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The guide to the week's concerts 

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Skyzoo/ Kooley High/ M1 Platoon, The Moaners/ Bellafea, Battlefield Band, The Legendary JC's, Ahleuchatistas, Mike Doughty Band

EH, WHATEVER: Dark Side of the Dead, Port O'Brien/ Delta Spirit, Hookers N' Blow, Say Anything

VS.: The Waybacks vs. The Hanks

VS.: The Gourds vs. Handsome Furs

INTRODUCING: Pagan Hellcats

SONG OF THE WEEK: Sunshone Still's "Pallet of Buffalo Robes (Widower's Blues)"


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The last time Skyzoo made the 500 mile trip from Brooklyn to the Triangle to rock a show, he—along with Kooley High's first-lady, Rapsody, M1 Platoon and about a dozen more of 9th Wonder's guests—all stepped out of stretch limos and onto a red carpet. They were celebrating 9th's Dream Merchant Vol. 2 at the Cradle. This time, though, they forego the celebrity treatment to step out onto The Pour House stage to assist Raleigh's Kooley High in celebrating the release of their new Summer Sessions EP. North Carolina's hip-hop field has been rather tranquil over the past couple of years, and Kooley High's recent clamor on radio stations and A-list mixtapes is evidence that it might just be proctorial enough to help steer N.C. into another rap attack. $6/ 10 p.m. —Eric Tullis


Give this show the subtitle, "There's more than one way to skin a rhythm" should apply: Bellafea bristles with chewy post-punk angularity, as frontwoman Heather McEntire's vocals drift and jar over her terse, jagged guitar. The Moaners' deep-seated groove goes three-wheeling through your frontroom, a joyriding teen drunk on your liquor. Stains from the blues this thick and dirty resist scrubbing bubbles. A free fundraiser (donations accepted) for UNC Victim's Assistance Fund. 9 p.m. —Chris Parker


Though only one founding member remains after Battlefield Band's 30-year journey, this Glasgow quartet continues to stoke a passion for Scottish music in its listeners. The group holds true to its banner, "Forward with Scotland's Past," so contemporary tunes go side by side with traditional reels, and the synthesizer accompanies bagpipes, fiddle and guitar. With infectious instrumentals and songs about drinking, love and the ever-popular Scottish theme of oppression, shows vacillate between lively celebrations and somber elegies and back. Battlefield Band closes out The ArtsCenter's second annual Celtic Concert Series with this performance. $21/ 8:30 p.m.—Andrew Ritchey

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The Legendary JC's of Orlando, Fla., deliver a turn-back-the-clock, dial-up-the-funk soul revue a la Brooklyn's Dap-Kings and Nashville's Dynamites, with the Sharon Jones/ Charles Walker role played by front-belter Eugene Snowden. But as dynamic as Snowden is, do save a lot of your love for the horns. $8/ 9 p.m. —Rick Cornell


One of the state's must-see bands, Ahleuchatistas is like a pop reconstruction of John Zorn's Naked City. Sharp and heavy and fast but composed and played with the precision of an army of robots, the Asheville trio's music sprints, slaps, stops and turns around to do it again. The band's excellent The Same and the Other was just reissued on Zorn's Tzadik imprint, which is just perfect. With Le Weekend, High Rollers and Super Bowl Sunday. $6/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Doughty's scuffling, soft-focus, folk-blues sketches unfold in a flurry of images delivered with hip-hop timing. Whether wandering in "Circles" with Soul Coughing, expressing his understanding of the "Ways & Means" solo acoustic or "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well" accompanied by his new band, Doughty often folds those visages together against evocative choruses. You'll always remember his hooks. $15/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker



Several false statements befuddle the mind as one watches the promotional video for the Athens-based Grateful Dead cover band Cosmic Charlie's latest presentation, Dark Side of the Dead. The most shocking, though, is the band's guarantee that its new set—essentially, covering a bunch of Dead songs and the entirety of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon in one night—is an "innovation in the world of live music." Pretty sure the innovations were writing those songs or making those records. Seriously, rent Live at Pompeii. Or change your oil. Or finish your taxes. Anything else, actually. $12-$15/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Hello, "indie" rock band. Got a hook? Shout it. Invite friends. Got instrumentation? Make it acoustic. Juxtaposition is key. Port O'Brien does the full-steam-ahead, whisper-and-shout-like-love-is-ending-right-now thing. It's precious music trying to stand too tall with two weakly designed legs. Former Cold War Kids tourmates Delta Spirit (from California, of course) are the perfect band if your favorite Wilco song is "Kingpin," or if Spoon doesn't rock enough, bro. With Soft Company. $8/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Why would Guns N' Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed call his band Hookers N' Blow? Having survived Axl's many moods (and addictions), isn't he smart enough to know it's just dangerous to remind the crowd how much less enjoyable any cover band or cheap imitation is than the original namesake? 8 p.m.—Chris Parker

