This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Colossus, Constrictor, Guitar Shorty, Cesar Comanche, Max Indian, Twelve Thousand Armies, The Houstons, Beausoleil, Brad Paisley, Mandolin Orange, Embarrassing Fruits, Gray Young, Blood Feathers, Lions at Lunchtime
VS.: Paul Edelman vs. Paul Thorn
INTRODUCING: This Year's Models
08.26 COLOSSUS, CONSTRICTOR @ THE RESERVOIR
With chugging guitars, intense dual solos, mercilessly driving percussion and Sean Buchanan's heroic vocals, Colossus exemplifies metal that can be both intense and fun. Preferring subjects such as trolls, zombies and the wendigo, a cannibalistic spirit from Algonquin lore, Colossus' songs play like the airbrushed sides of a conversion van. Heavy metal and D&D should never have divorced in the first place, so it's good to see them back together. Constrictor's up-tempo punk metal is heavy-hitting, aggressive and familiar without being dated. Perhaps it's this quartet's no-bullshit arrangements, or maybe it's their passionate delivery and galloping drums, but headbanging and moshing suddenly seem like a very good idea. Free/ 10 p.m. —Corbie Hill
08.27 GUITAR SHORTY @ BLUE BAYOU CLUB
A snappy moniker, especially one featuring an instrument, tends to earn notice. Even more noteworthy is a "has played with" list that includes Ray Charles and Sam Cooke. Check (although he had nothing to do with his name's origin) and check for Guitar Shorty—or, on legal documents, David William Kearney. But without the skills and presence to back up such things, they're merely fodder for, well, the first two sentences of a preview. No problem for Shorty, who presents his Texas blues with such a fiery fury that commanding attention is never a concern, although scorch marks are. $16–$20/ 9:30 p.m. —Rick Cornell
08.27 CESAR COMANCHE @ THE POUR HOUSE
For the most part, the rap elders who used to supervise the Triangle's hip-hop scene have slipped out, leaving a school of choleric baby emcees alone in their playpens, shaking the damn thing and demanding their equal doses of fan coddling. Maybe what these brats really need is for some time-honed overseer to reappear on the scene and chop some necks. In his own way, Justus League co-founder Cesar Comanche has been doing just that for years—mentoring young acts, trimming away the fat, all while still crafting his own career. Take this one-man show as an offering of gratitude, and, most important, a fancy reintroduction to one of N.C.'s hip-hop architects, just in case you forgot. With upstarts Rapsody, Lazurus, SkyBlew, DJ Flash and DJ Gonzo. $10/ 10 p.m. —Eric Tullis
08.27 MAX INDIAN, TWELVE THOUSAND ARMIES, THE HOUSTONS @ LOCAL 506
And so (almost) ends one of the area's most promising little ideas: Max Indian will play one more show after tonight's headlining gig (at Hopscotch, opening for Lucero) before retiring their perfectly loose, Beatles-cum-Badfinger cool. The inevitable end's taken the oomph out of the band's most recent shows, but, with luck, sparks will fly for this exit preview. At least they go out in good company. Twelve Thousand Armies is the bleary-eyed, hair-of-the-dog pop of Justin Williams, a songwriter whose catalogue teeters on nights of pleasure and totters on mornings of pain and any permutation of the two. Meanwhile, Charlotte's The Houston Brothers (actually, Justin and Matt Faircloth) are one of the state's most enjoyable units, dampening Wolf Parade's hyper-color rock élan with keyboard-covered Southern torpor. $5/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
08.27 BEAUSOLEIL @ THE ARTSCENTER
A fiddle skitters and swoops over a sharp, pulsing beat as meat-and-potatoes accordion pushes people out of their seats. Over the past 35 years, BeauSoleil has helped define Cajun music with a couple dozen albums, about a dozen Grammy nominations and a few wins, too. The band's most recent release, 2009's Alligator Purse, continues the band's tradition of welcoming disparate musical influences from jazz and zydeco to the further afield rock and bluegrass. Even with these influences, the lyrics are more likely than not to be in Cajun French, delivered by leader and fiddler Michael Doucet in an Acadian, sing-song holler. Slower waltzes epitomize true longing, and up-tempo numbers reel with the breathless excitement of a dance hall. Fortunately, the floor will be open to anyone inspired to move. $21–$23/ 8:30 p.m., with dance lessons at 8 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey
08.28 BRAD PAISLEY @ TIME WARNER CABLE MUSIC PAVILION
If the sunny weekend forecast is any indication, the only precipitation slated for Brad Paisley's H20 World Tour stop in Raleigh should be the singer's summertime smash "Water," a tongue-in-cheek ode cut from the same country cloth as previous hits "Alcohol" and "Online." The concert, a literal take on Paisley's American Saturday Night album, will combine the singer's talent for straightforward, humorous riffs on pop culture with impressive guitar riffs on his beloved 1968 Fender. Former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker and redneck rebel yeller Justin Moore will join Paisley onstage, but anyone with a soft spot for George Strait or Alan Jackson should check out the Water World Plaza Stage. Newcomer Easton Corbin, joined by Josh Thompson and CMT's Can You Duet winner, Steel Magnolia, will satisfy Paisley fans keen on the superstar's steel-laced, neotraditional roots. $39.25–$71.75/ 4 p.m. —Karlie Justus
