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The guide to the week's concerts 

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: The White Cascade, Free Electric State, Irata, Lonnie Walker, Cursillistas, L.E.G.A.C.Y.'s birthday party, Slaid Cleaves, Lost in the Trees, Bowerbirds

VS.: American Aquarium vs. Goner

VS.: Southern Culture on the Skids vs. David Allan Coe

CELEBRATING: The Reservoir's five-year anniversary



Tonight, a troika of amplifier-worshipping and pedal-pushing locals: Greensboro's IRATA pushes shoegaze into darkened basements, driving melodies with rumbling bass so as to evoke industrial menace, sans much of a shtick. Free Electric State, the latest addition to Durham's Churchkey Records, tears slabs of fuzz off chiming pop and turns dispassionate pop songs into screaming epics. And headliners The White Cascade summon storm clouds from their amps, eventually piercing those dense atmospheres when the drums evoke thunder. $3/ 10 p.m. —Bryan Reed


Diversions, the big-eared, Triangle-focused entertainment division of UNC-Chapel Hill's Daily Tar Heel, presents tonight's bill of three gateways into local music. Lonnie Walker rambles with purpose, lifting verboten monologues with potent arrangements informed by indie rock and alt-country. I Was Totally Destroying It's power-pop punch is shameless in its proximity to Paramore and Saves the Day, as they deliver love-you/fuck-off anthems with lived-in passion. Aminal pushes tunes that are just as strong through a porous rustic filter, like Spoon with work boots. Free/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin


L.E.G.A.C.Y.'s rap life has been more of a Roller Derby than a roller coaster, more thrown elbows than thrills, more cheap shots than chills. Hell, the former Justus League emcee almost has a full head of gray hair to prove it (maybe more than he deserves). In the midst of all this hip-hop hogwash and back-room politicking, L.E.G. never forgot how to party like the rock star he introduced himself as early in the decade. True to reputation, the hard-spirited rapper can't remember if this is the seventh or 14th consecutive year that he's thrown his own showcase for his birthday. We'll guess seven. Expect a diverse mix of acts—punk, spoken word and hip-hop—to match the birthday boy's eccentricities. Actual Proof, River City Ransom, Sun Up Son Down, Dasan Ahanu, Wu-Tang affiliate Blue Raspberry and more set to blow amps while L.E.G. blows out his candles. $5-$7/ 9 p.m. —Eric Tullis


Joint Chiefs, a new 12" performed by California duo Cursillistas and issued by excellent outbound label Digitalis, hints that there must be blues on Mars. Distant but vivid, spare but interesting, Cursillistas' long tones and gauzy arrangements take familiar forms to foreign lands, like Badgerlore and Jewelled Antler Collective before them. Opener Layne Garrett meets somewhere between John Fahey and Eugene Chadbourne, using both traditional and extended techniques to shape solo guitar improvisations. Also, Ghost Hand. 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge 12.02mushearingaid_slaid.gif


It seems that everyone has a singer/ songwriter to champion, a performer that, dammit, should be a household name and not just a MySpace one. And it seems that every week brings another one to the Triangle. Well, my coming-to-town candidate is Slaid Cleaves. During his 20-year career, Cleaves has built a sturdy stage on the common ground shared by his hero Hank Williams, modern folk-rock troubadours like Peter Case and the renowned singer/ songwriters of his adopted home state of Texas. Currently at the center of that stage is his latest collection, Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, full of songs that are easy enough to champion. For details on this house concert ($15/ 8 p.m.), see You can also catch Cleaves at the Berkeley Cafe Sunday, Dec. 6, $15/ 7 p.m. —Rick Cornell


Lost in the Trees has its beginnings in Ari Picker's past. He was in the pop-rock quartet The Never, and, while he was a music student in Boston, this overlooked side project delivered a delightful classical pop EP, Time Taunts Me, and suddenly forged Picker's future. By carefully balancing symphonic flourish, pop immediacy and folk intimacy, Lost In The Trees, which is currently packing stages with its double-digit roster, is a quietly devastating, ultradynamic outfit. With The Toddlers. $8-$10/ 9:30 p.m. —Bryan Reed


Soaked in restive ache and faltering rustic twang, Bowerbirds invoke the deliberative grace of the seasons, shaking the trees with reverential harmonies and plowing the fields to sow parched Americana. Beth Tacular's accordion strikes an often somber tone, adding appropriate texture to the band's reflections on our dysfunctional interactions with nature and each other. Tacular and Phil Moore's harmonizing achieves a forlorn beauty. Were they not queued up alongside contemporaries Bon Iver, Joanna Newsom and Iron & Wine, Bowerbirds might seem exiles of another time. 7:30 p.m. —Chris Parker


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From: Raleigh
Since: 2004
Claim to fame: Road-tested touring machine

If there's to be a next generation of Raleigh's historic alt-country scene, American Aquarium is its leader. The five-piece's inconsistent songwriting stems from a Jekyll and Hyde approach to love and lust. Frontman BJ Barham turns from honest, heartbreaking country boy to brash, heartbroken caustic with a click of his cowboy boots and a swig of whiskey, while his top-notch band follows suit, sounding equally at home soundtracking a rowdy honky-tonk or a romantic moonlit waltz. Fellow Capital City crew Bright Young Things marry earnest lyrics with rootsy, retro power pop that leans on classic dual guitars. Justin Jones and the Driving Rain open, and, like Barham, they couch starry-eyed sentiment in lush steel guitar and keys. At THE POUR HOUSE. $8-10/ 10 p.m.




From: Raleigh
Since: 1999
Claim to fame: Hard-working townie vets

The rock 'n' roll lifers that comprise Raleigh trio Goner manage to get better with age while holding strong to what made them great in the first place: the magnetic refrains and arena-sized crescendos that anchor the literate, guitar-less romps of maestro Scott Phillips. Their bite is sharper than ever these days. And Phillips and the versatile rhythm combo of Greg Eyman and Chris Dalton still sound as spirited as they have in the last decade-plus. Maybe growing up isn't that lousy after all. Opener The Last Tallboy is a recent addition to the Raleigh rock scene, but the quartet includes veterans of A Rooster for the Masses, Savage Knights and The Trousers. At BERKELEY CAFE. $/9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith



From: Chapel Hill
Since: 1983
Famous for: Spirited country-billy satire whose irreverence sometimes overshadows the fine musicianship

Because of their home-field advantage, you have to like Southern Culture any time they play the Triangle. With friends and well-wishers in abundance, it's like an alcohol-aided Thanksgiving with occasional flying drumsticks and airborne banana pudding. Guitarist Rick Miller shreds reverb and twang-inspired idioms like a thresher able to separate historic charm from clichéd chaff, while Mary Huff and Dave Hartman hold down the rhythm with class. Their live shows are pure electricity, filled with heart-stopping good times and hair-raising playing built for locomotion. But they'd rather you shake your ass than raise your fist, affording an opening for the punch of an old rebel like David Allan Coe. With Mad Tea Party and Pinche Gringo. At CAT'S CRADLE. $12-$14/ 9:30 p.m.



From: Akron, Ohio
Since: 1967
Famous for: Epitomizing and sustaining the danger and rebellious spirit of outlaw country

Coe has an answer for Southern Culture's energetic high jinks—a middle-finger salute and an accompanying slew of profanity. Coe's notoriously bawdy tracks could out-redneck anything Rick Miller might compose in jest, while tunes like "Longhaired Redneck" and "If That Ain't Country" share a reverent, rustic irreverence SCOTS could surely appreciate. While some have written of outlaws, Coe has lived like one, and his unapologetic stance brings unrivaled verité to his music, like Springsteen if he'd never left Jersey. Coe's an ornery hick as honest as the day's long and a living legend who'd kick anyone into next week for a swig of Jack. It's Coe winning by a dreadlock. With Rebel Son. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $20-$25/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker



click to enlarge Curtains of Night
  • Curtains of Night

Two nights loaded with four-band bills in one club generally constitute a mini-festival tag and a cover charge. But that wouldn't fit the five-year-strong spirit of The Reservoir, the multipurpose dive bar (see a rock band; watch the Tar Heels; drink beer) that still proudly operates beneath the banner, "cheapest beer and liquor in Chapel Hill and Carrboro" as it celebrates half a decade. Local music lost a treasure when the venue Go! Room 4 closed in the same space, so several employees and regulars banded together and started something new in the void. Befitting the red walls, the Bolshevik bent of its logo and the mass of workers awaiting a drink painted on one of its walls, these shows—basically, ultimate customer-appreciation parties—are free.

Don't let the price deceive: Friday night's bill fuses psychedelic storms and metallic minimalism. Chapel Hill's down-tempo, high-anxiety Curtains of Night and New York's twisting-riff, marching-rhythm Orphan offer two-piece heaviness, while Eric Wallen's Minor Stars suggest Spiritualized in the gutter. Headliners Death Came Down the Mountain growl and pound around skewed electric blues, like Black Sabbath wrestling an Amphetamine Reptile. Saturday's finale is essential: From the Southern-sun glow of Caltrop's blistering something-like-metal to the delightful crackle of Transportation's classic pop, it's a bill without a miss. Mathematically minded trios Monsonia and Fin Fang Foom take the one and three slots. Free/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin


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