This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Audrey Auld, The Old Ceremony, Schooner, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, The Deadstring Brothers, Corrosion of Conformity, Black Tusk, Orquesta Gardel
VS.: Monte Montgomery vs. Cool John Ferguson
VS.: Black Cobra vs. Korn
INTRODUCING: Spring Collection
07.30 AUDREY AULD @ OPEN EYE CAFÉ
My friends Cynthia and her husband, Lee, host house concerts in Las Cruces, N.M., with singer-songwriter Audrey Auld among the performers who have graced their living room. So this one's all theirs. Says Cynthia: "Audrey's got a great voice and writes intelligent lyrics. You laugh, cry, clap your hands and sing along—sometimes all on the same song!" Adds Lee, "What Cynthia said. Plus Audrey has a bit different view of the world, having grown up in Tasmania. She has a right wicked sense of humor." There you go. 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell
07.30 THE OLD CEREMONY, SCHOONER @ THE POUR HOUSE
Let's say tonight's sets from The Old Ceremony and Schooner average a cool dozen songs each. If that's the case, just under two dozen hooks are going to claw for your memory, as both Schooner's Reid Johnson and The Old Ceremony's Django Haskins are two of the area's finest melody makers. Though Johnson and Haskins decorate their tunes in vastly different ways, they bring a classic pop ease to their creations. Nothing ever feels rushed, so their best songs—Schooner's "Feel Better," for instance," or The Old Ceremony's "Plate Tectonics"—feel like tunes that have been waiting an eternity to be sung. $8–$10/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
07.30 J. RODDY WALSTON & THE BUSINESS @ SLIM'S
Following the release of their self-titled debut full-length on Vagrant Records (a label they belong on about as well as The Hold Steady, which is to say not very well at all), Baltimore's J. Roddy Walston & The Business are poised to outgrow small rooms and reach the level they've long deserved (and might've easily attained in the '70s). It's almost a shame, too; a dive like Slim's is ideal for the quartet's beefy, arena-size bar rock, powered by pounded piano chords and a rowdy Southern boogie but laced with irresistible hooks. Former members of Prabir & The Substitutes keep up the punchy power pop in young Richmond four-piece The Trillions. $7/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
07.31 THE DEADSTRING BROTHERS, WHITEY MORGAN & THE 78S @ BERKELEY CAFE
If you've given up on the self-parody of The Rolling Stones, put your faith in Detroit's Deadstring Brothers. The Bloodshot Records quintet summons the ragged Muscle Shoals spirit of
Sticky Fingers with the occasional detour through twang. Labelmates and fellow Michiganders Whitey Morgan & The 78s would sound right at home between Waylon and Willie on an old-school honky-tonk station. Local openers Calico Haunts bring swirling, enchanted Americana haunted by frontman Alexander Holt Iglehart's detached vocals, while Rachel Koontz & The Morning After jazz up jammy string band tunes. $10/ 8:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
07.31 CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, BLACK TUSK, US CHRISTMAS @ THE POUR HOUSE
The big story here is the return of the original Raleigh hardcore (and, eventually, crossover) institution Corrosion of Conformity. Mike Dean, Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin started the thing at the dawn of the '80s, though a dozen others eventually dotted their three-decade chronology. COC is headed to California for The Power of the Riff Festival, curated by Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) and Goatsnake, so consider this a warm-up. The better story, though, might be the intersection of Black Tusk and U.S. Christmas, two rising stars in Southern metal: Black Tusk's direct maw mixes hardcore clip and stoner viscosity, not unlike latter iterations of COC, while U.S. Christmas refracts and reshapes its psychedelic metal between twin poles of doom and chug. Also, Mike Dean's Righteous Fool. $12–$15/ 9:30 p.m.—Grayson Currin
07.31 ORQUESTA GARDEL @ SAXAPAHAW RIVERMILL
What do you get when you mix organic, heirloom tomatoes and Cuban rhythms? Salsa, of course. Orquesta GarDel, a full-service, 12-piece Latin band, is a magnet for Triangle salseros, so you're sure to see dancing among the hay bales. Behind the scenes, GarDel is recording its first EP, which will be ready to drop from the vine this fall. All the studio woodshedding showed at their recent Eno Festival performance, which was a scorcher in more than one sense—proving once again that GarDel remains the hottest salsa band in North Carolina. Donation/ 5 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger
SATURDAY, JULY 31
Since: Late '80s
Claim to fame: Great guitar skill, particularly on the acoustic
Monte Montgomery's like a stock Chevy with something special under the hood—namely, his nimble playing. His polished, factory-fresh look is exemplified by his adult contemporary approach, which finds closest comparison in John Mayer. Like Mayer, Montgomery weaves a supple blues swagger into jammy, easy-going pop with as much bite as a newborn. His six-string surveys a sultry Texas-blues air with a little British flavor, but only the breaks sound inspired, like a lousy Super Bowl where you find yourself anticipating the commercials more than the game. He's got the horsepower but spends most of his time stopped at lights. At CAT'S CRADLE. $10–$12/ 8:30 p.m.
