Cherish The Ladies
The ArtsCenter—What began with a concert series became America's best traditional Irish music act of the last quarter-century. Cherish the Ladies, an all-female, Irish-American sextet, assembled in 1984 to support visiting Irish performers as part of a program sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts. These days, their shows are far-reaching cultural celebrations featuring step dancers, racing fiddles and the tin whistle's lonesome old country trill, all accompanying rich vocal harmonies. Though melancholy imbues much of the music, the sound's elegant grace and sweet beauty balances the persistent ache. And fortunately, there's often a light-footed reel or jig hot on its heels to keep spirits from sinking. The band's undergone many lineup changes over the years, but it will be difficult to replace Heidi Talbot, whose tender willowy vocals led the band for five years. However, new singer Michelle Burke has performed alongside her father at East County Cork shindigs since childhood and appears ready for the challenge. Tickets are $30-$32, but if you buy one for the 8:30 p.m. show, you get one free. —Chris Parker
The Pneurotics, Pink Flag, The Dry Heathens
The Brewery—Here, three staple Bull City guitar bands take on the capital city, hoisting the show—which also features Raleigh's River City Ransom—onto their collective shoulders. This would be, by principle, as good an opportunity as any to find out what the local music hubbub is about. But principles aren't as important when the music speaks for itself: The Pneurotics' humid-breeze Southern rock finds contentment in a straight-ahead approach with jagged edges. Pink Flag's spiky riot-pop chews Bratmobile and Sonic Youth into energetic, dirtied-up bubblegum. The Dry Heathens, now a quartet, casts 9-to-5 discontent through Replacements-style punk 'n' roll. Opener Sister Suvi crafts its indie pop confection from a novel guitar-drums-ukulele lineup. Bring $5 at 9 p.m. —Bryan Reed
Correction (March 12, 2009): River City Ransom is from Raleigh.