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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Fred Eaglesmith & the Flying Squirrels, Bio Ritmo, The Darnell Woodies, John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff, Stratocruiser, Megafaun, Mosadi Music, Laurelyn Dossett and the Providence Gap Band, Free Electric State, Citified, All Leather, Yip Yip, more

VS.: Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band vs. Jessica Lea Mayfield

VS.: Arrington de Dionyso's Malaikat Dan Singa vs. Lechuguillas



YES, PLEASE...

05.06 FRED EAGLESMITH & THE FLYING SQUIRRELS @ BERKELEY CAFE

So many songs, so many penetrating lines—such is the catalogue of Canada's roots rocker laureate Fred Eaglesmith. "Water in the Fuel," the tale of a restless trucker from 1997's brilliant Lipstick Lies & Gasoline, is one of the best, and these are some that burrow the deepest: "You wanted to buy that little trailer out on the edge with the money you saved/ It had a carport, a color TV, and no place to turn around." Such is the lot of Eaglesmith's characters, who, to paraphrase another pretty fair songwriter, would be luck-free if it weren't for hard luck. The Fabulous Ginn Sisters open. $15/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell

05.06 BIO RITMO @ THE POUR HOUSE

Bio Ritmo is a band you'd expect to find in Brooklyn, not the dirty South: Its indie salsa originals sound like lost vinyl from the '70s, complete with psychedelic experiments and funky excursions. Though the band is still rooted in Richmond, one member just moved to New York full-time, since the Ritmo has established itself there as a regular favorite. (They recorded a live DVD at SOB's in March.) Urban groovemeister Aaron Levinson is producing their forthcoming album, due out this year, so Bio Ritmo may be on the verge of busting through the breakthrough bubble once again. Hear them before it pops. With Umoja Orchestra. $8–$10/ 9 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger

05.07 THE DARNELL WOODIES, JOHN HOWIE JR. & THE ROSEWOOD BLUFF, STRATOCRUISER @ BROAD STREET CAFE

The Triad's Matt Smith got his start playing in punk bands before forming the Johnsons in the mid '90s. That group's mix of roots rock and Texas singing-songwriting gone Piedmont made a perfect match with those alt-country times. For Act 3 of his music career, Smith now leads the Winston-Salem-based Darnell Woodies, who play stringband music with punkish pluck; think The Pogues having a go at "Raleigh and Spencer." John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff bring the sounds of Bakersfield and of the first wave of California country rock to the bill, while Stratocruiser provides the big-guitar, big-voice melodic rock. $7/ 10 p.m. —Rick Cornell

05.07 MEGAFAUN @ CAT'S CRADLE

To borrow a word from Megafaun's forthcoming mini-LP, Heretofore, comprovisation is a perfect descriptor of the Triangle trio's approach. The three-piece thrives on the give-and-take interaction between studio composition and live improvisation, to the point that the two are often indistinguishable. The result is a mess of refined roots strained through postmodern experimentation. Last year's acclaimed Gather, Form and Fly featured top-notch songwriting given innovative arrangements. Setting the mood are Mount Moriah's rustic shuffles, which conjure foggy Appalachian peaks, and the Muscle Shoals feel of The Great White Jenkins' soulful R&B revival. $10/ 8:30 p.m.—Spencer Griffith

05.08 MOSADI MUSIC @ THE PINHOOK

Alternating between the aggressive rap-rock rhythms of Rage Against the Machine and sturdy soul-jazz grooves, the versatile Mosadi Music's secret weapon is emcee Shirlette Ammons, who flows with the laid-back consciousness of a slam poet and spits with the machine gun intensity of a militant rapper. About halfway through recording the follow-up to 2008's cinematic Snake Charmer and Destiny at the Stroke of Midnight, violinist Daniel Hart, who now lives in Los Angeles, returns with his string-laden chamber rock ensemble The Physics of Meaning. Humble Tripe sits in the bill's middle with its intricate, dreamy indie pop. $5/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

click to enlarge Laurelyn Dossett and The Providence Gap Band
  • Laurelyn Dossett and The Providence Gap Band

05.08 LAURELYN DOSSETT THE PROVIDENCE GAP BAND @ SAXAPAHAW MUSIC SERIES

Laurelyn Dossett stays busy. When the Polecat Creek founder isn't writing songs or performing them on stage, she's teaching others how to write songs or working with stage performers. In that last capacity, she's helped develop several music-rich plays for Triad Stage with playwright Preston Lane, including Brother Wolf, an Appalachian version of Beowulf. (It's worth noting that Levon Helm recorded Dossett's "Anna Lee," a song from Brother Wolf, for his Dirt Farmer record.) Dossett and Lane's latest collaboration is titled Providence Gap, and this free show—on a hillside above the Haw River, no less—will focus on songs from the new production. 6 p.m. —Rick Cornell

