tour as teens in the '50s, she still possesses the special spark that producer Jack White helped flame on last year's comeback The Party Ain't Over. She describes White's subtle insistence as a "velvet hammer," but it's hard to argue with his Rick Rubin-style success. The slashing rockabilly guitar's up his alley, but Jackson brings fury and passion striking for a 74-year old. Hell, she's still a kitten at heart. $22–$26/ 8:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
02.11 NANTUCKET, DRIVER @ LINCOLN THEATRE
Jacksonville sextet Nantucket formed in 1969 and released five albums before 1985. A product of the times, they sampled an array of '70s sounds, from light-rock fusion to horn-laden boogie rock and hard rock. They were initially named Stax of Gold, and even their most rocking tunes possess some soulful shimmy thanks to frontman Larry Uzzell's vocals. It's this side that shines on You Need A Ride to Raleigh, their first studio album in 27 years. Its breezy, beachy vibe suggests Jimmy Buffet stuffed with Memphis soul instead of cheeseburgers. $14.50–$18/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
02.11 HIDDEN CAT, FUCK THE BITERS @ LOCAL 506
Without the combined forces of Fuck the Biters' fun genre-probing and Hidden Cat's dainty party artifices, the Triangle dance scene might be missing a pulse. Together, in the vicinity of a dance floor, these two offer musical workshops, amusement and therapy. This event is sponsored by Homework, a new promoter named after Daft Punk's 1997 masterpiece. That's a high watermark to match, but as we've heard from Hidden Cat's weekly WXYC 89.3 FM radio show, New Science Experience, he's working with a full dance deck and plenty of bass for your face. Get there before 10:30 p.m. for free entry. Otherwise, it'll cost you $5. —Eric Tullis
02.12 DOOMTREE @ LOCAL 506
The Minneapolis hip-hop-plus collective Doomtree had a busy 2011: Spoken-word chanteuse Dessa released a provocative solo LP, while Sims started the year with the hard-hitting Bad Time Zoo. There was the Internet-baiting mash-up project Wugazi (courtesy of Doomtree's Cecil Otter), and the flagship's most breathless and brilliant LP yet, No Kings. Cocky and mean, well-crafted and dynamic, No Kings pairs magnetic hooks with rhymes that slide between impressionistic images and the grit of daily existence. Mr. Invisible opens. $10–$12/9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
- Photo by Makoto Takeuchi
- Tatsuya Nakatani
02.13 TATSUYA NAKATANI @ KINGS
Experimental percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani mixes the acoustic rumble and clatter of expressive drumming with the metallic cries of bowed cymbals and gongs. His Monday Kings show is one of two Triangle shows in as many days (Sunday night he brings his exciting new gong orchestra to Chapel Hill's Nightlight). In Raleigh, he'll pair his usually unusual solo set with a collaborative improv featuring notable local avant-players Carrie Shull, David Menestres, Craig Hilton, Xopher Thurston and "Crowmeat" Bob Pence. Some of the most poignant sounds of this evening will be delicate, nuanced and whisper-quiet, so come prepared to listen only. Free/ 9 p.m. —Corbie Hill
02.15 SHOVELS AND ROPE @ SLIM'S
Charleston's Shovels and Rope teams singer-songwriters Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent as a folk duo made perfectly sloppy with the help of a punk-rock spirit. While they have laudable solo careers of their own, Hearst and Trent reunited two years ago to tour behind their collaborative 2008 record, which saw the pair trading lead vocals and swapping guitars, harmonica and a simple drum kit on freewheeling country tunes. No matter how beaten-up the songs may seem, there's little hiding that this is some of the best twang around. Chapel Hill quartet Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores open with ardent heartland rock. $6/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
THURSDAY, FEB. 9
From: Milwaukee, Wis.
Since: Early '90s
Claim to fame: Neo-soul singer who cheated on Halle Berry
Talk about bringing a knife to a gun fight: Eric Benet represents the paring variety. He sings nicely with a tender lover-man falsetto, but he lacks the vocal presence of Maxwell or even Dave Hollister. As such, Benet offers an even lighter adult contemporary brand of R&B than that of the already watered-down '90s neo-soul ilk. His willowy vocals are besotted with affectation like he's pushing to make the finals of American Idol. Benet's handsome flash may be enough for some, but as musical meat goes, he's much more wing than breast. At CAROLINA THEATRE. $34–$54/ 8 p.m.
From: Detroit, Mich.
Claim to fame: The Queen of Soul, and arguably finest female singer of the rock era
When it comes to R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Aretha Franklin gets it in spades. Whatever their charms, Tina Turner and Diana Ross are still looking up at Franklin. She melded gospel and soul with unmatched class, power and intensity. Franklin helped create the Muscle Shoals soul sound by exploring a grittier, more Southern realm. She's remained relevant for five decades, and it's hard to imagine any modern singer having such an impact. Franklin's the kind of treasure that should be put in a secure glass case for all to see; Benet's the type that gets tossed in the back yard. At DURHAM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER. Sold Out/ 7:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
SATURDAY, FEB. 11
Claim to fame: Rough and smooth Americana
Hailing from the small towns of Stanly County, the members of Clay Pigeons don't have to be told what kind of stories fit roots music. After forming as a singer-songwriter collective inspired by Neil Young and Townes Van Zandt, the foursome translated its traditional sensibilities into harmonies that twang and brawl like a barn party. "The Day We Drove to the Rodeo" from their EP American Pipedream is a fist fight of heartbreak, featuring the memorable equivocation, "I loved you like a man loves his alcohol." With Asheville's Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work and Manna Frost Trio. At KINGS. $7/ 9:30 p.m.
Claim to fame: Singer-songwriter folk for stoners
In early March, East Nashville's rebel troubadour will release Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables. It'll be Todd Snider's 14th release since his debut. Over the years, his jokes and don't-give-a-damn attitude have earned him comparisons to John Prine and Johnny Cash. But it's his outlandish stories like "America's Favorite Pastime," concerning pitching a baseball game on LSD, that have gained him fans from frat houses to country kitchens. Snider's guff is softened by opener Rosi Golan; she charms with pretty acoustic pop. At THE CLAYTON CENTER. $20/ 8 p.m. —Ashleigh Phillips
TUESDAY, FEB. 14
From: Los Angeles
Claim to fame: Multi-genre party starters with political bent
With three original members in tow, long-running LA crew Fishbone knows how to party. Like the older cousin of fellow LA act Ozomatli, Fishbone fuses funk, alternative, punk, reggae and ska—think early Red Hot Chili Peppers meeting Parliament in the pit of a Bad Brains house show, but running off with some Skatalites and metalheads. Combining a salaciousness later echoed by Blink-182 (the band refers to this run as a "skeet of Southeast shows") with leftist social messages, Fishbone continues to be eccentric, electric and unpredictable. Florida reggae quartet The Supervillains opens. At MOTORCO. $15/ 8 p.m.
From: Williamsburg, Va.
Claim to fame: Multi-genre dabbler and collaborator
Singer, songwriter and pianist Bruce Hornsby has been exploring myriad styles since long beofore his multi-platinum 1986 debut The Way It Is. That album melded pop with elements of jazz, folk and soft rock that won Hornsby a Grammy and helped launch an adventurous career that's included a stint with the Grateful Dead, projects focused on bluegrass and jazz, and appearances as a producer, songwriter and sideman on records by stars in a variety of genres. Expect the set for this solo performance to showcase nearly every period and facet of Hornsby's bountiful work. At CAROLINA THEATRE. $45–$55/ 8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith