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Throughout its twisted history, Ween (pictured left) has garnered a cult following for its hilarious, impudent, sick and obscene lyrics. What often goes unmentioned is brothers Dean and Gene Ween's remarkable versatility. That should change with the release of the band's latest album, White Pepper (Elektra). There's drenching, Beatles-influenced pop songs, Caribbean calypso, hypnotic Enoesque lilts, speed-thrash metal--even a sweetly sentimental, honest-to-god love song. For those who've never experienced Ween's warped wit, White Pepper is the perfect entrée, a multicourse musical sampler. For the hardcore fans, Ween still dishes up enough nasty sass ("Bananas and Blow," "Pandy Fackler") to titillate the teen-age boys. Expect a wicked good time when the band plays at the Ritz this Saturday, May 20, at 9 p.m. General admission tickets are $13 in advance, $15 on the day of the show. For details, call 836-8535. --Bridget Booher

DiamondDiamondDiamondFeeling nostalgic for some early '90s North Carolina rock? No? Well, perhaps this will change your mind: Geezer Lake (pictured bottom left) is playing two reunion shows in the area this week. Hailing from Greensboro, Geezer Lake was always a bit outside of the indie rock that seemed to get the most press attention 'round these parts. They were aggressive, often abrasive and, toward the end, downright progressive. Few bands, then or now, had the balls to include a trumpet in their sound. Whether you loved or hated the band's music (few people were indifferent), you had to admit that it was unique. Drummer Scotty Irving has made a name for himself with Clang Quartet, his one-man percussion interpretation of the life of Christ. The other members are scattered about the country, so it's a rare event when the band manages to get together. That's why you'd better make plans to see them either at Cat's Cradle on Thursday, May 18 (call 967-9053), or Kings on Saturday, May 20 (call 831-1005). If you catch the Kings show, you'll also get another old-school treat: Track Rabbit, the new band featuring former Archer Matt Gentling. Also on this bill is the incomparable Renelvis, the world's only Filipino Elvis impersonator. --Karen A. Mann

DiamondDiamondDiamondShake the mothballs out of your bondage pants, polish your monkey boots and get thee to the Cradle on May 19: Late '70s Raleigh punk pioneers Butchwax have reunited (after a 16-plus year layoff) and are opening for the Accelerators and the Bad Checks for a Cat's Cradle show. According to Bad Check Cliff Mann, his brother Robin, who worked with Butchwax dude and Modern World punk zine creator Butch Modern, got bitten by the nasty punk bug and called big brother Cliff (who was in Florida at the time) to come on home and start a band. So it came to be that Butchwax gave the Bad Checks their very first gig (1980). Cliff's returning the favor--20 years later--by getting their old mentors out and rockin' again. Cliff's got a new label and cool Web site ( with links to Butchwax and Modern World. It's the real deal. Call 967-9053 for more information. --Angie Carlson

DiamondDiamondDiamondAt a recent photo shoot, Neko Case and Kelly Hogan dressed up as opposite ends of a jackass. The drinkin' buddies and close friends both sing country music with more soul than oughta be allowed. They both boast all-star backing bands. They both have records out on Bloodshot, that suave country label in Chicago. Neko looks like she's dead on the cover of hers. Kelly covers a Magnetic Fields song on hers. You may not see a better double-bill in town this summer than their show at Local 506 this Sunday, May 21. With Britney Spears postponing 'til September, this is girl power in its finest hour. Be there, or be a jackass. --Gavin O'Hara

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