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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Hooray For Earth, Human Eye, Wilco, Cut Copy, Harvey-Sue, Old Calf, The Joy Formidable

VS: The Head and The Heart vs. Rocky Votolato

VS: Pokey Lafarge vs. Scott H. Biram

CELEBRATING: Alt-Country All-Stars



Ty Segall's Goodbye Bread offers a cleaner, more measured take on the San Francisco garage wunderkind's flashbomb fuzz-punk. Unsurprisingly, it has been widely acclaimed. But Segall's best record of the year might be one that doesn't bear his name. Friend and collaborator Mikal Cronin's self-titled, Segall-produced debut finds The Moonhearts drummer shedding the blasted garage-punk of past work for his own much cleaner, more measured pop. Cronin strikes a near perfect balance of coulda-been-the Beatles pop finesse and scuzzy Oh Sees-meets-JAMC rave-ups, where flute-spazz fits comfortably next to sunny harmony. Excellent locals Last Year's Men complete the bill. $10/ 9 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed


Lenses Alien, the recently released sophomore effort from Cymbals Eat Guitars, terrifically follows in the footsteps of the Staten Island foursome's fine debut. Though more squarely focused on an early '90s essence than Why There Are Mountain's indie rock grab bag, Lenses lands with aggression, whether on fist-pumping riffers or brooding ballads. Fellow New Yorkers Hooray For Earth crafts dreamy, hook-filled psych-pop anthems out of danceable electrobeats and contrasting outbound vocals and flashing textures. Atlanta's Lyonnais imagines swirling ambient drama that can be powerful and noisy or reveal itself slowly and subtly, occasionally adding reverb-heavy vocals to its long, largely instrumental pieces. $10–$12/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


The fastest way to get you to care about Human Eye is to tell you that they are an antics band: Live, they're crazy as hell, like a bar-sized version of The Flaming Lips, willing to use confetti and lewdness and theatrics and whatever they can think of to get you into and freaked out by their show. Of course, the fastest way to get some of you to not care about Human Eye is to tell you they are an antics band. It's about the songs, right? Well, turns out, Human Eye has those, too: Their excellent, eponymous In the Red debut is a messy but considered spree through the bustle of garage rock and into the grime of industrial weirdness. If the night is right, Human Eye should rearrange your senses. The fabulous opening pair of Whatever Brains and Spider Bags start it off. $7/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge Wilco - FILE PHOTO BY D.L. ANDERSON


In 2002, Wilco released Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, a synthesis of bedrock songwriting and aggressive experimentation that made the album one of the last decade's most daring. Wilco spent the bulk of the next decade, though, trying to figure out exactly how to favor the more song-oriented aspect of its personality while not sounding too much like a simple style-over-substance '70s rock band. They occasionally succeeded and often failed; their latest, The Whole Love, might actually be their best attempt yet. Always spirited, sometimes playful and sometimes deadly serious, The Whole Love finds Wilco again interested in texture and evolution but still playing with the sort of chutzpah of a proper rock 'n' roll band. If you've written Wilco off, this one should make you re-listen. With Nick Lowe. $30–$40/ 7 pm. —Grayson Currin


Zonoscope, the third album by Australian electronic dreamscapers Cut Copy, puts a bed of boldness beneath the band's melodies by making the palette broader and the execution that much more aggressive. The same goes for Within and Without, the debut LP by Washed Out. Bigger than chillwave, it's sophisticated pop worth your smiles and sways. With Midnight Magic. $25/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Self-described as a "scavenger-folk woah-man band," Harvey-Sue is mostly the solo venture of Midtown Dickens' Catherine Edgerton, though she's often accompanied by her dog, the act's namesake. Edgerton employs a looser definition of folk than her better-known band; here, the term refers more to lyrical content than instrumentation, which includes a resonator, a stomp drum and a boombox that blasts found-sound beats. Old Calf is the latest project from Ned Oldham, which finds Oldham mining similar territory as his brother and collaborator Will; his gentle bedroom folk features gorgeous, lush orchestrations. Antifolk hero and former Triangle resident Charles Latham makes the trip from Philadelphia to open. $5/ 9:30 p.m.—Spencer Griffith


If it turns out that The Joy Formidable's name was coined to describe guitarist/ frontwoman Ritzy Bryan, it would come as no surprise. On the group's larger-than-life debut (aptly titled The Big Roar), she sings with a passion that's contagious and an awe that's matched only by the unfettered ferocity of her guitar-hero pyrotechnics. They're only a trio, but The Joy Formidable's take on shoegazing Britpop is the stuff of skyscraper-sized Marshall stacks and stadium-sized arenas. Fang Island opens. $13–$15/ 9 p.m. —David Raposa



