Sir Arthur and His Royal Nights, Dirty Little Heaters
Slim's Downtown—Vibrant, wall-vibrating rock 'n' roll: That's what Karen Mann loves. So, to celebrate her birthday, Slim's is hosting two Triangle bands that are up to snuff. Sir Arthur injects the swagger of '70s boogie and pomp with the right amount of humor. They astutely cover Spinal Tap's "Gimme Some Money," for instance. The Heaters, on the other hand, often look ready to burn dollar bills, the ferocity of Reese Gibbs-McHenry's tortured blues pours forth such fire. The trio's rhythmic din rumbles beneath her.
Mann was once music critic for the Independent before landing as a Web editor for the News & Observer, where she still works. Mann now holds forth on local music on her blog, "Mann's World," a rich, detailed travelogue, replete with video and photos, of her trips to see Triangle rockers in their natural habitats. Wish her happy birthday by paying $5 and getting there by 10 p.m. —Chris Toenes
The Pour House—The more wistful, thoughtful of the Robison brothers, it took Bruce a bit longer than Charlie to find his niche. His Texas country songwriting follows in the grand Austin tradition, but he returned from a five-year solo hiatus (during which he and his wife, Kelly Willis, reared four kids) in 2006 with a renovated tone. He spent the break working in his home studio and writing songs for other artists, scoring several No. 1 hits along the way. He returned sharper, with 2006's Eleven Stories, sporting crisp, catchy, stripped-down songs that signaled an embrace of folk-pop and organ-driven garage-soul, as well as roots-rock. He keeps it up on his latest, The New World. American Aquarium's BJ Barham opens. Pay $10-$12 at 7 p.m. —Chris Parker