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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: It’s A Wonderful World Music Group, Ted Leo, Voice Of The Wetlands All-Stars, Carrie Martin Benefit With Caltrop & Make, Lost In The Trees, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Libyans, Shards, Logic Problem, Makoto Kawabata, Mugu Guymen, Here We Go Magic

VS.: Old 86 vs. Boys From Carolina Bluegrass Band vs. Al Batten & The Bluegrass Reunion vs. Amy Speace vs. Rosie Ledet



YES, PLEASE...

05.12 IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD MUSIC GROUP PRESENTS @ THE POUR HOUSE

With Big Remo's redemptive Robin Hood Ree mixtape circulating, Sean Boog's debut LP, Phantom of Jamla, dropping next week, and Thee Tom Hardy mashing out some final tweaks before the summer release of his own debut LP, Doubting Thomas, the Jamla Records camp is throttling toward earned hysteria. Missing from this showcase will be the operation's first lady, Rapsody, who, just last week, was added to the last leg of Mac Miller's Incredibly Dope Tour. While she's busy spreading the Jamla gospel across the Eastern Seaboard, it's business as usual for her boys here at home. In theory, their combined efforts are guaranteed to turn all this Jamla hype into something tangible and legendary. —Eric Tullis

05.12 TED LEO @ LOCAL 506

You can call 2010's The Brutalist Bricks a comeback for Ted Leo—it had been nearly three years since his last album. You could even call it a return to form, if you hold fast and furious records like 2001's The Tyranny of Distance and 2003's Hearts of Oak close to your heart. Such distinctions don't matter much, though, when discussing one of the most thoughtful songwriters and charismatic frontmen of this century. Whether he's backed by the Pharmacists or doling out the drugs himself, as he'll do tonight, a chance to see Ted Leo live is a chance to see rock 'n' roll done right. With Pujol. $10–$12/ 9:30 p.m. —David Raposa

05.12 VOICE OF THE WETLANDS ALL-STARS @ LINCOLN THEATRE

Louisiana native son Tab Benoit plays smoky, swampy blues guitar and sings with a soulful growl and a sneering drawl. Benoit founded Voice of the Wetlands, a non-profit dedicated to protecting his state's wetlands, in 2004. He now leads the VOW All-Stars to raise awareness for the cause with blues, funk, jazz, Cajun and zydeco. It's music designed to make you move and make you care. In its current iteration, the band is a gumbo of Louisiana musicians including the likes of The Meters' Cyril Neville and Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, among others. Besides VOW All-Stars songs, Benoit may play some tracks off his latest album, Medicine, released last month with All-Star bandmate Anders Osborne as a sideman. $20–$30/ 8 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey

05.13 CARRIE MARTIN BENEFIT WITH CALTROP & MAKE @ THE DIVE BAR

On what would have been Carrie Martin's 26th birthday, The Dive Bar hosts two of her favorite bands. Aside from being a good and fitting way to honor the memory of this late heavy music fan, the show will also benefit her two young daughters. Caltrop and MAKE, local heavies that channel technical blues-rock and heavy-lidded post-metal, respectively, will play for free. Their pay, as well as a portion of the evening's bar sales, will be donated to Martin's children. Anyone wishing to help further can make a donation at any BB&T to Nola & Bella Martin, care of Margaret Morgan Holland. 10 p.m. —Corbie Hill

05.13 LOST IN THE TREES @ CAT'S CRADLE

Lost in the Trees build powerful chamber pop out of deep pain. Singer Ari Picker dumps out demons every night, purging himself with a wavering croon that bursts into a powerful cry. He sings of broken feelings left behind by a very broken family, and the tight six-piece behind him never fails to lend support. Bold strings tangle with often searing guitars, twisting into thorny brambles. Picker puts his confessions to rest as rapturous melody and harmony take bloom, capturing beauty from all the grief. The Toddlers and Towers also play. $12/ 9 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence

click to enlarge Robert Randolph & The Family Band - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND

05.14 ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND @ LINCOLN THEATRE

It's been a decade now since The Word—the risky supergroup of The North Mississippi All-Stars, John Medeski and a largely unknown New Jersey pedal steel guitarist named Robert Randolph, accustomed to playing in his church—took the jam-band scene by storm. Randolph reinvented an instrument people automatically connected with either religious music or weepy country tunes, using the monstrous pedal steel to turn the rock club into a church that mostly worshipped joyful noise. Randolph is more than a master of his instrument; he's also an exuberant, obsessive bandleader who treats the crowd as an extension of his funky and nuanced outfit. With House of Fools. $22–$25/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

05.14 LIBYANS, SHARDS, LOGIC PROBLEM @ SLIM'S

A concise celebration of lean hardcore, this punk triptych won't feature many guttural bellows or half-time mosh-parts, and it won't punch the floor or drag its knuckles. The more-or-less back-together Logic Problem plays like a piranha swims, darting in sudden jags, attacking abruptly. Theirs will likely be the evening's most vicious set. Raleigh's Shards and this night's headliners, Libyans, suggest hardcore's earlier days, keeping melody and pop structure as the foundation. Shards wield the bile and snot of West Coast heroes T.S.O.L. and The Germs, while Boston's Libyans reach back to the more rock 'n' roll-infused sound of the Avengers or The Dead Boys. $5/ 10 p.m. —Bryan Reed

