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The guide to the week's concerts 

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Reverend Horton Heat/ Nashville Pussy/ Reckless Kelly, Red Clay Ramblers, Mark Kozelek/ Kath Bloom, The Shaky Hands, Mad Decent Tour with Diplo/ Abe Vigoda/ more, Calexico/ The Acorn, Finn Riggins

EH, WHATEVER: The Clarks, Matthew Sweet/ The Bridges, Pelican/ Kayo Dot, The Sword

VS.: The Black Crowes vs. The Bottle Rockets


SONG OF THE WEEK: Phosphorescent's "Wolves"



In a world that whirls with change, the Reverend's consistently remained one of the finest guitarists and live performers within earshot. Spiritual kin to neighbors Dex Romweber and Rick Miller, Heat lends just that to his crackling rockabilly rave-ups that, over 10 albums, run from country to blues and lounge, but primarily honor that early rock "Rumble." This excellent bill comes bolstered by Nashville Pussy and Reckless Kelly. $20-$23/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker

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You've got your triple-threat actors and your five-tool outfielders. However, when it comes to the long-standing local Red Clay Ramblers, you must up the numerical ante. The band's members are playwrights, novelists, composers, actors, collaborators (teaming with everyone from Ralph Stanley and Randy Newman to Sam Shepard and the late Doug Marlette), and a half-dozen other things, including multi-instrumentalists. And, true to form, the Red Clay Ramblers' music is many things to many people, thanks to its era-spanning, genre-hopping mix of old-time, Irish, country, gospel, capital-P Pop, Dixieland, bluegrass and any other style that can call a fiddle, mandolin, piano and/or bouzouki home. This welcome two-night stand begins Friday. $17/ 8:30 p.m. —Rick Cornell


A perfectly still soundtrack for an early autumn night: It seems increasingly clear that Mark Kozelek, who long led Red House Painters and still records as Sun Kil Moon, could sing most any song in his thin, slightly high air and turn it into something profound. Aside from his own occasionally striking associative lyrics, Kozelek's recorded albums of AC/DC and Modest Mouse covers, somehow making both bands sound like equal lyrical revelations. Live, he's charming in a cantankerous way. Folk singer Kath Bloom recorded with Loren Connors in the '70s before retiring to raise a family. Her new songs resonate with hard-won wisdom. $15-$17/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


On last year's self-titled EP, Portland quartet The Shaky Hands took a two-tier approach to shambolic indie, stringing sunny '60s fuzz alongside faux folk outliers. Older and a bit wiser, the band's distilled those loose edges into a Strokes-approved fuse of frenetic garage-rock and sinister urban poetry that's gritty and electrified. With Carrboro's Oscar Begat. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Kathy Justice

click to enlarge Diplo
  • Diplo


Has Wesley Pentz revolutionized the remix? Better known as Diplo, Pentz etched a rivulet of bouncy and exuberantly fun pop retakes while championing bass-driven music from other shores. It's since turned into a rushing river. The world-bass infusion continues with the latest installment of his Hollertronix series, which includes Portugal's Kuduro kingpins Buraka Som Sistema and Angola's DJ Znobia. His Mad Decent label also folds together like-minded producers (say, Boy 8 Bit) and rock bands made, nearly entirely, to be remade, ripe for remixing. Abe Vigoda and Telepathe provide ideal templates, along with some beats of their own, tonight. Diplo and his associates never seemed hungrier for 'em. For more on Diplo, see $12-$15 / 9:30 p.m. —Chris Toenes

click to enlarge Calexico
  • Calexico


One imagines Calexico luxuriating in one of Albert Beirstadt's epic Western landscapes, the country twang cast against dwarfing cliffs of rust and burnt umber beneath an impossibly spacious sky that stretches beyond the Mexican border. For more than a dozen years, the Tucson sextet has staked out Southwestern-flavored territory of its own, highlighted by Latin-tinged acoustic guitars, the sturdy, lazy thrum of stand-up bass, and supple texture and tone, hazy like watercolor and quenching like cerveza (satisfying for the moment and leaving you wanting more). Calexico's sixth album, Carried to Dust, continues this legacy of embedded melody and subtle effect, both rewarding additional listens. With the rootsy amble of Ottawa's The Acorn replacing canceled locals Bowerbirds. $15/ 9:15 p.m. —Chris Parker


Though the band broods on occasion, Finn Riggins' perky co-ed harmonies and bright, synth-heavy pop jams more often recall The Anniversary if that band had been more adventurous. Dramatic post-rock awash in anthemic guitar—with epic peaks—is Gray Young's MO. Carrboro's Where The Buffalo Roamed opens with fuzzy, lo-fi synth-n-guitar dreamscapes. Free/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith



Serving up the same dish of bland blue-collar rock to audiences year after year has caused this Pittsburgh staple to revel in the past and mostly discard the future. With only a few punchy singles to fill in the cracks of its otherwise flaccid catalog, most of a night with The Clarks drifts in one ear and trickles out the other. Aged ennui! $13- $15/ 9 p.m. —Kathy Justice


Matthew Sweet's a fine guitarist with one particularly good album (1991's Girlfriend) and a passable, somewhat nasally croon. Like Evan Dando or Jay McInerney, though, he's translated youthful inspiration into a career of middling product predicated on past glories. Doing karaoke with has-been Bangles doesn't impress, and while guitarist Richard Lloyd's return for the recording of Sweet's latest, Sunshine Lies, ensures some sweet six-string interplay, it hardy ameliorates his primary difficulty: His writing's less sophisticated than that on Three's Company. As easy as it is to slip into paisley power pop guitar, the lyrics offer little traction, treading water until, bored stiff, you drown. $18-$20/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker

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  • Pelican


Pelican still hasn't fired its drummer, Larry Herweg, who remains the hindrance for the instrumental quartet: He seems to mostly stay on point these days, but his brutish complacence adulterates the accomplishments of dashing guitarists Laurent Schroeder-Lebec and Trevor de Brauw. Kayo Dot used to make massive art-metal statements with strings and drones and drums and masses of guitars; on this year's Blue Lambency Downward, Toby Driver directed his miasmatic tendencies to somewhere between Jeff Buckley, The Mars Volta and Grizzly Bear, except less than any of those three. Stephen Brodsky, whose reputation rests on the laurels of Cave-In, opens. 7 p.m. —Grayson Currin

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If heavy metal can empower the meek (and it can), you'd hope that The Sword's frontman, J.D. Cronise, would begin to absorb the strength of the clattering trio that surrounds him nightly any minute now. Cronise may sing about epic conquests, but he sounds like a helium balloon trapped in a mighty meteorological vortex. So many bands are making post-Sabbath sludge these days, so why worry with one that's got a singer who sounds like a fax of a Xerox of a telegram? The reason to see The Sword when they visited the Lincoln Theatre earlier this year—the great big Miami bright lights called Torche—will be flying home from a Japanese tour when The Sword hits the stage this time. Too bad. With Year Long Disaster (which features Third Eye Blind's drummer) and Broadslab. $10-$12/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin


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From: Atlanta
Since: 1989
Claim to fame: Smashing the Allmans into the Small Faces on hits like "Jealous Again," "Remedy" and "She Talks to Angels"

Early success punches your ticket to later wander in the wilderness from which many never return. The greasy, Southern-fried, British blues-soul of the Crowes' first three albums gave way to personal decadence, faltering focus and indolence, culminating in a trio of increasingly uninspired albums and the band's breakup. A three-year hiatus was more trial separation than divorce. Luckily, the subsequent revolving door of personnel and, in particular, the addition of North Mississippi All Stars' slide guitarist Luther Dickinson and keyboardist Adam MacDougall paid off with Warpaint, the band's best album since 1994's Amorica. Creatively reenergized, Warpaint doesn't break new ground, but it rediscovers much of what was lost in the intervening years. At LINCOLN THEATRE with Buffalo Killers. $35-$40/ 5 p.m.


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From: St. Louis
Since: 1992
Claim to fame: Bridging the gap between alt-country and The Replacements

The Bottle Rockets inhabits the same roots-rock neighborhood as the Crowes but isn't as greasy or jam-ridden. Frontman Brian Henneman had made music for 15 years, playing with Uncle Tupelo before starting the Rockets. The Rockets' raw, alt-rock spirit adds a scabrous edge to its basic country boogie, both in sound and humor, beating Drive-By Truckers to the country rawk punch by several years. Lean but loud, the Rockets' guitar muscle still body punches like a champ. Henneman's drawling wisdom resounds like a barroom prophet, the broken relations like notches round his eyes. Wiry, strong and just underrated enough to fell the bigger Crowes by upset, and for half the price. At BERKELEY CAFE with Jule Brown. $15/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker


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The Lisps walked into the thrift store of American music, picked out some sincerity of folk, a nub of narrative via vaudeville, and a dash of the joy of pop, creating what guitarist and lead singer Cesar Alvarez terms "avant-Americana... We take really kind of hokey antique or outmoded musical gestures and forms and styles and then give them a kind of contemporary tweak." Alvarez sees songs as a "constant push and pull about narrativity, experimentation, and then just pure simple pop fun."

Bass, drums, melodica, various percussive tools (including a large metal cabinet), and the bouncing female vocals of Alvarez's erstwhile significant other create the sound, whose simple lyrics and hum-worthy melodies build into accomplished, complex structures. With a country tinge that is both warm and occasionally haunting, The Lisps' next project is a sci-fi Civil War musical. Opening with Electrical Funeral for the indie dance pop of The Bloodsugars. 9:30 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey


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