05.08 FREE ELECTRIC STATE, CITIFIED @ BROAD STREET CAFE

Both Free Electric State and Citified often get tagged for their shoegazer influence—that is, they let sheets of distortion and drone hover like low-lying clouds of volcanic ash in their songs. And while that comparison certainly has its merit, it doesn't really allow for the variety that the two My Bloody Valentine and Ride acolytes boast: Citified coats songs that have more to do with the Southern jangle of Let's Active and The dB's than the German aggression of bands like Kraftwerk and Neu!, the progenitors of Free Electric State's finest moments. $5/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge All Leather
  • All Leather

05.09 ALL LEATHER, YIP YIP @ LOCAL 506

At first glance, All Leather looks completely missable—a sexed-up pseudo-industrial rehash, especially if one goes on a photo alone. But leather-clad frontman Justin Pearson led the Bay Area grindcore group The Locust, and they blasted clean, precise static and enjoyed healthy theatrics, donning body suits and facemasks that made them look like insect spies. All Leather move fast, too, and it's a fragrant trash, with a bit of Al Jourgensen's sleaze added for good fuck. This should be one of the most amped shows of the summer. With Floridian 8-bit new wavers Yip Yip and local madman Cheezface. $8 —Chris Toenes


TUESDAY, MAY 11

click to enlarge Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band
  • Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band

JOSH RITTER & THE ROYAL CITY BAND

From: Moscow, Idaho
Since: 1999
Claim to fame: Romance and devastation, bound by a bright smile

"Folk Bloodbath," the most stunning song from So Runs the World Away, the latest in a string of captivating albums by Josh Ritter, tells you all you need to know about its writer's music in a little more than five minutes. The tune opens with Louis Collins, the much-mourned character of the Mississippi John Hurt murder ballad of the same name. In Ritter's vision, Collins loves Delia Green, the woman of whom Dylan and Cash and most everyone else has sung after she was murdered by her lover. Collins feels the pain his mom felt when he was killed, and now it's his turn to die. That venomous folk antihero Stagger Lee shoots Collins in the back of the head, only to be sentenced to death by "Hangin'" Billy Lyons—yes, the same man who, in folklore, Lee himself killed. Ritter, pensive and worried, surveys the damage and mourns for himself: "I'm looking over rooftops/ And I'm hoping it ain't true/ That the same god looks out for them looks out for me and you." Educated and elegant, with the wisdom of a starry-eyed cynic and the melodies of a top-notch craftsman, Ritter's songwriting is among the best of his generation. Dawn Landes—a Brooklyn songwriter who sings gracefully, whether the songs are gentle or jarring, and who married Ritter last year—opens. At CAROLINA THEATRE. $20–$25/ 8 p.m.

VS.

click to enlarge Jessica Lea Mayfield
  • Jessica Lea Mayfield

JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD

From: Kent, Ohio
Since: 2000
Claim to fame: Lust and loneliness, bound by winning disaffection

"Hold You Close," the most stunning song from With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt, the dimly lit, bright-future second album from Jessica Lea Mayfield, tells you all you need to know about its writer's music in a little more than two minutes. First, it's a relatively simple love song of only three verses, each bound by Mayfield's confessionals about the ways she needs love to make her behave. She wants to miss her man, and she wants to kiss him. She wants to put trust in this future, and she wants, as the title suggests, "to hold you close to me." But if this is love, one shivers to imagine what Mayfield's disinterest must sound like. She sighs the song over a listless acoustic drift, the moans of an electric guitar stabbing the midnight air like a night creature's distant cry. There's something mildly askance in this relationship, too, especially since Mayfield's quest for partnership sometimes seems to carry the veil of threat. "I wanna feel you breathing down my neck/ I wanna see just what you see," she says, teasing the song's end before landing a subtle but important revelation: "When I hold you close to me." She's more interested in how she looks and feels in love rather than in the experience itself. Love her now, it seems, or she'll find someone else. Mayfield generally bathes points of light in beds of shadow, wrapping graceful country tunes in sinister shimmer. Like Ritter, she's among the absolute best of her peers. With The Futurebirds. At LOCAL 506. $10/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin


WEDNESDAY, MAY 12

ARRINGTON DE DIONYSO'S MALAIKAT DAN SINGA

From: Olympia, Wash.
Since: 1995
Claim to fame: Throat-singing in front of Old Time Relijun

Having already conquered post-punk brouhaha with Old Time Relijun, Arrington de Dionyso brings the new band he's named for his 2009 LP, Malaikat Dan Singa. With it, he pushes the extremes of his fascination with Eastern music, mysticism and out-minded excursions, ditching the English language altogether for Indonesian. But this linguistic sucker punch only seems to expand the music's brain-bending potential. At LOCAL 506. $8/ 9:30 p.m.

VS.

LECHUGUILLAS

From: Chicago
Since: 2009
Claim to fame: Well, none yet

Try as they might, Chicago trio Lechuguillas will never out-weird Arrington de Dionyso. In fairness, they're not really playing the same game: They're aiming to peel skin from faces, not entrance with psychedelics. The trio's scabrous guitar skree and choked vocals play like an acid bath or a sandpaper rubdown. They're the blunt instruments serving as the inverse of de Dionyso's mind-over-matter approach. At NIGHTLIGHT. 9:30 p.m. —Bryan Reed

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