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The guide to the week's concerts 

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Titus Andronicus, Blitzen, Trapper, Wye Oak, Delta Moon, Allman Brothers Band, Widespread Panic, Phosphorescent, TV Ghost, Wizzard Sleeve, Harlem

EH, WHATEVER: Everclear

VS.: Drivin N Cryin vs. Cowboy Junkies

VS.: Third Eye Blind vs. The Revival Tour

SONG OF THE WEEK: Discussing Marvin Gaster's "Mr. Catfish" with folk archivist Wayne Martin



Titus Andronicus is a despairing joyride in a stolen cop car, guitars blaring anguished distortion over singer Patrick Stickles' existential yelp. While as loud and ragged as Times New Viking, Titus' tunes are more classically constructed, like an anthemic rock band that's decided "fuck it," pieces flying loose as the chassis rattles on a final blazing rendezvous with a brick-lined cul-de-sac. Lyrics about art, urban despair and general feelings of frustration come off less as cries for help than imprecations to the ignorant. The So So Glos' grimy, ringing three-chord bash suggests New Bomb Turks reinventing the Buzzcocks. They open with Odessa Records' Wild Wild Geese. $8-$10/ 9:30 pm. —Chris Parker

click to enlarge Blitzen Trapper
  • Blitzen Trapper


Blitzen Trapper's self-released popular breakthrough, 2007's Wild Mountain Nation, was a rugged Western landscape overrun by beasts of all kind—shambling, catchy Americana that suggested The Grateful Dead and The Band; wiry electric bursts of nonsense that recalled Pavement; and various blips excised at will from the indie rock timeline. Afterward, though, Blitzen Trapper signed to Sub Pop and pulled the reins, emphasizing its smart, rich style of backwoods balladry. Now, only as wily as Crazy Horse but as tender as the best of this decade's folk revival, Blitzen Trapper's wandered into a No Depression-sponsored tour. Good news for y'allternative. Merge duo Wye Oak opens: Their crisp, convoluted numbers float thanks to Jenn Wasner's confident, relaxed delivery. $10-$12/ 9: 30 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Time changes everything is as sweeping a declaration as "Money Changes Everything." But in the 30 years since he wrote and, with the Brains, recorded the song of that title—a work whose profile increased considerably when Cyndi Lauper covered it on She's So Unusual—Atlanta's Tom Gray has left new wave deep in the rearview. These days, Gray traffics in the blues, his slide guitar holding court alongside the one slung by Delta Moon mate Mark Johnson. That twin attack recently powered the group to a win at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Blues Challenge finalists Robin Rogers & the Hot Band open. $10/ 9 p.m. —Rick Cornell


Perhaps best known for the four-sided live landmark At Fillmore East, The Allman Brothers embraced their live reputation and evolved from Southern rock pioneers to kingpins of the jam band scene. The band's current notoriety (and the reason to listen, even now) is due just as much to the guitars of young gun Derek Trucks and jam vet Warren Haynes as it is to its legendary past, espoused now by the husky vocals of organist Gregg Allman and dynamic percussive duo of Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson. With fellow scene leader Widespread Panic opening, expect guest spots, all-night jams (well, until 11 p.m.) and a lawn shrouded in smoke. $30-40/ 6 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

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Matthew Houck, the founder and anchor of the revolving-door, astral-country band Phosphorescent, is often typecast as a Will Oldham acolyte. And it's true: Houck often reverts to the tender, whimpering moan of the similarly hirsute Oldham, and he mines many of the same images—your body, those wolves, that water—that Oldham has stacked into his reputation as the poet laureate of beard folk. But Houck implodes Oldham's mannered approach from within, whispering his songs like an insomniac poet before howling them like a drug-shaken soul singer. Whether on his own arching breakup anthem "Joe Tex, These Taming Blues" or his tottering, organ-groan, steel-sigh take on Willie Nelson's kiss-off "Walkin'," Houck gets swept into the spirit of the song. Unlike Oldham, who keeps his songs to himself, Houck wants you to come along—rejoice, repent or just sing. With the considerably less pensive Alberta Cross. $8-$10/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Thanks to record label reputations and a shared tendency toward low fidelity or precision in production, all three of these out-of-towners get tagged as garage rock bands. But it's hard to imagine a triumvirate that better communicates the diversity percolating just beneath indie rock's increasingly shiny veneer these days. Alabama's Wizzard Sleeve, for instance, sounds a little like psychedelic lords Hawkwind taking a Black Flag LP the distance, sheets of bent tones smothering or supporting pure attitude. Austin's Harlem, though, sound like bad kids in a pop candyland, turning less-than-veiled love of breasts and pills into tunes that stick like boiled confectioners sugar. Meanwhile, Indiana headliners TV Ghost suggest a distillation of Faust IV and The Fall's Hex Enduction Hour: It's noisy, headstrong and full of unexpected twists, but traces of playfulness preside over all. $5/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


