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The Guide to the Week's Concerts 

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Old Time Relijun, Vagina Teeth, Polysics, Lucinda Black Bear

EH, WHATEVER: Pat Monahan, The Bravery, Pat Metheny Trio, Pat McGee Band/ Josh Kelley

VS.: Holly Golightly vs. Michelle Malone Band

INTRODUCING: Joe Romeo & the Orange County Volunteers

LAST WEEK'S PARTY: The Avett Brothers

SONG OF THE WEEK: Josh Ritter's "The Temptation of Adam"


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Beefheart banshees without boundaries, Olympia, Wash.'s Old Time Relijun injects international folk with insatiable instability that's built on improvisation and incongruous parts. Like Television mining a peyote collection and a brass band's arsenal, OTR turns big rhythms, smart guitars and storming horns into maniacs. This band is fearless and nervy; its songs are all about shifting moods from throbbing madness to slippery drones and asking big questions, like "I am a raven, no? I am a river, yeah?" The rhythm is for dancing; the sounds are for freaking; the vocals are for proclaiming in paradoxes and surrealist aphorisms. Go ahead: Lose it for a night. The appropriately polar bands Calabi Yau and Midtown Dickens open. $8-$10/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Weird convocation: Vagina Teeth/Jesus Teeth imports Winston-Salem noise enthusiasm, chopping scorched samples into incidental beats and piercing ear(drums) with damaged goods. Meanwhile, Containers submerges pop ideas in psychotropics similar to Animal Collective and Black Dice. Electronic empress Dutchess Headbangerr needs you to dance. $6/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin


If the audience at the MySpace Music Tour (featuring Say Anything and Hellogoodbye) is ready and willing, the opening set could be the best 25 minutes anyone in attendance has all year. Tokyo's Polysics turns shrilly keyboards, vocoded vocals and a bubblegum-punk buzz into kinetic sprints. Total weirdness and joy. But they'll need you to move and jump and cheer. You know, freak out? $20-$23/ 7 p.m. —Grayson Currin


This Brooklyn band's debut, Capo My Heart and Other Bear Songs, is nicely detailed and nuanced in a string-aided, rootsy-shamble way. Free/10 p.m. —Chris Parker


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Pat Monahan combines the conversational faux folk-pop of Dave Matthews with loverman vocalizing and the wrong aspects of Robert Plant, putting strummy-strum acoustics over emotive drivel. Monahan may be a fine vocalist, but rhymes like "Her eyes/ that's where hope lies/ That's where blues skies meet the sunrise" are better left unwritten. And that's not even quoting "Drops of Jupiter." His lovelorn solo debut, Last of Seven, begs for a psychoanalyst and a big box of tissues. With I Nine. $20-$25/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker


The Killers' East Coast brethren realize their Cure-bought sound is as dated as skinny ties, but the Brooklyn quintet's lacking in ideas or scope, a problem Mr. Flowers doesn't seem to have. The Bravery plays serious(ly boring) on its latest, The Sun and the Moon. Don't follow. With Straylight Run and Murder Mystery. $15/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker


A Pat Metheny appearance would have been more appealing as part of Duke Performances' Following Monk program (remember, Reich [Metheny + program openers Kronos Quartet]= Electric Counterpoint + Different Trains=Love), but not with Christian McBride on bass. For all the ground Metheny's cleared, he can find a better trio. $38/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin


If John Mayer is assassinated, will his pale AC folk-pop clones fade away, too? Josh Kelley makes Jason Mraz sound smart and Gavin DeGraw seem funky, which is like Nicole Richie making Kate Moss look plump. Also, is Pat McGee famous yet? $13-$15/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker


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Thursday, November 1


From: London, England
Since: Early '90s
Claim to fame: Garage rocking ex-Headcoatee

Taking her name from Breakfast at Tiffany's, Golightly fronted the all-female offshoot of Billy Childish's Thee Headcoats during the '90s before embarking on a solo career a dozen years ago. Though her start was in garage, and she earned some prominence singing with Jack White on Elephant, she's migrated from her '60 girl-group garage origins to embrace an old-fashioned style that's part Nancy Sinatra/ Lee Hazlewood pop and part blues rock rave-up. Her latest, You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying, moves even further afield into parched Americana backwoods austerity. At LOCAL 506 with Malamondos at 10 p.m. for $10.


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Friday, November 2


From: Atlanta, Ga.
Since: Late '80s
Claim to fame: Gritty no surrender Southern rocker

Like her singing mother, Malone has great pipes. She received early encouragement from the Indigo Girls and was signed by Clive Davis and then Walter Yetnikoff. They tried to turn her into a pop star and failed. Malone eventually gravitated to a dusty, soul-rock approach suited to her fiery spirit. She's a talented guitarist, kicking a Stonesy country-blues boogie. Her vocals are slinky and rich in character without being throaty. It's a stomp-n-holla sound delivered with panache and sexy shimmy. After 20 years in the business, Malone's a star, even if few noticed. At HIDEAWAY BBQ with Monika Jaymes Band at 9:30 p.m. for $10. —Chris Parker


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"I feel that the current crew does justice to my songs," says Joe Romeo, the ex-Fake Swedish frontman who now leads the easy-groove, country-soul of his Orange County Volunteers. This lineup of the Vols—Rock Forbes, Scott McCall, Alex Bowers, Anthony Lener and Rob Russell—is the one Romeo likes best.

But having such seasoned musicians around (every Vol, except Romeo, is in at least one more band) comes with a price and a payoff. "If one person can't make it to a show, we all slide over and cover that person's part of the music," says Romeo. "Plus, each person brings a certain element to the music, and I like how a song won't sound the same twice when played live." Recently signed to New York-based Tillie Records, look for Romeo and the Volunteers to release its first full-length in March 2008. They open a benefit for Carrboro radio station WCOM at 7 p.m. Jim Smith (8 p.m.), Dexter Romweber (9 p.m.), Gonzo Guitars (10 p.m.) and Big Mama E & the Cool (11 p.m.) finish the bill. Tickets are $10. —Dan Strobel


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The real magic of Friday night's homecoming concert came after The Avett Brothers plowed through its set and a blazing encore but before Boston's Guster headlined: It was the sight of a few thousand Avett fans either walking out or sitting down—that is, either heading to other homecoming festivities (free grilled turkey legs outside, y'all!) or resting their bones after shouting along to the pride of Concord. Kudos to N.C. State for filling a national package (Guster and Brett Dennen are the Crocs Next Stop College Tour) with state phenoms. Nice work on the field, too. —Grayson Currin

  • Old Time Relijun, Pat Monahan, Joe Romeo & the Orange County Volunteers, Holly Golightly, Michelle Malone Band


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