FROM: Seattle
SINCE: 2009
CLAIM TO FAME: Roots Rock as the new grunge

You can't tell the players apart without a scorecard, and that's especially true of today's indie folk scene. With Bright Blitzen Ruckus Brothers & Sons all but ready to film their American Express commercial, the whole landscape's taken to beards, banjos and harmonies, like '90s longhairs and flannel. Sub Pop (naturally) snatched up The Head and the Heart's 2010 self-titled, self-released debut, rereleasing it earlier this year. It's a moody blend of The Band keyboards, trilling Beatles harmonies and ramshackle organic sway. It's only slightly less derivative than Maroon 5, but, that said, it's well-executed and alluring. Had it arrived a half-dozen years earlier, they could lead the charge rather than ride its coattails. With Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and the Devil Whale. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $15–$17/ 8 p.m.



FROM: Seattle
SINCE: Early '90s
CLAIM TO FAME: Another sullen, confessional songwriter

In this battle of constraining stereotypes, Rocky Votolato's pledged his allegiance to an even older order. He earned some Elliott Smith comparisons early in his career due to his breathy vocals and downcast strums. However, Votolato originally hailed from Texas, and there's a taste of that parched, ambling country rock burbling beneath his folky songs. Though Votolato found some success during the last decade, his deteriorating mental health forced a break prior to recording 2010's True Devotion. His honest, upbeat embrace of life showcases his tender charms better than ever before, helping him find a more distinctive light. He outshines The Head and the Heart's reflected beauty. With Matt Pond. At KINGS BARCADE. $12–$14/8:30 p.m. —Chris Parker


click to enlarge Pokey LaFarge - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND


FROM: St. Louis, Mo.
SINCE: 2006
CLAIM TO FAME: Passion for time travel

Pokey LaFarge lives in a black-and-white world, where people gather round the radio, not the cathode teat. You can almost picture him in a seersucker suit down Nawlins way, toothpick protruding from the corner of his mouth. He's an old-fashioned confidence man hawking foot-tapping good times and the blues' resilient ethos. As he works a rich palette of rag, bluegrass, country and jump blues, it's part tent revival, part backwoods hoedown. Though his voice is a little reedy, it's also very expressive, slowly insinuating itself into your good graces. With the Dirt Daubers. At MOTORCO. $7/ 7 p.m.


click to enlarge Scott H. Biram - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST


FROM: Austin
SINCE: Late '90s
CLAIM TO FAME: Gritty one-man garage-blues

A lesser act might be intimidated by the challenge Pokey LaFarge presents, but not Scott H. Biram. In 2003, his car was crushed in a head-on collision with a semi; a month later, he played a club gig in a wheelchair, an IV dangling from his arm. It's emblematic of Biram's dirty, kicked-in-the-gut-and-dragged-from-a-dumpster blues. His voice is properly whiskey-and-cigarette scarred, a bedraggled but not beaten instrument with punk intensity and timeless porch blues gruffness. He's a performer with caustic self-deprecating wit and a wild glint in his eye. LaFarge is good, but Biram's greater, like talent recognizing genius. With Reese McHenry. At CASBAH. $10–$12/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker



Guitartown regulars Alex Howard and Molly Flynn celebrate their nuptials, appropriately, with a who's who of local alt-country talent; fortunately, the party's open to all, so there's no excuse to miss this star-studded lineup. Making yet another reunion appearance, Pour House favorites Patty Hurst Shifter headline with driving, dual-guitar bar rock anthems, graced as always with a touch of Southern flair. Could this be a sign of a forthcoming full-fledged run, complete with new material?

Backsliders frontman and local legend Chip Robinson goes solo with gravelly roots rock and tempered ballads that tame the punk rock influence of his former unit by shifting the focus toward his superb songcraft. Pour House bartender and Whiskeytown constant Caitlin Cary pulls double duty, venturing beyond her alt-country beginnings in both Tres Chicas and The Small Ponds. Cary, Lynn Blakey and Tonya Lamm harmonize to dazzling effect during the roots-related pop of the former, while the latter teams Cary with The Proclivities' Matt Douglas for warm, charming duets that merely hint at those roots. Mic Harrison and the High Score bring boozy blasts of blue-collar rock 'n' roll spirit, while husky-voiced singer-songwriter Kenny Roby's smart, soulful songs are as genuine as modern country seems to get. $5/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


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