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Haven't heard from Everclear in a while? Don't worry, they're just like you left them. Their latest, In a Different Light, features the classic Everclear songs rearranged and rerecorded, making the broadening gap between this band's cash-in intentions and its creativity that much easier to spot. Frontman and sole constant Art Alexakis has refused to let his melodramatic post-grunge dream die with any shred of dignity, disposing of band members like dirty napkins for the third complete overhaul of Everclear's lineup in six years. The original trio could never match second single "Heroin Girl," a raging piece of poppy angst from the broken and defeated spirit of a recovering drug addict, anyway. Now approaching 50, Alexakis, a bleached-out career quasi-rock star, comes across as nothing more than a grumpy old man shaking his calloused fist at a world of more capable youngsters. With Paper Tongues and Tracy Lyons. $20-25/ 8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


click to enlarge 10.07mushearingaid_drivin.gif


From: Atlanta, Ga.
Since: 1985
Claim to fame: Flying courageously

It was the perfect description: Writing in the Oxford American's annual music issue, Chris Bachelder called Drivin N Cryin "the egg-laying mammal of Southern rock," praising the band's hybrid nature and its peculiar versatility. (Also memorable, his commentary on the quartet's name: "talent show drama and convenience store punctuation.") The new Great American Bubble Factory shows the guys are still up to their platypus-ian ways, with hard rock, social commentary, a near-bubblegum title track, a Dictators cover, and guitar hooks to make you weep with joy. The Jackets and Skullbuckle open. At THE POUR HOUSE for the first show of a two-night stand. $16-$20/ 9 p.m.


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From: Toronto, Ontario
Since: 1985
Claim to fame: Recording religiously

It was the perfect depiction: During a Duke Coffeehouse show nearly 20 years ago, singer-songwriter Luka Bloom offered his impersonation of Cowboy Junkies by playing his guitar with fingers a couple of inches from the strings. Bloom's air-strumming affectionately lampooned the Junkies' stock-in-trade sound—hushed, hypnotic, somewhere between rural blues and REM (the sleep state, not the band). It was soft-focus music perfect for congregating around one mic in an empty church, which, of course, was the blueprint for The Trinity Session, the much-beloved and since-revisited landmark. Lee Harvey Osmond opens. At THE ARTSCENTER for the second show of a two-night stand. $32/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell


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From: San Francisco
Since: 1993
Claim to fame: Disguising sordid lyrics with innocent pop hooks

Despite years of delays and procrastination, Ursa Major—the first Third Eye Blind release since 2003—mostly follows in the footsteps of the alt-rock quartet's previous three albums: shiny, guitar-driven pop sing-alongs anchored by huge, infectious choruses and dirty words. Apparently (and surprisingly), the hiatus did little to diminish demand for 3EB's brand of radio rock: Ursa debuted at No. 3, the highest in the band's history. Though his songwriting pace may have slowed, filthy-mouthed frontman Stephan Jenkins still knows how to work a crowd, but to call the capricious singer a prima donna would be understating his ego by a constellation. With Hot Chelle Rae. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $25-$28/ 8 p.m.


click to enlarge Chuck Ragan
  • Chuck Ragan


From: Behind the mic of punk rock bands
Since: 2008
Claim to fame: Traveling acoustic road show of punks gone folk

The second annual Revival Tour gathers a gang of artists from the new wave of tatted-up punk rockers whose allegiance to Dylan rivals their love for The Descendents. Stripped down to acoustics, the like-minded crew will sit in on one another's tunes and share the stories behind their songs. Chuck Ragan has three legitimate Americana records under his own name that find his vocal cords—shredded by years of abuse from fronting Hot Water Music—ragged and ready for rustic accompaniment. Former Sparta and At The Drive-In leader Jim Ward shows off his quiet side while Avail singer Tim Barry leans on his hard-nosed solo work. The Loved Ones' Dave Hause and indie folk songstress Jenny Owen Youngs also appear. At CAT'S CRADLE. $13-15/ 8:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


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