YES, PLEASE: J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Spider Bags, State Champion, WKNC Birthday Bash, Orquesta Gardel, Bio Ritmo, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Pierced Arrows, The Rosebuds, Hospitality, Heather McEntire
VS: Cravin’ Melon vs. Pat Mcgee Band
VS: Goran Bregović vs Angélique Kidjo
COMMEMORATING: Orange County Social Club 10th Anniversary
10.13 J. RODDY WALSTON & THE BUSINESS @ KINGS
Imagine if the remaining member of Queen had decided to replace Freddie Mercury with Leon Russell rather than Paul Rodgers. The result would probably be pretty close to J. Roddy Walston & the Business. Walston is a long-haired Southern boy whose rollicking boogie piano style was shaped by his gospel-playing granny. The Business, who hooked up with Walston after he moved to Baltimore, glam it up with "Bohemian Rhapsody"-style vocal harmonies, blistering guitar solos and stomping drums that would make John Bonham smile. Bright Young Things and J. Kutchma open. $10–$12/ 9 p.m. —Karen A. Mann
10.14 SPIDER BAGS, STATE CHAMPION @ NIGHTLIGHT
At this year's Hopscotch Music Festival, Spider Bags showed off a new four-person lineup. Far from cleaning up their boozy garage chaos, it only added another dimension to the roughshod jubilation. With original bassist Gregg Levy moved to second guitar, leader Dan McGee was left to dole out madman riffs and yelps with abandon. But if the Bags show up as a trio, that won't be bad either: McGee drags his backers pell-mell through gritty assaults that turn miscues into triumphs. The murky, downtrodden country of Chicago's State Champion should prove an appropriate counterpoint. Animal City opens. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence
10.14 WKNC BIRTHDAY BASH @ KINGS
A little more than a decade ago, WKNC's 45th anniversary—a convenient number for audiophiles, of course—might have passed without much notice, at least outside of local metal circles. But the station spent the better part of the '00s becoming a real musical force in the Triangle, covering emerging area talent and keeping its ear to the sounds of national trends of interest with a diligence rivaled by very few in these parts. As a testament, a few of the area's most popular acts gather to coronate the station's birthday: Stu McLamb of The Love Language joins Lonnie Walker and Juan Huevos. Expect a lot of energy—and cake. Also, DJ Hidden Cat. Free/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin
10.14 ORQUESTA GARDEL, BIO RITMO @ MOTORCO
The two greatest original salsa bands in the Southeast do battle as Orquesta GarDel and Bio Ritmo share billing for the first time ever. Bio Ritmo is touting the matchup as a release party for La Verdad, just out on CD and vinyl. The new recording celebrates the Richmond band's 20th year with a fistful of groovers in the '70s tradition of Puerto Rican salsa dura. GarDel will counter with live debuts of two new songs in Cuban styles: nostalgic guajira and over-the-top timba. Everyone's a winner, since what brings these bands to the mat ultimately also unites them: a fierce love of salsa's roots and an independent streak a mile wide. $14–$16/ 9 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger
10.18 MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER @ UNC MEMORIAL HALL
Washington, D.C., singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter managed a rare feat in mid-'90s, reaching the high end of the country charts with refreshingly unpretentious folk-based material at a time when Garth Brooks' arena-pop bluster was all the rage. Her days in the mainstream-country limelight have come and gone, but a strong core of true fans remains, and on works such as last year's The Age of Miracles, her trademark deep and soulful voice sounds as rich and warm as ever on mostly gentle tunes that cast a calm but beguiling spell. $39–$109/ 7:30 p.m. —Peter Blackstock
10.18 PIERCED ARROWS @ LOCAL 506
When Fred and Toody Cole finally disbanded Portland, Ore., garage-rock institution Dead Moon in 2006, they left behind a legacy spanning 20 years and as many releases, most of which were mastered on the lathe that also mastered their genre's Rosetta Stone, the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie." Despite nearing the age when most folks cash in their IRAs, the Coles still needed tot scratch that itch, and they soon began doing business as the Pierced Arrows. While the name might be different, their 2010 album, Descending Shadows, is a Dead Moon effort in all but name. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Fellow Portland band Don't opens. $9–$11/ 9:30 p.m. —David Raposa
10.19 THE ROSEBUDS, HOSPITALITY, HEATHER MCENTIRE @ CAT'S CRADLE
The Rosebuds have been touring lately with Mount Moriah, which makes perfect sense, at least in the sense that both are supporting albums featuring rich melody, an easy Southern pacing, and songs about confronting and overcoming the challenges of losing and fighting for love and family. Mount Moriah frontwoman Heather McEntire opens solo tonight, promising to bring a haunting sparseness to songs most often performed with others. Though her songs, like those of the Rosebuds, are the product of struggle, the music celebrates resolution and hard-won confidence. The bill also includes Brooklyn indie poppers and recent Merge signees Hospitality. $14/ 8:30 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15
From: Clemson, S.C.