COOL JOHN FERGUSON
From: Beaufort, S.C.
Claim to fame: Fiery electric guitar work, strong voice and a background in gospel
Witnessing Cool John Ferguson's performances provokes a number of disquieting thoughts, ranging from "I should just quit playing guitar" to "It's entirely too big of a world if this guy goes unremarked." Live, he's likely to deliver a still-steaming slab of blues barbeque carved with precision, but his albums showcase greater depth, with smoldering ballads and juke-joint jive alongside jazzy cabaret sway and gospel-driven exultation. His vocals are nearly as versatile as his playing, veering from low basso rumble to a smooth baritone purr. While the commercial world may have heaped more rewards on Montgomery, in the land of talent, Ferguson whoops that ass. At PAPA MOJO'S ROADHOUSE. $12/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
TUESDAY, AUGUST 3
From: San Francisco, Calif.
Claim to fame: Underground skuzz-metal for the era of hipster-metal and the micro-niche
On a 2007 tour supporting Pelican, Black Cobra laid waste to at least one underfilled venue. They were, at least to a 21-year-old, unknown and captivating. Amid his full-body flailing, Jason Landrian's guitar claims the space of three, while drummer Rafael Martinez's drumsticks land like grenades. Today, they've ascended to the Southern Lord ranks, filling last year's monolithic, if monochromatic, Chronomega with bitter sludge riffs. They, like Korn, have found a musical comfort zone from which they rarely depart. Tourmates Howl deliver monster-size riffs on their Sleep-induced Full of Hell, while Struck By Lighting picks up the pace on its bottom-heavy punk-metal. Local warriors Hog claim the support slot, anchoring this package of underground metal bona fides. $10–12/ 8 p.m. At VOLUME 11 TAVERN.
From: Bakersfield, Calif.
Claim to fame: Chart-topping hard rock for the era of Woodstock '99 and Columbine
For the succession of afternoons Carson Daly introduced "Freak on a Leash" on MTV's TRL, Korn was, at least to a 12-year-old, dangerous and captivating. Today, they're a comeback act. At least this year's Korn III: Remember Who You Are sounds as though it could have followed immediately after 1998's chart-topping Follow the Leader; the band's staggering, head-fucked funk grooves are intact, meeting Nine Inch Nails arena-industrial with nü-metal bite. Jonathan Davis redirects self-loathing by howling and growling invectives at any number of unnamed yous. Korn co-headlines with Rob Zombie—whose similar sound brings dissimilar themes—and a heap of 2000s metalcore acts, including Norma Jean, Lamb of God and Shadows Fall. This Rockstar Energy Drink-sponsored "Mayhem Festival," then, is a sort of working timeline of overground metal for the masses. At WALNUT CREEK AMPHITHEATER. $19–$49.50/ 2:15 p.m. —Bryan Reed
07.29 SPRING COLLECTION @ TIR NA NOG
While rooted in the raw Raleigh rock 'n' roll sound bred at seedy dives like Sadlack's and Slim's, the fledgling four-piece The Spring Collection adds a mod twist. Both huge Beatles fans, frontman and songwriter Sam Madison—who's led The Bleeding Hearts and Bloodmobile—and keyboardist Greg Rice of The Cartridge Family and Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass Kickin' Team bounced around the idea of a mod-centered band for more than a year. They made it a reality after a drunken conversation with Bright Young Things bassist Mark Connor last winter at Raleigh Times.
"We were very excited when we realized later exactly what we agreed to," recalls Connor, who forms a peppy rhythm section alongside The Last Tallboy drummer Terry Ford, a former bandmate of Rice.
Named after the first track on The Vapors' debut, The Spring Collection is largely influenced by fellow '70s British new wave and power pop acts Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Squeeze and XTC, along with contemporaries like The Rifles and The Pigeon Detectives. Those inspirations are apparent in Madison's songwriting. The band also pays allegiance to the Motown bands that helped shape mod in the first place, giving a garage rock snarl to their take on Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rodgers' "First I Look At The Purse." Along with such choice covers, the quartet has several originals in the bag and plans to hit the studio in August to record an EP that will be released later this year. With Chapel Hill's brooding blues-rock duo The Moaners. Free/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith