This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Flea Market, E.G. Kight, Lurch, Bitter Resolve, Savagist, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Free Electric State, Knives, Larkin Poe, Toxic Holocaust, Th' Bullfrog Willard Mcgee
VS: The Band of Heathens vs. Onward, Soldier
08.11 FLEA MARKET @ THE CAVE
Here in the Triangle, home to plenty of bluegrass and old-time bands worth your attention and a few hours away from the western homes of both fiddlers' conventions and the string-rock hybridists The Avett Brothers, there's really no need for Flea Market. After all, these four Oslo musicians play bluegrass like four kids still learning how to do it and sing it like four punk rockers who will never learn how to do it. But as they churn and howl through tunes about, as they put it, "love, insanity, murder, natural disaster and three-legged dogs," it's hard not to feel charmed by their guileless enthusiasm and strained delivery. Don't go tonight expecting to soon have some Mumford-or Avetts-like I-saw-them-when tales, because this band will likely never be those bands; do expect to have a good time. $5/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
08.12 E.G. KIGHT @ THE BLUE NOTE GRILL
Lip Service, the latest album by Georgia-born singer EG Kight, delivers a perfect kind of well-developed sass to a mix of roadhouse blues, barroom country and polished rock. Though her keenly Southern voice is a bit ordinary, her attitude and approach permeate words about bad times and bad lovers with a get-out-of-my-way forcefulness. What's more, the cast on Lip Service includes Randall Bramblett and Paul Hornsby, Southern rock veterans who bolster a touring band that already offers a righteous amount of bravado for Kight's come-ons and put-offs. $10/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin
08.13 LURCH, BITTER RESOLVE, SAVAGIST @ THE CAVE
Being able to actually hear the day after a rock concert is for the weak, right? If you answered yes, this underground engagement with three metal bands who thrive on ultra-distorted, mid-tempo marches is your essential weekend stop. Traveling four-piece Savagist maintains the tradition of humid, relentless Athens acts (recently, like Harvey Milk and Pride Parade), delivering tunes that are more malevolent and aggressive than meticulous and evolved. Durham's Lurch, on the other hand, offers a complicated distillation of Southern sludge and more evolved styles, from bristling death metal to charging stoner rock. Chapel Hill trio Bitter Resolve suggest '70s rock lords returned to dominate, with a mix of Hawkwind, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath meant for ascendance. 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
08.13 HOLY GHOST TENT REVIVAL @ LINCOLN THEATRE
Tallying the instruments in tow at any given concert should provide a pretty decent indication of the sound of things to come, at least theoretically. When faced with a band like Holy Ghost Tent Revival, though, that logic is as messy as the sound of this Greensboro six-piece. Their standard operating orders rely on brass meeting banjo meeting drums meeting keys, but it's more complicated than that. They meld old-time influences with wild pop panache, folk melodies with energetic horn bursts, plucky lyrics with soulful harmonies. It's a nice fit for openers Dirty Bourbon River Show, whose own brand of New Orleans Gypsy folk and circus rock will have you up and moving before you can say "Old-Timey Afropop Jibberish Junction." $6–$8/ 9 p.m. —Ashley Melzer
08.13 FREE ELECTRIC STATE, KNIVES @ CASBAH
Thanks in part to their excellent full-length debut, 2010's Caress, the high-octane shoegaze stylings of Durham's Free Electric State are a known quantity (and if they're a quantity you're fond of, you should show up early to catch like-minded openers Brief Candles). The same can't be said yet of Knives, the other local act on this bill, with only a few area shows to their name. If the few snippets of industrial-strength post-rock they've issued online are any indication, they shouldn't be unknown for much longer. $7/ 9 p.m. —David Raposa
08.13 LARKIN POE @ CARY ARTS CENTER
Larkin Poe formed about 18 months after the demise of the rising, tight-harmony trio The Lovell Sisters, or when eldest sister Jessica got married and left for college. Her 19- and 20-year-old siblings Megan and Rebecca decided to forge on, releasing a quartet of seasonally themed and named EPs last year. These efforts tend to leave their prior bluegrass style behind in favor of smoldering NPR sophistication, flirting with jazzy piano-driven adult-contemporary, not unlike Norah Jones. The sisters' sweet vocals are still the highlight, while the music succeeds best when they stick with the roots material on which they cut their teeth. Free/ 7:30pm. —Chris Parker
08.14 TOXIC HOLOCAUST @ KINGS
Toxic Holocaust is a reminder of an era when a teenager's interest in heavy metal was cause for alarmist news reports. Toxic Holocaust's only permanent member, Joel Grind, is an acolyte of such parent-tormenting sounds of the 1980s. Blending Discharge's grimy hardcore with Slayer's menacing thrash and Obituary's death metal plod, Toxic Holocaust's crust-caked fourth album, Conjure and Command, is an apocalyptic vision soundtracked by a steady battering of percussion and Grind's dry, barking vocal. It's not as scary as it might have been in 1985, but that doesn't make it less fun. $8–$10/ 10 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
08.16 TH' BULLFROG WILLARD MCGEE @ SLIM'S
Th' Bullfrog's deep, weathered baritone suggests a septuagenarian black man, not a middle-aged white guy. He channels the sound with such passionate honesty, it rises above mere affectation. He could work for Pixar, so full and vibrant are the colors he paints with his acoustic guitar. He assays a collection of traditional blues and roots tunes worthy of the Library of Congress, slipping in originals nearly indistinguishable from their inspirations. McGee's an unknown you'll be thankful you discovered. With The Galt Line. $5/ 9 p.m.—Chris Parker
THURSDAY, AUG. 11
THE BAND OF HEATHENSFrom: Austin, Texas
Even on first listens, it's hard not to go, "OK, who wrote this song originally?" Band of Heathens draws on lyrical truism and familiar melody as expertly as a pop country band; it's not hard to sing along, even if you're hearing it for the first time. Yet, instead of modern Nashville glitter, Band of Heathens' boogie swing calls to mind a lower-octane take on ZZ Top's good-times blues rock, or maybe a folkier Alabama. Expect jamming aplenty and a well-worn, hand-me-down feel. This is a good call for anyone looking to unplug completely. If that's you, Band of Heathens wins the round. Seth Walker and Kennebec open. At THE POUR HOUSE. $10–$13/ 9 p.m.
From: Wilmington, N.C.
Claim to fame: Southern rock by choice, if not by birth
The best Americana mixes resignation with tenacity, like a long-haul trucker fighting sleep. With two musical generations within the band, Onward, Soldiers almost can't help but inhabit that sweet spot. Songwriter Sean Thomas Gerard's youthful vinegar is tempered by the patient country-rock drumming of Kevin Rhodes (two decades his senior). There are moments of the long-suffering desperation of Tom Petty and Waylon Jennings. Gerard can't always maintain the accent, but the words hold their weight fine. For listeners looking for a more engaging show, this bill is it. With Maldora and Carrboro's very exciting Some Army. At TIR NA NOG. Free/ 10 p.m. —Corbie Hill
08.13 TRKFEST @ PIEDMONT BIOFUELS
As it so often goes with the best things, TRKfest was never meant to be a thing. That is, four years ago, the little Orange County record label of friends and friends' bands, Trekky, simply needed some money to push things forward. As it turns out, their little party outdoors at Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro raised not only cash but also the label's benevolent profile, taking what several folks had known—Trekky was releasing records for all the right reasons—and manifesting that as a one-day, endless-smiles concert.
Now, in its fourth year, TRKfest finds its host in the midst of an enviable hot streak, having successfully launched Lost in the Trees to one of the biggest indie labels in the land and having snagged releases by Midtown Dickens, Brice Randall Bickford and Megafaun's Phil Cook. Indeed, Trekky has never been better, and the lineup for TRKfest reflects that. Not only do some of the label's longtime staples, like Embarrassing Fruits and Butterflies, share the old wooden stage, but several of the area's top-ticket acts, from Bowerbirds and Ryan Gustafson to Mount Moriah and the aforementioned Midtown Dickens, all squeeze into the $10 bill.
One of the most appealing aspects of TRKfest, though, is that the music is only a piece of the temporary community the label builds: There will be free haircuts, local food and beverages, sack races, tie-dye stations, a cake walk and, of course, the comfy confines of the Trekky Bliss Tent. There are few better ways to spend a summer's day in North Carolina. $10/ 1 p.m. —Grayson Currin