Barney's Jive Band
The Pour House
There's no guy in a purple dino suit fronting this band. But the twin drummer powered blues-jazz-rock fusion band out of Clemson, S.C., pounds out a primordial beat behind classic tunes from the Allmans, Stevie Ray and the Police, weaving it all together with Dead tapestries that put it on the most wanted jam band lists. $5. 10 p.m. --Grant Britt
Martin Street Music Hall
Keyboardist/saxman Randall Bramblett's millions of road miles and thousands of hours of studio work (he's recorded and toured with everybody from John Hammond, Martin Mull and Robbie Robertson to Traffic and Widespread Panic) tend to overshadow the fact that he's a gifted singer/songwriter. Jule Brown and Kenny Roby open. $10. 9:30 p.m. --Rick Cornell
Governor's Tree Lighting Ceremony
OK, no jokes about Gov. Easley throwing the switch. This is one of those heartwarming, family time, state-sponsored commemorations of an ancient pagan ritual as the offcial state evergreen is set aglow by Hizzoner. Plenty of songs and holiday trappings at the mercifully early (6 p.m.) ceremony.
Nathan Asher & The Infantry
Well, Nathan Asher was never really down with John Kerry anyway. He was a Howard Dean man, in the process of lining up a local benefit for the candidate when Howie let ring The Howl Heard 'Round the World. Anyway, the Infantry still ranks among the most-charged and vital outfits pounding out social anthems and fussy loveletters with a passion. Grand Unified Theory and The Know open. $8. 10 p.m. --Grayson Currin
As the weather cools off, this evening of Latin dancing will warm your spirits. Samecumba, a multi-faceted combo working in the salsa, meringue and cumbia styles, provide a whirling feverish pace of poly-rhythms and sultry vocals. For newcomers, there will be a free dance demo. $14. 8 p.m. --Chris Toenes
Songs for Peace
The Fourth Annual Songs For Peace Benefit Concert features local singer-songwriters Jamie Anderson, Robert Baldwin, Tracy S. Feldman, Kathleen Hannan, Jamie Purnell, Carol and Jon Parsons, Mary Rocap, John Saylor and Greg Taylor. Proceeds from the event, which starts at 7 p.m. in the West End Theater, will go to the West Bank town of Tuwani. For more information, visit www.duke.edu/~tsf/gigs.html. Tickests are $10.
Annual guided hike
Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area
There's nothing like a morning hike up Orange County's Occoneechee Mountain (elevation 867 feet and a swell view of a sweeping bend in the Eno River). This annual 11 a.m. guided Christmastime hike is a great way to get to the top. Call 383-1686 for registration and directions, or visit www.ils.unc.edu/ parkproject/visit/ocmo/home.html for information about the park.
Neurological disorders are usually career-ending. But solo artist Ill Ease, or Elizabeth Sharp, has used hers to enhance her career. Her condition causes certain aural frequencies to stimulate her brain. Sharp's repetitive, obsessive grooves backing her other-worldly warbling on songs like "you know you make me want to hate you" or "you look like hell tonight" draw comparisons to Sonic Youth's aural experiments. 10 p.m. --Grant Britt
Bonsal Christmas Train
Bonsal Train Depot
Take a ride through the woodlands of Chatham and Wake counties in a train decked out all holiday style. The rides run Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 11 and 12, at 11 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. The depot is on Old U.S. 1. Call 362-5416 or visit www.nhvry.org for details. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children.
Emerging Artists Retrospective
The Durham Arts Council presents an Emerging Artists Retrospective, which highlights the work of Emerging Artists Grant recipients over the past 20 years. The show runs Dec. 11-Feb. 6 at 120 Morris St. Hours are Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 1-6 p.m. Call 560-2719, or visit www.durhamarts.org for details.
You never know what's going to come off the reels that make their way to the quarterly Flicker Movie Nights at the Cradle. A dozen or so works of genius, near-genius and just-shy-of-genius proportions from California, Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Wilmington, Indiana and the Netherlands hit the screen starting at 8:30 p.m. Feature reels include a mocumentary about the invention of flippers by a 10-year-old Dutch boy and high school student Susan Smith's tale of a germaphobe attempting suicide. Tickets are $3.
While living in Raleigh a years or two back, Varnaline founder Anders Parker spent a lot of time writing and recording--resulting in the group's fifth CD, Songs in a Northern Key. He returns, guitar in hand, to the cap city on a tour to promote his latest solo effort, Tell it to the Dust. The Trousers open.
Six String Cafe
Hoedown alert for western Wake. Raleigh's Kickin Grass brings its blend of harmonies and twang to Cary. Like the proverbial Nashville Cats, most of this five piece have "been playing since they were babies." Look for a night of driving instrumentals, tight vocals and possible vague references to past incidents in Harnett County.