Koka Booth Amphitheatre—Heart capitalized on the whole "hot women with guitars" angle in a way The Runaways could only dream of. Blending folksy acoustic guitars with spates of hard-charging action, they scored big hits with their first three albums before Ann and Nancy Wilson's romances with brothers Roger (guitarist) and Michael (manager) Fisher imploded. The albums that followed weakened as the sisters transitioned from meaty rock and folk to trite, chart-topping power ballads, including collaborations with members of Loverboy and Journey. They've released but one studio album in the last 15 years, 2004's Jupiter's Darling, representing a decent reprise of their original sound. Tickets are $32.50-$45 for the 7 p.m. show. Nantucket opens. Visit www.boothamphitheatre.com. —Chris Parker
N.C. Museum of Art—Hailed by film critic Roger Ebert as one of his favorite films of 2008, Iron Man stars Robert Downey Jr. in his comeback role. Directed by Jon Favreau (Elf, Zathura), it grossed nearly $99 million in its opening weekend. Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, the film centers on Tony Stark (Downey), a playboy billionaire inventor, industrialist and arms dealer whose military convoy is attacked while he is in Afghanistan showcasing his latest weapons to the troops. Out of this and subsequent challenges, a hero is born. Despite the surfeit of comic book movies out now, this film distinguishes itself from the pack with its smart dialogue, impressive special effects and Downey Jr.'s impeccable comedic timing and acting chops. The screening is at 8 p.m. Admission is $3 or free for museum members and children age 6 and under. Visit www.ncartmuseum.org for more information. —Belem Destefani
Various venues—With the onset of Labor Day and football, autumn is nigh. Tonight's First Friday also feels like a harbinger of fall. To that end, Artspace opens exhibits by multiple artists. Among them is The Conquerers, which showcases Lowbrow painting, drawing on a range of inspiration from traditional painting to punk rock. Also, a one-night engagement, "LoPop Shop," runs from 6-10 p.m. It focuses on North Carolina's LoPop scene, which uses bright colors and bold outlines. Also at Artspace, quilter Megan Sullivan shows off her wares focusing on photorealistic detail and new fiber processes, and it's the final night to catch Reconsidered: Summer Artist-in-Residence Program, 2000-2008.
Elsewhere downtown, DesignBox debuts 2 Bit Sho, dedicated to artists working in the video game industry, along with five vintage game consoles from collector Dave Ellis. Rebus Works opens a new exhibit, View: New Ceramics, with artists Timothy Ayers, Mitch Kimball, Lynn Duryea and Joseph Pintz showing landscape-influenced pieces. Reopening after a hiatus, Lump Gallery begins its 14th season with If You Build It We Will Burn It, featuring works by Jerstin Crosby. For more information, visit www.downtownraleigh.com. —Sarah Ewald
Schooner, The Magic Babies, Starmount
The Pour House—On the upcoming EP by Schooner—already one of the area's best bands—the Carrboro foursome just keeps getting better, working toward the perfection of pop tunes built on Reid and Kathryn Johnson's brother-sister harmonies and dosed with soul, indie rock and doo-wop tinges. Raleigh's Starmount plies atmospheric instrumentals, with STRANGE's Brian Donohoe and Overproof's Dave Pitts providing a steadfast rhythm section that guides the explorations of Rob Davis' glossy synth and Greg Elkins' otherworldly pedal steel. Fellow Oak City quartet The Magic Babies rely on psych-tinged organ and jangling guitar to drive the classic melodies and ringing harmonies of its shaggy Merseybeat revival. The 10 p.m. show has a $6 cover. Visit www.the-pour-house.com. —Spencer Griffith