Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Cat's Cradle—Within the typical N'awlins gumbo of jazz, funk, blues and R&B, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band infuses brass-band traditions with a progressive mind-set. Their collaborations have extended from Dizzy Gillespie and Elvis Costello to indie rock heavyweights Modest Mouse and jam band kingpins Widespread Panic. Even the band's debut, My Feet Can't Fail Me Now—which made the title track and "Blackbird Special" brass-band standards and saw its 25th anniversary last year—was revolutionary for its nontraditional approach. The crew's latest efforts ran high off post-Katrina emotion, but any sorrow that remains in its live performances is far outweighed by euphoria. The show starts at 9 p.m., and $15 tickets provide a trip to New Orleans at a fraction of the cost. See www.catscradle.com. —Spencer Griffith
Always, Patsy Cline
Cary Academy—It's the kind of musical that makes you want to say "One more time." Fortunately, audiences get to do exactly that when Raleigh Ensemble Players revives their December hit, Always, Patsy Cline, this weekend at Cary Academy. Canady Thomas in the title role and music director Brett Wilson do a right smart Texas two-step through the legendary country singer's greatest hits, fleshing out Ted Swindley's slight script about a fan who befriended Cline during the lean years—and who Cline then stayed in contact with until her unexpected death in 1963.
A sassy Susannah Hough tells the tale from proud fangirl Louise Seger's point of view, cracking wise while setting up song cues left and right. Thomas' magnetic smile and throaty voice do no wrong, while Wilson's six-piece country swing band keeps things purring along. Yes, it's a concert masquerading as a theater piece, but when the music—and the jokes—are this good, somehow I doubt you're going to have much of a problem with that. Three performances only: Jan. 15 and 16 at 8 p.m.; Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available at www.realtheatre.org. —Byron Woods
Soweto Gospel Choir
Memorial Hall, UNC Campus—Using the distinct colors of 26 voices to paint broad landscapes of pain, hope and triumph, South Africa's Soweto Gospel Choir embraces listeners with warm call-and-response and polyrhythmic a cappella celebrations, joy bubbling through drumming and dancing. Since its formation in 2002, the choir has earned two Grammy Awards for best traditional world music album. The group is pan-African in its approach, too; with reggae and American gospel included in its repertoire. Still bearing the history of apartheid in its songs, the choir performs the evening before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. are $10-$80. See www.carolinaperformingarts.org. —Andrew Ritchey