N.C. Museum of Art—Following her break with major label Lost Highway after the modest sales of 2004's Grammy-nominated Tambourine, Tift Merritt returned with the quietly triumphant Another Country in March. Written predominantly in France after a major bout of disillusion with the anxieties of musical careerism, Another Country offers Merritt as a weathered-voice survivalist, slowly but steadily overcoming internal and external doubt with regard to her abilities and aspirations. "Broken" and "Hopes Too High" confess willful early naïveté but squint beyond it, seeking—and ultimately finding—a break in the clouds.
Tonight's show, then, indicates the figure 8 such predicaments and perseverance bring to a career. Merritt hasn't played her hometown since the June 2005 NCMA gig that yielded the live album Home is Loud (and an acoustic Schoolkids Records performance). Merritt's stage show has matured in the intervening years, an excellent backing band (Zeke Hutchins, Jay Brown, Scott McCall, Danny Eisenberg) serving as the substrate for stronger dynamic shifts. That is, the various, variably accomplished components of Merritt's career—the country of Bramble Rose, the country-soul of Tambourine, the folk-rock of Another Country—actually work in tandem now. Opener Teddy Thompson matured nicely on this year's A Piece of What You Need, his words and songs benefiting from a bit more wisdom and care. The 8 p.m. show costs $7.50-$30. —Grayson Currin
Pandits Rajan and Sajan Misra
Green Hope High School—Brothers Rajan and Sajan Misra have earned the title "Pandit"—a Hindu word extolling expertise in a field—for their singing. Purveyors of Hindustani classical music, the two are grounded in the North Indian style and sing the Banaras Gharana, a form named after the ancient holy city of Banaras (Varanasi), in which they were raised. Appropriately, their songs sound like the Ganges, on whose banks Banaras lies: Improvisations on simple melodies wash over you until you are immersed in complex frameworks, forgetting where you began. The brothers are joined by the delicate tapping of Subhen Chatterjee on tabla and Sanatan Goswami on harmonium. Presented by The Indian Classical Music and Dance Society. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $10-$40. Visit www.icmds.org. —Andrew Ritchey
Cat's Cradle—It's been almost 40 years since Don Dixon and Robert Kirkland, the only constants in Arrogance's existence, met as UNC-Chapel Hill freshman. Thus, these days an Arrogance concert is part first-rate rock 'n' roll show and part reunion—a reuniting of band members, of band with fans, and of fan with fan. You also see a number of couples with teens in tow, perhaps a way of expressing that, see, Dad and Mom weren't always Mr. and Mrs. Sensible Shoes. Oh, and the music is far from an afterthought: "an amalgam of '70s-era acoustic singer/songwriters and '60s era rock 'n' roll" is how my friend Dave—who was there, man—describes the Arrogance sound. "What made them such a great live band, however, was a strong dose of R&B," he adds, footwear only partially sensible. Expect all sides of Arrogance's personality to be on display this night, with an acoustic set followed by an electric set from a group of guys who were tearing it up long before "unplugged" was corporate concern. Tickets are $16-$18. The music starts at 9 p.m., with the "Remember the time when we..." stories beginning a couple hours earlier. —Rick Cornell