05.16 MAKOTO KAWABATA, MUGU GUYMEN @ NIGHTLIFE

There's no guarantee that you won't regret going to this show: Makoto Kawabata is the wild-haired, madly prolific anchor of Acid Mother's Temple, the Japanese psychedelic mothership whose output is as often brilliant as it is excessive or badly in need of editing. He's done some interesting work alone, but, like Acid Mother's Temple, he's incredibly inconsistent. Meanwhile, Mugu Guymen is a Nigerian rock band that delves headlong into sheets of static and whir with junk-house rhythms and atavistic bellowing. Clang Quartet and Three Brained Robot join a bill that you might honestly regret. The safe bet, though, is that you'll regret wasting your night wondering whether or not it was good, instead of just going. $7/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin

05.17 HERE WE GO MAGIC @ LOCAL 506

In 2009, Here We Go Magic was one man named Luke Temple, and that man's album (self-titled and self-produced) lived up to its name by filtering his off-kilter pop sensibility through an electro-rustic haze. In 2010, Temple's solo project became a group project, and Pigeons took the debut's already heady stylistic mix and threw in splashes of new wave, Krautrock and even the less exploited strains of pre-alt-rock indie music. In 2011, Here We Go Magic splits the difference between these two approaches for the January EP, another wonderful and generous offering whose only shortcoming is that it's too damn short. With Caveman. $10/9:30 p.m. —David Raposa


FRIDAY, MAY 13

OLD 86

FROM: Chapel Hill
SINCE: 2007
CLAIM TO FAME: Precocious teen talents with a jammy mien

Age is a crutch that Old 86 has no need for: They can stand on their own. While they tackle rootsy pop and rock, their wheelhouse revolves around blues fusion and slow-grooving jazz-funk. They spend much of their time plying instrumentals that showcase their chemistry and improvisational skills. They'll get psychedelic in spaces, but they work a fat rhythmic pocket that keeps your head nodding. Singer/ guitarist Daniel Fields' vocals swagger with a fake-it-till-you-make it assurance that adds to the charm. At THE CAVE. $5/ 7:30 p.m.

VS.

BOYS FROM CAROLINA BLUEGRASS BAND

FROM: Raleigh
SINCE: Several years ago
CLAIM TO FAME: Quintet with 150 collective years making bluegrass

The Boys from Carolina aren't kidding when they cite "a simple mountain life, home, family, and church" as their steadfast devotions alongside bluegrass in "My Bluegrass Home," which swipes its handling of "home" from Simon & Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound." Their harmonies are spot on, and the playing's equally crisp, with an allegiance to traditional sounds without ever sounding like stuffy purists, whether it's "Man of Constant Sorrow" or the dusty country tones of "He Rode All the Way to Texas." Their experience trumps that of the Old 86 kids. At BROAD STREET CAFE. Free/ 9 p.m.

VS.

AL BATTEN & THE BLUEGRASS REUNION

FROM: North Carolina
SINCE: 1973
CLAIM TO FAME: Nearly four decades of tradition and a half-dozen CDs

As much experience as the Boys from Carolina Bluegrass have, Al Batten can top them. Time's honed Batten and co-founding guitarist David Turnage's great chemistry, and virtuoso mandolin player Mike Aldridge could give the devil a run for his money. Farmers, mechanics and national guard reservists, they're the blue-collar blood of the Blue Ridge, offering authenticity as true as the five-part harmonies. They're also not above some lighthearted fun, as heard in their cover of "Always Marry an Ugly Girl." It's enough to outdistance BFCBB. At BYNUM GENERAL STORE. Free/ 7 p.m.

VS.

AMY SPEACE

FROM: Baltimore by way of Nashville
SINCE: Late '90s
CLAIM TO FAME: Shakespearean actress turned folkie

Amy Speace has a dry, grainy mezzo-soprano that she wields with a skill that's commensurate with her theatrical training. Though generally couched in spare arrangements around acoustic guitar, the songs are often rich in texture and detail, contributing mightily to the storytelling prowess of her latest, Land Like a Bird. Across her five albums, there's a palpable atmosphere and a kind of footlight spot elegance to her material, which at times feels stylized and self-conscious. That arty grace lets Speace give Batten the slip in a ladder-match. At CASBAH. $15/ 8 p.m.

VS.

click to enlarge Rosie Ledet - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

ROSIE LEDET

FROM: Louisiana
SINCE: 1994
CLAIM TO FAME: Sultry zydeco singer found music through musician ex-husband

The pint-sized Cajun cherry bomb Rosie Ledet performs zydeco with such warmth and intensity she seems less like a musician than an overflowing vessel. When the situation calls for sunny pop shimmy, her vocals emanate a smile like a beacon. If the dancefloor's the target, her vocals sashay with sultry slither beckoning into the music's vibrant, infectious backbeat. She even demonstrates a salty sense of humor on her bluesy vamp, "You Can Eat My Poussiere" (French for "dust"). Such inimitable character and spark lifts her past all her rootsy traditionalist competitors with a big-time flourish. At PAPA MOJO'S ROADHOUSE. $15–$18/ 7:30 p.m. —Chris Parker

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