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The guide to the week's concerts 



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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Crude, Double Negative, Unit 21, Sorry About Dresden, Dirty Little Heaters, Le Weekend, Horse Feathers, Todd Snider and Elizabeth Cook, Kreator, Exodus, Belphegor, Mississippi John Doude's Voodoo Panther, Akil, Floating Action, Max Indian

VS.: Wood Brothers vs. Casey Driessen & the Colorfools

INTRODUCING: Mandolin Orange

SONG OF THE WEEK: The Thermals' "When I Died"



YES, PLEASE

05.14 CRUDE, DOUBLE NEGATIVE, UNIT 21 @ THE POUR HOUSE

There's a video of Double Negative at some sweaty house party blowing the lid off a cover of "Minor Threat" that somehow seems to perfectly capture hardcore's perennial relevance: To see a band of 30-plus-somethings whose merch table advertises "will trade merch for drugs (really)" take on the band that coined the term "straight edge" in front of a crowd too young to have seen it the first time—and to see both band and audience explode with excitement—is to see the power of communal catharsis. It's that same power that draws bands from N.C. (DN & The Plague), Texas (Unit 21) and Japan (Crude) to play together tonight in a club generally associated with jam bands. $7/ 9 p.m. —Bryan Reed

05.14 SORRY ABOUT DRESDEN, DIRTY LITTLE HEATERS, LE WEEKEND @ TIR NA NOG

With a trifecta of local players, tonight's installment of the (almost) famous Local Band, Local Beer event offers a triple threat of punk edge, burning rock and woozy reverie. Venerated four-piece Sorry About Dresden punches out thick cuts of nervy guitar-fueled rock. Woman & bros band Dirty Little Heaters molds dark currents of soul-smashing guitar rumble into vintage Joplin reveries. Balancing out the nerve and grit is Le Weekend, with its jumble of psychedelic sparks and jazz flair. Free/ 10 p.m. —Kathy Justice

05.15 HORSE FEATHERS @ LOCAL 506

As Horse Feathers, Portland songwriter Justin Ringle's music is slight but substantive, suggestive of a quiet poet who perches at the edge of a party, gazing and jotting, ultimately condensing the night's hubbub into a terse, simple set of verse. On the typically pithy "Curs in the Weeds," for instance, Ringle reduces the cycle of religion and rebellion into four lines—"Of fickle faith/ cynics that seethe/ how their children are cursed/ cursed to believe"—all offered in his reedy, placid voice over acoustic guitar and thin string sections that glide through one another. Chicago's Joe Pug, a former University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student who's booked on a slew of Josh Ritter and Steve Earle tour dates, opens: His able twists of phrase funnel into a search for his dignity and from a voice that's dignified in its young-Dylan allegiance. $8-$10/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge Kreator
  • Kreator

05.16 KREATOR, EXODUS, BELPHEGOR @ VOLUME 11

If one had amplified the sound of the innumerable rain drops during the recent thunderstorm that sent a funnel cloud zipping past the State Capitol, the sound—like a cascading onslaught of constant drum hits—would suggest tonight's bill, one of the final shows on the five-band Hordes of Chaos tour: Germany's Kreator and California's Exodus have been making thrash metal since the '80s, and their respective influence has been astounding, as Kreator directly gave death metal an upper hand and Exodus gave modern American metal its first guitarist, Metallica's Kirk Hammett. Fantastic Austrian trio Belphegor takes the bill's middle: The band's blackened death metal is smart and sidewinding, as given to unrelenting mayhem as it is to distorted instrumental tangents. In the one and two spots, the relatively reverent thrash of Warbringer follows the unlikely alloy of Epicurean, which elevates old-school leanings with fantasy metal glory. $20-$25/ 7 p.m. —Grayson Currin

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05.16 TODD SNIDER & ELIZABETH COOK @ CAT'S CRADLE

Elizabeth Cook has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry stage a couple hundred times. And even though it could be risky to let an iconoclast like Todd Snider loose in a shrine, he's played the Ryman Auditorium, the Opry's former home, a time or two. But that's not the only thing these Nashvillians sort of have in common: Cook's feisty but frequently vintage country stylings bring to mind Loretta Lynn, who guest-duets on Snider's upcoming The Excitement Plan. Here's one more: Cook's "Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman" plays like the kind of bold statement wrapped in offbeat humor that might have dripped from Snider's pen. $15/ 8:45 p.m. —Rick Cornell

05.17 MISSISSIPPI JOHN DOUDE'S VOODOO PANTHER @ THE CAVE

Fuzzed-out, country-blues guitar picking sheds light on dark, forgotten places: Mississippi John Doude intones lyrics like a mystic casting a trance with earthy and immortal Southern sounds of gnarled trees, Spanish moss and trails overrun with underbrush. Guitar in hand, he pounds out a heartbeat on kick drum and hi hat. Ernesto Gomez completes the end-times sound with bass. But just as readily as Doude explores the broken and dilapidated machine that is the world, he sees the beautifully crafted cog that still shines, and offers: "There's plenty for all at cornbread time." $5/ 8 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey

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05.17 AKIL @ THE POUR HOUSE

"Used to be from J5/ now all of that is past tense," Akil The MC boasts on "About Me," an early solo track from the former Jurassic 5 member. Though Akil's solo material lacks the same collegial élan of his work with the bigger outfit, he still hitches his ride to mutated boom-bap and deep soul beats, delivering his verses with a bright California flair. Akil's been serving many of the same markets in which J5 excelled (rock clubs in college towns), which serves as much as an endorsement as it does a caveat: Akil won't shake your bones by himself, but his verbal linguistics and flair are plenty for a downtown night. $5-$7/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin

05.20 FLOATING ACTION, MAX INDIAN @ THE POUR HOUSE

Black Mountain, N.C.'s Seth Kauffman wrote and recorded his third solo album under his new Floating Action handle, enlisting a trio of Asheville-area hands to recreate its lo-fi lushness live. Fitting, then, that the self-titled record finds common ground with The Love Language as well as Beck, its genre mash-up dressed in garage pop rags. There's a decided retro vibe, too—lead single "50 Lashes" flashes back to Motown's melodic bass groove and smooth, soulful harmonies. Headlining locals Max Indian apply Wilco love to vintage pop/rock jangles. Instant sing-alongs, all around. $6/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


THURSDAY, MAY 14

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WOOD BROTHERS

From: Atlanta and New York
Since: 2006 (although, you know, they go way back)
Claim to fame: blurring genres

The Brothers Wood—Oliver (guitarist and vocalist for the blues band King Johnson) and Chris (upright bassist for Medeski Martin and Wood)—no doubt jammed together when they were growing up, but the pair's Ways Not to Lose in 2006 was their first official collaboration. Guess it went OK because they came back with last year's warm and rootsy Loaded. Both records take a dip in the little-bit-of-everything pond, meaning there are blues and gospel echoes from Oliver's side while Chris comes at things from his trademark folk/ rock/ jazz angle. Secret ingredient? That sibling simpatico-ness. With Katie Herzig. $12-$14/ 8:30 p.m. At THE ARTSCENTER.

VS.

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CASEY DRIESSEN & THE COLORFOOLS

From: Nashville
Since: the early '00s
Claim to fame: ignoring genres

Casey Driessen, fiddle in hand, no doubt jammed often growing up—around campfires, at Midwestern bluegrass festivals, and all the way to the Berklee College of Music and then Nashville. One of Driessen's early breaks came when Steve Earle invited him to join the Bluegrass Dukes. He's since furthered his adventures by playing alongside Tim O'Brien and John Mayer, in the inventive Sparrow Quartet, and out in front of his own Colorfools. Driessen's sound is a dervish that whirls from trad tunes to world music, positioning him as the fiddle's answer to Béla Fleck. Secret ingredient? His red shoes. $10/ 8 p.m. At the BERKELEY CAFE. —Rick Cornell


INTRODUCING...

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05.19 MANDOLIN ORANGE @ THE CAVE

Songwriter/ guitarist Andrew Marlin and fiddler Emily Frantz met the night Barack Obama was inaugurated by sitting in on one of Big Fat Gap's weekly jam sessions at Armadillo Grill in Carrboro. And as Obama toiled through his first 100 days, the two have been developing a relationship between voices and acoustic instruments that sounds as if it's been at work for years.

Barely old enough for a legal drink, Marlin and Frantz have only played a couple dozen shows together as Mandolin Orange since their first duo gig at The Station, though this is hardly the first time out for the young musicians. Though she's recently added guitar to her arsenal, Frantz—who will graduate from UNC in December—has been bowing the violin since elementary school and played alongside ex-Tremblers leader and Two Dollar Pistol Greg Hawks. After plying his wares in alt-metal and acoustic rock outfits, Marlin picked up the mandolin last fall and continued his exploration of traditional music that began during his time in The Barefoot Movement.

In Mandolin Orange, Marlin and Frantz's voices intertwine and dance around together over relaxed, progressive bluegrass-based tunes (think Nickel Creek), though their Bill Monroe covers appear alongside takes on The Kinks, Cole Porter and Gillian Welch. With "more songs than we know what to do with," the pair is recording with Jerry Brown at The Rubber Room and hopes to have an EP out by mid-summer, barring the usual financial and scheduling constraints. For this show, Mandolin Orange will play an hour-long set, then jam with pals in Common World Collective. Free/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

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