AC Bushnell & The Happyjoy Band
The Artscenter—Pete Seeger jokingly sang of praying with Aphrodite and Zarathustra in "Old Time Religion." Fast forward a few decades, and with all earnestness, AC Bushnell brings together new age mystic spirituality with old-time fiddle playing. Bushnell decided to forge this new route after being diagnosed with liver cancer in 2005, after which he assembled his HappyJoy Band: Notables include keyboardist Chris Frank of The Red Clay Ramblers, Paperhand Puppet Intervention's Kevin Brock on percussion, former Bonnie Raitt sideman guitarist Will McFarlane, and Robert Sledge, formerly of Ben Folds Five.
Above it all, Bushnell's lead tenor vocals strain in a comforting way. Ethereal pop rock with a slight twang sometimes swings into newgrass jams, while the constant message is one of hope and appreciation of life. Tonight's show celebrates Bushnell's latest CD, Moon in the Trees. Ordained as an interfaith minister, Bushnell presides over the evening, too. Pay $13-$15 at 8:30 p.m. Visit artscenterlive.org. —Andrew Ritchey
Bain Project Opening
E.B. Bain Waterworks—Sitting just south of downtown, the Bain Waterworks has long been a forgotten part of historic Raleigh. After the plant was abandoned in the '80s in favor of a new location, the building became a shelter for the homeless and later hosted a diverse population of invasive flora and fauna.
The Bain Project is poised to bring the breathtaking space to our attention again. Using the entire facility as if it were one big found object, the artists of the Bain Project reopen the doors of the building for two weekends to display their art installations, perform music in the water tanks, hold an authentic Japanese tea ceremony on a loading dock, and show off the unique past of the building and its various inhabitants.
Throughout the plant will be pieces by the artists, incorporating themes and objects that tie the rooms together: Color codes used by the workers are found on many items, as is the appropriately reoccurring word "WASH." Look for the large, marble orbs in every room—they were originally used to settle sediment in the water tanks—and the "archive room," where project members have stored and cataloged all the evidence they've found of the human and animal guests the abandoned plant has hosted.
The exhibit is open to the public today, tomorrow and next weekend, 1-5 p.m. More info at www.bainproject.com. —Hobert Thompson
Raleigh Vs. Chapel Hill
The Love Language & Whatever Brains Vs. Red Collar
The Pour House Vs. Local 506—There are tough choices in local music tonight: Raleigh's two hottest bands take The Pour House stage, while the Triangle's most explosive live act takes charge of Local 506. The Love Language has been hailed by Pitchfork and Spin since playing a packed South By Southwest slate. Its fuzzed-out pop bliss sports near-universal appeal and defies categorization as Stuart McLamb's pained coo guides his bruised-heart anthems. The pissed-off pop bursts of Whatever Brains come scored by hasty rhythms, backed by a jagged guitar bounce awash in buckets of noise and feedback. Call it punk if you must, but you'd be doing a great disservice to the instantaneous hooks buried beneath the squall. Opener Gross Ghost channels Velvet Underground's druggy haze.
Meanwhile in Chapel Hill, Durham's Red Collar has spent the better part of the past month on the road honing its manic rock 'n' roll assault on middle-class discontent. Frontman Jason Kutchma spews workingman frustrations with a vitriolic tongue while his band destroys its instruments with inexhaustible energy. Charlotte five-piece The Lights, Fluorescent brush with The Breeders, while Chapel Hill trio Death to the Details does jittery indie rock well.
Tickets are $7 for each show and both get rolling at 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith