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The guide to the week's concerts 



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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Bruce Piephoff & Scott Sawyer, Hindugrass/ Phil Cook, The Moaners, The Dirty Little Heaters, The Loners, Deleted Scenes, The Urban Sophisticates, Inflowential, Katharine Whalen & Friends, King Khan and the Shrines, Public Nudity Songwriters Series

VS.: Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk vs. Robert Earl Keen

VS.: One Night of Queen vs. Experience Hendrix



YES, PLEASE...

click to enlarge Bruce Piephoff - PHOTO BY ELIZABETH LEMON/ THE DOTMATRIXPROJECT
  • Photo by Elizabeth Lemon/ the dotmatrixproject
  • Bruce Piephoff

03.25 BRUCE PIEPHOFF & SCOTT SAWYER @ SIX STRING CAFE

There's no shortage of directions you can go when tagging Greensboro folk/ roots vet Bruce Piephoff: Guy Clark of the Carolinas. Poet Laureate of the Piedmont. Master Craftsman. And the finger-picking Piephoff has earned those titles across 40 years of music-making, 20 records and two collections of poetry whose titles—Fiddlers and Middlers and Honky Tonk Stradivarius—speak to the characters and contrasts that fill his work. Scott Sawyer, who's accompanying Piephoff for the show, is well-traveled in a couple senses, too: He's performed on five continents, and his music has journeyed from jazz and blues to rock and country. $6–$8/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell

03.25 HINDUGRASS/ PHIL COOK @ UNC's CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH

Last fall, Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer stopped by UNC to play their new fusion of Indian and bluegrass music, but the local Hindugrass beat them to the punch by over a decade. Formed in 1998, the quintet blends Appalachian and North Indian traditions to create ragas punctuated as much by jaw harp as tablas. The sarod—think a deep sitar—guides many of the tunes, ringing somewhere between a dobro and banjo. Bass and fiddle round out a timeless and placeless sound that explores jams both breathless and contemplative. No stranger to bluegrass or improvisation, Megafaun's Phil Cook joins for a free show on the lawn. 5 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey

click to enlarge Deleted Scenes - PHOTO BY JESSICA RIAL
  • Photo by Jessica Rial
  • Deleted Scenes

03.26 DELETED SCENES @ THE PINHOOK

Excellent D.C. quartet Deleted Scenes uses many of the same devices that have long made Canada's Broken Social Scene such an effective, anthemic rock band: They stagger their instruments carefully, adding bass or a texture late into the song, elevating the drama and boosting the triumph. And they have fun with strong hooks, sometimes driving them deep and other times treating them like a play toy. One-man Wilmington, N.C., beat squad Lands of Wonder renders expansive electronic instrumentals with cascades of digital percussion, thin veins of synthesizer and precise pedal noise serving as the meat's marbling. Spry young Cary indie rock trio Lille Bronze opens. $5/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge The Moaners
  • The Moaners

03.26 THE MOANERS, THE DIRTY LITTLE HEATERS, THE LONERS @ THE POUR HOUSE

It's a rock 'n' roll smokehouse with plenty of punch to tenderize the toughest chews. The Loners' saucy strut boasts a bluesy swagger dirty enough to hip check you headfirst into the boards. Adding organ to the thunder of Dirty Little Heaters has afforded the quartet new depth and texture, augmenting a rock groove that's already so heavy it catches rubber anytime it accelerates. Headliners The Moaners' spooky, distortion-draped thrill ride turns figure eights across the blues graveyard. However, they promise their forthcoming album will explore a quieter, softer side. With The Big Death Scene. $7/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker

03.27 THE URBAN SOPHISTICATES, INFLOWENTIAL @ THE POUR HOUSE

A trifecta of the Triangle and Triad's finest hip-hop bands: The Urban Sophisticates hold it down for the latter with swanky horns, the silky smooth hooks of Aaron James adding a sense of savoir vivre to head-nodding rhythms and brother Benton's party-friendly flow. Born on the bricks of N.C. State, Inflowential's well-honed live show—requisite beatbox showcase and all—is a calling card so strong that the progressively minded crew's practically abandoned the recording studio. Durham quartet The Beast seamlessly bridges conscious rhymes with jazz sensibilities. Also, local slam poet turned rhymer Allen Mask opens (not the television doc from WRAL). $8–$10/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

03.27 KATHARINE WHALEN & FRIENDS @ FORTY ACRES HOUSE CONCERT

Even those most captivated by Katharine Whalen's contributions to the Squirrel Nut Zippers and her own Jazz Squad might have viewed her as a vintage-music one-trick chanteuse. But her Dirty Little Secret LP contradicted that notion, its pop hopping across genres as that striking voice rode big-band grooves and trip-hop beats. All that said, when she brings her Parlour Folk Troupe to the Five Oaks Clubhouse for a Forty Acres House Concert, you can expect some semi-costumed period drama (and spelling) to go with the music. $15/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell

click to enlarge King Khan
  • King Khan

03.29 KING KHAN AND THE SHRINES @ CAT'S CRADLE

Proving that garage rock doesn't have to be some atavistic endeavor, King Khan and the Shrines purvey a horn-abetted, soul-soaked vibe with a groovy abandon that's at once sophisticated and booty-shaking. Their Indo-Canadian frontman and namesake has been banging the garage rock drum for more than 15 year, first with the Spaceshits and then with side project King Khan and the BBQ Show. Khan's ample energy is the engine, but he's driving a pretty sturdy chassis, even when exploding into psychedelics. Their road map overflows with switchback curves, steep grimy garage grades and funky straightaways that don't necessarily go anywhere but really chew up the scenery. $14–$16/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker

03.30 PUBLIC NUDITY SONGWRITERS SERIES @ BROAD STREET CAFE

Host Greg Humphreys has done an excellent job establishing this monthly series in Durham. And as March's installment makes clear, Humphreys' stage is not just reserved for those who travel in your more classic singer/songwriter circles. Dirty Little Heaters' Reese McHenry and Red Collar's Jay Kutchma step away from their decidedly non-folk-rock bands to play and talk tunes and, in the process, raise the curtain a bit on the songwriting process. Joining that pair is the blues-based Sol, who powers his songs with guitar and banjo and has learned from the likes of John Dee Holeman and George Higgs. Free/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell


SUNDAY, MARCH 28

click to enlarge Dumpstaphunk
  • Dumpstaphunk

IVAN NEVILLE'S DUMPSTAPHUNK

Since: 2002

From: New Orleans

Claim to fame: Bringing the phunk, Neville-style

Dumpstaphunk has never written a song titled "The Road Goes on Forever." But the Ivan Neville-led quintet, whose flashback funk has an urban edge and famously features two members of New Orleans' first family of rhythm (cousin Ian joins Ivan), could if it wanted to. First, it'd become "ThaRoadGoesOnForeva"—it's a funk thing—and it might even borrow George Clinton's pronouncement that "soul is a ham hock in your corn flakes." The musical ride would consist of gritty guitars, wild-hair flights of keyboard and a primo bacon double-bass bottom as thick as it is greasy. And the party sure enough would never end. $10–$12/ 9 p.m. At CAT'S CRADLE.

VS.

click to enlarge Robert Earl Keen
  • Robert Earl Keen

ROBERT EARL KEEN

Since: 1984

From: Kerrville, Texas, by way of Houston

Claim to fame: Bringing the stories, Texas-style

Robert Earl Keen has never written a song titled "LivinInaWorlGoneMad." But Keen, who's a member in fine standing of the Texas Songwriters Society and who famously was Lyle Lovett's early-days next-door neighbor, could if he wanted to. First, he'd separate the words, although he wouldn't add the "g" at the end of "Livin." Then, even though the madness is universal, he'd set the song in Austin, maybe Corpus Christi. It'd tell an amusing story, peaking at poignant, backed by a catchy, rootsy crackle and strum. And the crowd would sure enough sing along. At the LINCOLN THEATRE. $22–$25/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell



SUNDAY, MARCH 28

ONE NIGHT OF QUEEN

Since: 2001

From: Glasgow, Scotland

Claim to fame: Gary Mullen's astounding physical and vocal resemblance to the late Freddy Mercury

As tribute acts go, Gary Mullen and the Works have a lot going for them. Foremost among these assets is Mullen, who not only pulls off Mercury's vocal gymnastics but brings a similar flair to the performance. It doesn't hurt, of course, that Queen's music features a commensurate level of theatricality and rock pomp to lure the crowd, but the haymaker isn't the prog-metal power so much as their unerring sense of melody. Even lyrical piffles like "Bicycle Race" boast endearing hooks. Though Mullen & Co. took some heat on their predilection for Queen's inferior '80s output (a miscalculation they've allegedly corrected), there are enough timeless hits in their catalog that most won't notice the absence of less heralded tracks like "Death on Two Legs." Mullen walks the strut. At MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM. $20–$25/ 6 p.m.

VS.

EXPERIENCE HENDRIX

Since: 1995

From: Seattle

Claim to fame: An ever-expanding lineup of musicians influenced by and playing Hendrix's music

Because the traveling act devoted to the work of Jimi Hendrix dovetails with the release of new posthumous tracks, the sense of ghoulish financial opportunism tends to overshadow the tribute aspect. However Hendrix's genius was so grand, it's hard not to be drawn to the recently released discs and these performances, whatever the underlying motive. While it'd be nice if they'd assembled a better set of musicians, there are some highlights. The relevance of formerly mass-marketed young turks like Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Doyle Bramhall II and (to a lesser extent) Jonny Lang has receded with their advancing age, but Eric Johnson and Robert Randolph are a big draw. Aerosmith's rhythm guitarist (Brad Whitford), and cultural fossil Living Colour don't add much, but Stevie Ray Vaughan's drummer Chris Layton and Band of Gypsys bassist Billy Cox provide a sturdy backbone. Given Hendrix's outlandish talent, even a cast of nearly/barely-weres like this has enough ammunition for attention. At DURHAM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER. $39.50–$75/ 7: 30 p.m. —Chris Parker

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