Claim To Fame: Sounding like Hootie's hacky-sacking baby brother
Cravin' Melon distorts time much like the stuff their audience is smoking, making it difficult to tell if they've been playing that riff for a couple measures or hours. Their jams meander inoffensively through adult-contemporary Southern roots like Matchbox Twenty getting their Counting Crows on. You couldn't get much more down the middle if Old Navy had a band. The songs are a strip mall of indistinguishable major-chord melodies, one long StarbucksMcDonaldsSubwayExxonWalmart. They're the musical equivalent of fiber, from their plain consistency to the dry mealy-mouthed aftertaste resulting from prolonged exposure. With The Veldt and Boom. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $14–$18/7:30 p.m.
PAT MCGEE BAND
From: Richmond, Va.
Claim To Fame: Sounding like Bruce Hornsby's illegitimate child
Like Cravin' Melon ("Come Undone"), McGee enjoyed a brief moment of mainstream pop acclaim ("Rebecca"), and he shares a similar late-'90s roots-pop mien. However, rather than jam-rock, McGee gravitates toward broad-stroke, overheated piano-based tunes in the vein of Bruce Hornsby—heartland rock with an anthemic sweep powered by enough production flourish and melodrama for a TV crime show. Yet his band's greatest crime is innocuity. The Pat McGee Band couldn't get arrested naked in a busy intersection with a $20 bill clenched between their teeth. They only win the battle of distinctionless, '90s rootsy mainstream pop acts because their colorful beginning and endings, while lacking substance, trump Cravin' Melon's never-ending purgatorial middles. At THE POUR HOUSE. $10–$13/7:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16
From: Former Yugoslavia via Paris
Claim To Fame: Balkan bandleader
Goran Bregović may be a former rock star, but today he prefers to be known as a "contemporary composer," closely associated with the lyrical, award-winning movies he's scored for fellow Sarajevo-born filmmaker Emir Kusturica. He spent the '70s and '80s in a hard rock/ new wave band that dominated Yugoslav pop. Now on his second career as an internationally touring musician with his humorously named Wedding and Funeral Orchestra, Bregović; makes a merry stew of pan-Balkan, Roma, Jewish and Eastern European roots—always with a side of the contemporary. Filmic in scope, his colossal live performances assemble Gypsy brass band, choir, folk and rock instruments side by side for a playful romp through ancient cultures. At DUKE PAGE AUDITORIUM. $22–$42/ 7 p.m.
From: Benin, West Africa, via New York City
Claim To Fame: Afro-pop Amazon
Angélique Kidjo may be the closest thing to a successor to the legendary Miriam Makeba—an African pop diva internationally known for her unique, energetic voice, social and political engagement and myriad musical collaborations. Kidjo's latest album, Õÿö, returns her to her native Benin, an area of West Africa known for its women warriors, to explore traditional songs and musical idols of Kidjo's childhood. Among them are Makeba herself, as well as Aretha Franklin and Curtis Mayfield; the disc features guest appearances by Bono, John Legend and Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke. Whether backed by her propulsive band or a lone guitar for a stripped-down chanson, Kidjo is the consummate global entertainer. At UNC MEMORIAL HALL. $19–$64/ 7:30 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger
10.14-15 ORANGE COUNTY SOCIAL CLUB 10th ANNIVERSARY @ CAT'S CRADLE
"There's not going to be a live band in a corner and there's not going to be a pass-the-hat and there's not going to be a Scrabble competition or whatever," says Trish Mesigian, owner and operator of the Orange County Social Club. "There's just great bartenders, well-poured drinks, great music and a place to sit and meet with your friends—and that's why I opened this place."
The Orange County Social Club opened 10 years ago this fall, and to celebrate a decade of being a Carrboro artists' haven on any given evening, the crew at OCSC has organized a two-night extravaganza of live music just down the street at Cat's Cradle. Friday features Benji Hughes, The Ghost of Rock, The Toddlers, David Bazan and The Dogwoods (an ensemble of local roots musicians). Saturday kicks off with Gross Ghost, then Crooked Fingers and Kerbloki before closing with Seven Brides for the Meatwagon, Superchunk vets Jon Wurster and Jim Wilbur's buzz-bin comic-rock outfit.
"Hosting this big event is really, really challenging and fun," says Mesigian, who says the concerts are just another way to "promote people that come here and help keep this business alive." The more she talks, the clearer it is that the key to OCSC is the sense of community behind her storefront. It's a concept perhaps best exemplified by the fact that of the bar's nine current employees, four have been on staff since the first six months of OCSC's decade-long run. "Over the last 10 years," says Mesigian, "I haven't been surprised much, because I really don't strive to own a business and a home in a town that I don't love. It's just an amazing community. I just can't say enough. It's a small town, but it's got big ideas." And at least two big shows on the horizon. $10 single night, $18 two-night pass/ 8 p.m. —Ashley Melzer