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The guide to the week's concerts

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Sultan Bathery, Flesh Wounds, WOWOLFOL, Bill & Libby Hicks, George Jones, John Howie Jr., October 31, Reality Center Benefit Show, NC Stars In The Round, Nervous Ticks, more

VS: Jason Mraz vs Meat Loaf

BENEFITING… Burn Center Benefit

INTRODUCING… Deep Set Quartet



Fireworx is the name of the very promising four-song debut by Italian garage benders Sultan Bathery. With a little bit of surf, a little bit of soul, a little bit of boozy stagger and a whole lot of cold and creepy stares, the tunes all walk tight, tense wires between bombast and brood. Though they always seem ready to explode, they really never do, lulling the listener along to the end of one two-minute gem and to the start of the next. Don't expect the same from our own Flesh Wounds, a band that seems born to flash out every night into fiery fits of paroxysm and distortion. Johnny Staxx and the Durty Boyz open. $5/9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin


From current projects Hog and Horseback to much-missed Durham sludge-sayers Tooth, Rich James has been making heavy music in the Triangle for years. But he also has Wowolfol, his tender, damaged psych-country identity. James summons an intimate western baritone with occasional rockabilly vibrato, potentially surprising to anyone familiar with the rusted roar at the helm of Hog. The music is wildly psychedelic, too, accented by ghosted ambience and fuzzed-to-death lead guitar. Even the Appalachian-style lament "A Lullaby For Morning" rides an enveloping current of gentle noise. A full band including members of Hammer no More the Fingers and MAKE makes its first stop outside Durham tonight at Tir na nOg in Raleigh. With Natural Gallerie. Free/10 p.m. —Corbie Hill


One constant throughout the five-decade career of veteran North Carolina fiddler Bill Hicks has been his duo performances with his wife, Libby, an accomplished guitarist and country/ blues singer. Bill's other exploits have at times received more attention; he co-founded the now-legendary Carolina country-folk group the Red Clay Ramblers back in the early '70s, and this summer he released a quartet record titled You've Been a Friend to Me with his Red Clay mates Jim Watson and Mike Craver, plus banjo player Joe Newberry. Friday, though, it's Bill and Libby sharing the spotlight again, in the latest installment of WUNC's Back Porch Music on the Lawn summer series. Free/6 p.m. —Peter Blackstock


George Jones is arguably country music's finest living singer. Initially a honky-tonker in the mold of Hank, he developed his own ballad style that allowed him to score an unending string of hits. He possesses a wonderfully plainspoken yet passionate manner—quite emotional, not quite melodramatic. Intertwined with the delivery is the sweet grain and smooth finish of Jones' hard maple baritone. Arrive early to catch the Triangle's own answer to Jones, John Howie Jr. $45–$80/7:30 p.m. —Chris Parker

08.18 OCTOBER 31 @ KINGS

Through near-constant shifts in personnel, the long-running October 31 has managed to forge a consistent vision of purist thrash metal fueled by occult horror. Sitting neatly at the intersection of Iron Maiden melody and Slayer momentum, October 31 offers a welcome reminder of headbanger hallmarks, while its imagery of warlocks and witches and Satan justify the autumnal moniker. The Wilmington, N.C., foursome Salvación takes a more lighthearted and fleet-fingered approach in its set, delivering more hedonism than paganism. Or, in other words, imagine Judas Priest on a carefree Sunset Strip bender. The Royal Knights open. $8/9:30 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed


This benefit for a Christian outreach ministry in Durham geared toward at-risk youths and individuals with cognitive impairments comes graced by shades of indie rock both inviting and accessible. Greensboro's David Wimbish and his Collective trade in delicate, banjo-bedecked folk orchestrations that suggest Sufjan Stevens in their melodic splendor. Their religiously inspired narratives are faith-affirming and poetic, lifted by arresting crescendos and passionate bravado. The ambling pop-rock of The Pinkerton Raid makes a winning complement, plodding comfortably with bouncing piano chords and roughshod bar-rock harmonies. More content to belt than wheeze, they have a sound that is charming, if a tad innocuous. Tommy Goldsmith opens. $5/2 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence


Shakori Hills' Carson's Grove Stage is a picturesque place for a show. It's built like a wooden cabin at the bottom of a hill; the sound is funneled upward by surrounding trees as the stars shine overhead. At this benefit for the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center, more N.C. stars will beam on stage. Highlighted by Andrew Marlin of rustic folk duo Mandolin Orange, funky rock specialist Greg Humphreys and Christy Smith, whose pristine twang powers The Tender Fruit, eight of the state's best songwriters will perform in the round, collaborating and sharing stories in a most intimate setting. Chapel Hill's Ayr Mountaineers follow. $10–$15/7 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence


