The ArtsCenter—Girlyman's akin to that childhood gym activity involving a parachute and a beach ball, where each tug of the Atlanta trio's tense harmonies send the ball bouncing a bit more heavenward. The group's brightly-hued folk owes significant debts to Peter, Paul & Mary, but it's not completely beholden, blending in elements of country, cabaret and soft rock. The songs are besotted with thwarted connections, unrealized love and devotions, awash in kumbaya warmth, like an overly friendly drunk. While the themes are rather monochromatic, the musical tone is felicitous and limber, often keyed by mandolin and baritone guitar. Girlyman's supporting Something Different Now, which captures the kitchen klatch feel of its performances well. Pay $13-$15 at 8:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
John Carpenter's The Thing and The Visitor
Carolina Theatre—Sometimes all you really need is a decapitated head on spider legs and Satan's UFO. Yes, it's that time of the month again: Retrofantasma, when the Carolina Theatre screens the best and the bloodiest of genre films, making for an evening of darn fine (and weird) cinema.
First up: If you're missing the cold weather this January, then take a trip to the Artic, where an alien spacecraft has been uncovered. It just so happens that its occupant is a shape-shifter. John Carpenter's remake of Howard Hawks' 1951 production The Thing from Another World takes the shape-shifting aspect from the story Hawks' film was based on, John Carpenter's "Who Goes There?," but the result is a uniquely bloody paranoid thriller. Rob Bottin's memorable effects create some of the most nightmarish monsters ever to grace the silver screen, and the gritty cast (including Kurt Russell and Wilford Brimley) does a great job in one of the most (literally) chilling horror films of the 1980s.
Stick around after The Thing for a screening of The Visitor (no relation to the recent sleeper hit), a 1979 effort where Satan fathers the Antichrist in an alien abduction, and ... actually, most people who've seen this film aren't sure what the hell it's about, but it has a number of absolutely bizarre scenes that include John Huston playing the electronic table tennis game Pong. Moments like this are why we love Retrofantasma. The program begins with The Thing at 7:30 p.m.; for more information, visit www.carolinatheatre.org. —Zack Smith
The Never, Lost in the Trees
Duke University—By maturing its classic, harmony-laced power pop with concepts and instrumental assortments, The Never has been a Triangle mainstay for the last decade. Live, the trio strips back to basics, though it tends to have an unfortunate, monotonous plod. Original B-Side Ari Picker masterminds Lost in the Trees' adventurous, orchestra-embellished pop. Rambunctious anti-folky Paleface (newly signed to Ramseur) joins the Trekky labelmates at Duke's von der Heyden Pavilion for the free 6 p.m. show. —Spencer Griffith
Durham and Raleigh
Duke/ Meymandi—Durham and Raleigh each host outstanding nights of classical music: Simone Dinnerstein exudes emotional warmth on the piano. By tackling Bach's Goldberg Variations on her debut, she also demonstrated her skill at the keys. Here, she takes on a varied set of selections: Schubert's Four Impromptus D. 899, Opus 90; Bach's French Suite No. 5 BWV 816; Philip Lasser's Twelve Variations on a Bach Chorale; and Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, opus 111. Dinnerstein plays Duke's Reynolds Theater at 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. Tickets are $5-$25.
The image of the teen prodigy violinist remains one of self-determination, power and inspiration, and Midori is the real thing. At seven, she was handling Paganini. At 15, she decided to quit Juilliard and go her own way. The North Carolina Symphony and guest conductor Michael Christie journey to Rome with four pieces: Dvorak's Three Slavonic Dances; Brahms' Violin Concerto; Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture; and Respighi's The Pines of Rome. Midori and the N.C. Symphony play tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $37 to $53 at Meymandi Hall. —Chris Toenes