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Ambition's no substitute for talent: Like Panic at the Disco and My Chemical Romance, Say Anything creator Max Bemis trades emo for self-indulgence with the nearly 90-minute kitchen sink sprawl of In Defense of the Genre. Matlock couldn't win this case: Overblown arrangements and instrumental effects drown the few hooks hiding out in the songs. With Manchester Orchestra, Biffy Clyro and Weatherbox. $16-$18/ 7 p.m. —Chris Parker


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From: San Francisco
Since: 1999
Claim to fame: Razzle-dazzle

The eclectic, improvisational and wide-rooted work of the Waybacks has been described as "acoustic mayhem." Still not intrigued? How about, courtesy of the band's most recent addition, this take: "power trio plus fiddle"? It's worth noting that the newest Wayback in question is Warren Hood, son of the late Champ Hood, and he's the one wielding that fiddle. At the BERKELEY CAFE. $12-$15/ 8 p.m.


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From: Los Angeles
Since: 1998
Claim to fame: Drama-rama

Y'all remember Toad the Wet Sprocket, right? Well, there's a lot on the Hanks' brand new Distance that will make you remember Toad the Wet Sprocket: For starters, a sound built on folk rock but with enough quirks to justify sticking "indie" in there somewhere and enough of a dramatic undercurent to make you think something important might be happening. Not to be confused with Jeff Hart's Hanks of long ago. White Heat and Something Borrowed round out the triple bill. At LOCAL 506. $8/ 9 p.m. —Rick Cornell


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From: Austin, Texas
Since: 1994
Claim to fame: The hoedown version of "Gin and Juice" that your dorm downloaded

Three weeks after the Triangle invaded Austin for SXSW, Triangle-connected The Gourds return the favor. Led by Jimmy Smith and Kevin Russell, Austin's quirky roots combo has cranked out new albums almost annually since its 1997 Sugar Hill debut, and last year's Noble Creatures (its first release on Yep Roc, now its third North Carolina label after a brief stay on Eleven Thirty) shows the mark of a little more maturity. Although the band's sound may have ripened with age, back porch boogies like "Cranky Mulatto" retain that freewheeling charm. And the band's marathon sets—usually in the two-hour-plus territory of jam bands—are the budget entertainment choice here. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $14-$17/ 8 p.m.


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From: Montreal
Since: 2006
Claim to fame: One half fronts Wolf Parade; one half wears his ring

Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes, Johnny & the Moon, Swan Lake: all bands with Wolf Parade members. Handsome Furs belongs to Wolf Parader Dan Boeckner, swapping that indie rock bombast for this electro-pop bore. To be fair, the duo occasionally catches a tune: "Cannot Get Started" marries Boeckner's pure 21st century paranoia to an irresistibly big beat from wife Alexei Perry's drum machine, while "Dumb Animals" expands through high tension into a threatening coda. The bulk of it is nothing to blog about, though, as it's slightly cold and blanched. The down-home Gourds—full of personality—are the winner here. With Violens at LOCAL 506. $10/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


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Pagan Hellcats bubbled out of the Blue Bayou, where country-blues singer/songwriter Diane Rodelli hosted an open mic night. "Dave [Rutter] started helping me do it, and then we really wanted to start doing our own thing," she remembers. Rutter once helmed local rockers the Attitudes and hadn't lost the bug. They'd promised an album by the beginning of the year, but instead plan a series of EPs. They've already cut six songs, and, if they're all as good as country rocker "True," there will be enough demand for more: "They're selling songs of love because they can't think of anyone to send them to," Rutter sings. "I based that song on some comical truisms," he explains, "like 'There's highways because we can't stay in one place.'" Pagan Hellcats plays The Cave Saturday, March 29, and Blue Horn Lounge Saturday, April 5. —Chris Parker

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