Steep Canyon Rangers
ArtsCenter Spring Americana Music Series
Friday, March 12
"We subscribe to the school of we kinda like our bluegrass like bluegrass," says Steep Canyon Rangers banjoist Graham Sharp. Though the Asheville-based band sticks to traditional grass and respects and performs the Daddy Monroe classics, they do write their own material. "We'd just sound like somebody else if we were playing somebody else's songs, " says Sharp. The band, Elizabeth Hamilton on fiddle and vocals, Mike Guggino on mandolin and vocals, Woody Platton on guitar and lead vocals, Charles Humphrey III on bass and Sharp on banjo, met as freshmen while Sharp, Platt and Humphrey were attending UNC-Chapel Hill. The band's new record on renowned bluegrass label Rebel Records, home to Ralph Stanley and Del McCoury, is due out soon. --Grant Britt
Now It's Overhead, Statistics
Saturday, March 13
Studio craftsman/occasional Bright Eyes touring band member Andy Lemaster delivered the second LP from his own band, Now It's Overhead, earlier this month, and now he brings his meticulously constructed songs to the Triangle. Fall Back Open (Saddle Creek) channels the melodramatic spirit of Depeche Mode beyond just outright imitation; since most of the album is played by Lemaster, this live incarnation should provide some dynamic surprises. Openers Statistics are the synthy brainchild of Desaparecidos' guitarist Denver Dalley. For more info, 969-1400. --Finn Cohen
Sunday, March 14
Owww!! Ted Leo and the Pharmacists are going on a month long march through the U.S., spreading their unique brand of indie rock and loud, screechy vocals. Although their last CD, Hearts of Oak, didn't make as big a splash as their phenomenal sophomore album The Tyranny of Distance, the band still sounds amazing. The combination of Leo's growling, high-pitched voice, the hard-rocking sounds of the other Pharmacists and the incorporation of crazy noisemakers and tambourines make for one of the freshest sounds in music today. French Toast and organ rock trio We Regazi open at 9 PM. --Chris Scull
Battles, Lubricated Goat
Monday, March 15
Battles may be one of the most random combinations of hip artists working today. Ian Williams (guitarist from Don Caballero, Storm and Stress), John Stanier (drummer from Tomahawk, Helmet), Dave Konopka (guitarist from Lynx), and modern experimental composer Tyondai Braxton make up this group, and their sound pretty much falls where you would expect it to, based on their pedigree. Blips and bloops jump across a landscape of oddly metered guitar and drums, and there's even some MC-style vocals to spare! One can only imagine what it's like live. Australia's Lubricated Goat was part of the late '80s/early '90s Amphetamine Reptile roster; they're heavy and chaotic, to say the least. For more info, 831-1005. --Finn Cohen
Monday, March 15
It's been a while since the creations of Richard Thompson have been likened to those of a new Jefferson Airplane. But in the late '60s when he helped found electric folk-blues- rock group Fairport Convention, the Airplane was the closest thing to what he was trying to do. Thompson's pursuit of Celtic sounds influenced a generation of folk rockers, but commercial success has always eluded the singer/guitarist. Even his first solo album, Henry the Human Fly, considered by many critics and fans to be his best work, is Warner Brothers' worst-selling album of all time. Fiercely independent, Thompson has survived thanks to his loyal fans, who make his live concerts sell-outs. He released five CD's last year, including The 1000 Years Of Popular Song, the guitarist's arrangements of tunes ranging from "King Henry V's Conquest Of France" to Brownie Mchee's brother Stick's "Drinkin' Wine Spo-dee-o-dee." --Grant Britt
Monday, March 15
It started out as NAPS, but that acronym using the first letter of the players' last names was too sleepy for this stellar funk jam band. Deep Fried is a more fitting name for the supergroup of former Allman Brothers organist/wailer Johnny Neel, Gov't Mule drummer Matt Abts, original Funky Meter bassist George Porter Jr., and former Neville Brother-turned-Funky Meter guitarist Brian Stoltz. Porter says the band avoids boring, noodling jams by never playing the same jam twice and paying attention to each other. "If somebody's made a statement, and that statement automatically states that he should say it again, and nobody's paying attention to him, then somebody else makes a statement that's anti-everything he's saying on the other side of the stage, that's a trainwreck," Porter explains. It's not a rehearsed band, so expect a good deal of looseness. "We won't see each other until the first gig in Atlanta," the bassist says. "There'll just be a sound check and then we'll start playing music." --Grant Britt
British Sea Power
Tuesday, March 16
Why I love Internet music discussion groups, part 16 -- Person one commenting on a recent British Sea Power show: "Pretty dark rock and a stage performance involving shrubs, leaves, and military hats." Person two: "Sounds like a Monty Python sketch." Actually, Brighton's British Sea Power is much more Joy Division, Smiths, and Bowie than Python, and one poll or another recently dubbed them the 17th Best Band in the World. Come out and see why. Number 16, they're gunning for you, cannons blazing. --Rick Cornell
and coming up . . .
Benefits for Mike Triplett
Dynamite Brothers, Lud, Razzle and Utah!
Wednesday, March 17, 9:30 p.m.
Bringerer, Transportation, Cheers to No Tomorrow and Addy Junius
Friday, March 19, 9:30 p.m.
Over the years, Mike Triplett has made a big impact in the Triangle music community: as guitarist for rock trio Fin Fang Foom, by helping maintain Carrboro venue Go! Studios with a steady hand, and as one of the most upbeat, kind-hearted souls you're likely to find amidst the grind of the rock club biz. Triplett has been seriously ill with complications from spinal meningitis for a couple of weeks now and remains in the hospital. Friends from far and wide are lending support of all kinds. Among the efforts are two shows to help Triplett with expenses. Rosters for both--at Kings on Wednesday, March 17 and Go! on Friday, March 19--feature eight bands representing some of the brightest and best this area has to offer. There may be other events to come, so stay tuned. Get well soon, Mike. --Chris Toenes