Richmond, Va., trio the Nervous Ticks is an unstable outfit, not only because it comprises two consistent members and a rotation of drummers. The band's volatility is also pronounced in its breakneck blues-rock, a speed-freak rush of Mark Sultan stomp and Hasil Adkins' primitive rockabilly. There are plenty of rock 'n' roll bands joining that sound to wild hollers and caveman pounding, but few do so with the reckless abandon of the Ticks. Sandwiched between the pop eccentricity of The Infamous Sugar and retro-garage upstarts The Piedmonstmen, this is all but guaranteed to be a wild night. $5/9 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed



From: San Diego
Since: Late '90s
Famous for: Dumbing-down Dave Matthews

If inoffensiveness were a crime, Jason Mraz would be walking the Green Mile. While his light-hearted adult-pop relies on more empty platitudes than a post-game sports interview, you can almost overlook it because it's delivered with such carefree innocence. Before his reggae-lite hit "I'm Yours," he was living the life of a confessional contemporary pop clone of Dave Matthews, somewhere alongside Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson. It's no surprise then, that, his latest, Love Is a Four Letter Word, not only repeats the obvious but also reprises the beachy world-beat undertone of his runaway hit. With Christine Perri. At TIME WARNER CABLE MUSIC PAVILION. $20–$59.50/7:30 p.m.



From: Dallas
Since: Late '60s
Famous for: Bringing ham-fisted theatricalism to rock

If you're going to reach for the cheese, you better stick your whole arm in. So of course, Marvin Lee Aday, or Meat Loaf, got his start in musical theater. His craft's always involved feeding the back row with a dramatic style that presaged The Boss's rock melodramas. While such ambition inevitably falls short more often than not, its best moments are transcendent. His overblown operatic manner has become his signature, and his utter lack of shame is what sells it. Jason Mraz is pleasant, but he'd be hard-pressed to manufacture anything so passionate and unequivocal. Meat Loaf wins on the strength of his singular unabashed manner. With Katrina. At DURHAM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER. $55–$115/7 p.m. —Chris Parker



It's been two years since an unfortunate incident with an unattended frying pan sent architect Kim Anderson into UNC's Jaycee Burn Center. Anderson arrived with heat-related lung injuries and third- degree burns over 50 percent of his body. He spent two months in a coma, received five skin grafts and suffered through long stretches of rehabilitation.

Rather than focus on the trauma, Anderson and his family have chosen to celebrate the recovery and the gratefulness they have for the team that helped him through his ordeal. "Healin' with a Feelin" is the second benefit the family has organized for the hospital. Billed as a "Night of Burnin' Love," it offers a chance to support the UNC Jaycee Burn Center in its efforts to help burn survivors while enjoying featured performances by the BilliTones, Rebecca & the Hi-Tones, South Wing and the Willie Painter Band, plus a silent auction. $15/8 p.m. —Ashley Melzer




Dex Romweber's legacy so far is unshakably rooted in neo-rockabilly, despite his best efforts to move beyond the limitations of that tag. He's named influential composers in interviews, interpreted Chopin's "Golden Strings" with the Flat Duo Jets (which, to be fair, Link Wray also played), and even released a 2006 album of classical piano solos.

With the new ensemble, Deep Set Quartet, Romweber has what might be his boldest new direction. The quartet comprises singer/guitarist Dexter Romweber, drummer Sara Romweber, violinist Jennifer Curtis and singer Carrie Bobis playing what Curtis describes as "a soundscape outlined by drum set, chordal guitar playing, woven with harmonic intricacies on the violin, fueled by Dexter's lyrics and supported by Carrie's vocal harmonies."

The group's formation was an outgrowth of long-standing collaborations. As children, Sara Romweber taught Curtis to play drums and ride a skateboard; in their teens, they played together in various Afro-Latin ensembles. Bobis had sung in Dexter Romweber & The New Romans, while Curtis and Dex had collaborated casually on an intersection of his rock 'n' roll and Curtis' classical, including a revisit to "Golden Strings." In Deep Set, all four contribute to new arrangements of standards and prime cuts from Romweber's catalog, plus new numbers, too. $7/9 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed


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