Known for his mighty mane of dreads and for booking bands as diverse as his own musical tastes, the Pour House's Chris Malarkey recently helped the Blount Street institution expand east with a Wilmington outpost. That gives the veteran venue manager and booker another reason to celebrate during this year's edition of Malarkey Gras, his annual birthday weekend bash that's now grown to two nights.
Whether covering tunes from Dylan and Prine or tackling their own rowdy originals, fast pickin' Raleigh newgrass favorites Old Habits place their steadfast harmonies squarely in the spotlight. The upstart Mipso Trio will do its best to steal the show. These acoustic-oriented Carolina boys may seem green, but they've already sold out a record-release show at Local 506 and worked with Avett Brothers patriarch Jim Avett as producer.
Malarkey, a devout Spreadhead, tapped Panic pretenders Bolweevil to headline Saturday's slate. The Oatmeal Conspiracy opens with its quirky brand of college pop rock that imagines a saxxy love child of Ben Folds Five and the Presidents of the United States of America. Magic Mike Casey will also be in the house to wow with his sleight of hand. There's a $10 cover for Friday's 10 p.m. start; tickets to Saturday's 9:30 p.m. show are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.—Spencer Griffith