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click to enlarge The Old Ceremony - PHOTO BY D.L. ANDERSON

The Old Ceremony, Annuals

North Carolina Museum Of Art—Whether talking Earth Day parties, convention center openings or benefit bashes, Durham's The Old Ceremony and Raleigh's Annuals are the big-bill, special-event favorites of Triangle rock, and for good reason: Both of these large ensembles take songs written for humming and add layers that are more curious than the area's long-standing guitar, bass and drums trope. Annuals, for instance, throw everything they can at vocalist Adam Baker, from stacked keyboards and cattywampus harmonies to double drums (with auxiliary percussion, brah) and beds of samples. Sometimes, they push too hard, turning the whole affair into a strident mess, but—at their best—Annuals flood starry-eyed visions with bright washes of color. The Old Ceremony emphasizes restraint, though, its tempered, jazz-ready rhythm section galloping steadfastly beneath a scrim of violin, a bedrock of cresting organ (and vibes, man) and Django Haskins' stately love-loving songs. Unlike Annuals, the band can be too conservative for its own good, but—at its best—The Old Ceremony treats a pop hook like a limber diving board. This is a smart pairing of bands almost certain to balance their strengths into a perfect seesaw of an evening outdoors. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $7.50 for children ages 7 to 12, free for the knee-highs and $15 for those inflated by age. —Grayson Currin

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