08.28 MANDOLIN ORANGE @ SAXAPAHAW
The fragile country-folk of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz serves as an elegy to the end of the Rivermill's summer music series. The duo balances guitar, fiddle and mandolin to evoke peeling white-picket fences, smooth apple butter and crinkling brown leaves. With a voice like that of a more delicate Damien Jurado, Marlin goes to the well of traditional folk themes and emotes his own pensive reflections on love, doom and the pastoral life. Like lovers grasping hands on a windy fall day, Frantz's vocal harmonies warm the cool music. The two musicians value the quiet spaces in songs as much as the noise, creating a filigree of guitar strong enough to support the sweeping stroke of a bow. Donations/ 6 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey
08.28 EMBARRASSING FRUITS, GRAY YOUNG @ THE CAVE
In the beginning, Embarrassing Fruits was a plenty-likable North Carolina indie rock trio, with the slacker slouch of Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. sweetened by the chime and charms of Versus and The Feelies. But across its last two albums, last year's Community/ Exploitation and the forthcoming Frontier Justice, the Fruits have maintained that welcoming shrug while smartly augmenting it. Whether by a trumpet line here or shouted harmonies there, but mostly thanks to sneer strong enough to swipe the slacker tag away, the Carrboro trio is finally putting its influences in forward. Gray Young earns similar throwback comparisons for their three-piece, post-rock grandeur, chiseled by a love of pop-rock efficiency. Donation/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
08.29 BLOOD FEATHERS, LIONS AT LUNCHTIME @ THE CAVE
Ben Dickey of Amen Booze Rooster and Drew Mills of Aspera lead the energetic folk of Philly sextet Blood Feathers, adding a dose of '60s roots rock. Music vets Dickey and Mills are accompanied by seasoned players, ensuring that they're a pretty tight unit despite a shambling profligacy treading perilously close to jam band territory. With one singer preciously adenoidal and the other gruff, the vocals work through contrast. Though the hooks could be sharper, the playing is crisp enough that your attention never strays far. Local openers Lions at Lunchtime indulge a '70s classic rock jones. $5/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker
FRIDAY, AUG. 27
From: Asheville, by way of points northeast
Since: Late '90s
Claim to fame: Hard-charging Americana
This Paul is out of western Carolina, but he got his start as a member of such Philly bands as The Boxcars, The Butcher Holler Boys and Naked Omaha. These days he leads his own outfit, the Jangling Sparrow. And if that name suggests the Americana-before-there-was-Americana phase of The Byrds, well, that's somewhere in the ballpark, at least as far as melodic and songwriting touch are concerned. But McGuinn and company never put together anything as crunch-rocking as Edelman's "Lonestar Mile." In Paul terms, Edelman's north of Burch, way west of McCartney. The acoustic quintet WestGlen precedes Edelman at 8 p.m., though their Paul affiliations are unclear. At BROAD STREET CAFE. Free.
From: Tupelo, Miss.
Claim to fame: Hard-hitting Americana
This Paul comes from south of Carolina, and when he first hit the scene, the storytelling hook was that he once boxed Roberto Duran. A fitting tidbit, since Thorn has gone on to traffic successfully in punchy roots rock and a kind of black-eyed soul. The former is best epitomized by "800 Pound Jesus" from his 1997 debut, the latter by "Tequila is Good for the Heart," a dream of a prescription and one of the highlights of his recent Pimps and Preachers. In Paul terms, Thorn's east of Barrere, west of Rodgers. Terry Anderson & the Olympic Ass-Kickin Team, whose Paulness is clearly Westerbergian, opens. At CAT'S CRADLE. $15/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell
08.26 THIS YEAR'S MODELS @ LOCAL 506
It's hard to imagine anyone other than Elvis Costello singing "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea." Rattling off stylishly creepy details about a girl who can't wait to be a woman, the iconic British singer combines Dylan's sarcastic sneer with a bit of that other Elvis' cool warble. It's a hard trick, but Seamus Kenney will take the challenge Thursday in the debut of Costello tribute band This Year's Models.
"There's some songs that you can just sing with whatever your normal pop voice is," says Kenney, who usually helms the horn-powered pop of SNMNMNM. "There's some songs that just sound weird to do that. You kind of have to get the Elvis attitude."
While that attitude is hard to replicate, it's also what drew this group of Chapel Hill music veterans to play Costello's songs for his 56th birthday. Having performed a set from Costello's The Juliet Letters LP last February, Alex Wilkins, frontman for the classic rock-minded Tripp, approached Kenney with the idea. Splitting lead vocals, the two will attempt to channel the aging star's still vivacious performances.
"He just creates really high energy, catchy, perfect pop songs," Kenney says, explaining his love for Costello. "He's like the perfect songwriter."
Local ska band Archbishops of Blount Street open with a set of songs by the Costello-produced Specials. Free/ 10 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence