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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Rev. Horton Heat, Cracker, Legendary Shack Shakers, Jucifer, D-Town Brass, Bustello, Erie Choir, Red Collar, The Loners, Del McCoury Band, Brooks & Dunn, Birds Of Avalon, Carnivores, Selmanaires

EH, WHATEVER: Bob Schneider, Smile Smile

VS.: Holly Golightly vs. Sarah Borges

VS.: Langhorne Slim vs. Martin Sexton


click to enlarge Rev. Horton Heat
  • Rev. Horton Heat


You won't receive better value for your money, with the added bonus of nice variety. Openers Legendary Shack Shakers are the kind of animal that might necessitate shots if you get too close. Colonel J.D. Wilkes' manic performances are mesmerizing, and the band's loose-limbed sound ranges widely through swamp blues, gothic-country, country-punk and rockabilly-garage. Cracker's David Lowery is an underappreciated songwriter with a gift for hooks—plus an offbeat attitude and sly lyrical wit that makes Cracker's quirky roots-rock eccentricity particularly engaging. The Reverend's a white-hot guitarist capable of roof-raising rockabilly with flashes of country, blues and surf, filtered through Heat's charismatic stage presence. $20–$22/ 8:30 p.m. —Chris Parker


Sludge, stone metal, heavy blues, blackened doom: All are apt descriptors of nomadic duo Jucifer. They've refined their heavier-than-thou metal minimalism over the past 17 years' virtually unending tour, turning it into a murky, tarry stew of psychedelic fumes, Sabbath blues and gritty globs of resin-thick fuzz. Their slow and even-tempered movement is like that of a zombie mob. The Gloominous Doom, an occasionally (and unfortunately) ska-tinged thrash band from Pennsylvania, opens with Raleigh hard rock outfits Transient and Casualty. $7/ 8 p.m. —Bryan Reed


Mention brass in a music sense, and minds head off in many directions: Big bands hard-swinging in black and white. Herb Alpert's bunch from the '60s and a delightful woman in a whipped cream dress. The long-standing Dirty Dozen crew, or just New Orleans in general. Durham's D-Town Brass doesn't align itself with any specific sect. And with the likes of marimba and vibes joining the four saxes, two trumpets and trombone, the party is brass-heavy but, by design, not pure. What emerges is a clarion call to arms adventurous enough to attract, say, Bustello and Erie Choir. Whipped cream is totally BYO. $7/ 10 p.m. —Rick Cornell


After a breakneck year on the road, Red Collar's destiny as underground rock heroes hasn't yet materialized, though the quartet—which leaves more sweat and blood on local stages than any other—should eventually leave a legacy of mythological proportions thanks to all-out, shout-along live performances. Like a fresh shank of beef, the primal blasts of Raleigh's two-man blues show, The Loners, are raw, thick and tough. Their gritty stomp has the power to blow out your windows from the garage two doors down. Led by Bruce Hazel, Charlotte's Temperance League kicks off the night with Springsteen-style bar rock. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

click to enlarge Del McCoury Band
  • Del McCoury Band


Only a few gray hairs over 70 years old, Del McCoury ranks alongside Ralph Stanley and Earl Scruggs as a living legend of bluegrass. McCoury got his first break flatpicking and singing high lonesome leads with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, though he abandoned that gig just a year later to support his family with logging and construction jobs in Pennsylvania. For more than four decades, Del's led his own band with his two sons—mandolin player Ronnie and banjo plucker Robbie—and bassist brother Jerry. Seems appropriate, then, that the McCourys titled their latest—the secular follow-up to 2005's Grammy-winning disc The Company We KeepFamily Circle. With Paco Shipp. $24–$34/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

click to enlarge Brooks & Dunn
  • Brooks & Dunn


Given the gee-golly patriotism of "Only in America" and the mirror-has-two-plain-faces romance of the Reba McEntire duet "If You See Her," we don't expect Brooks & Dunn's farewell "Last Rodeo Tour" to avoid treacle. We don't expect it to avoid the hits, either, which Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn—songwriters who often worked best when collaborating outside of the group's confines—delivered with very few missteps for the last two decades. The duo's first three records are relatively pioneering efforts, affording modern country music the latitude to explore its electric edge and ethnic influence, moves later taken to the top of the charts by younger stars like Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney and Miranda Lambert. Brooks & Dunn's debut, the chiseled, canny and clever Brand New Man, remains an astounding collection of hooks, planted in rows of emotional baggage. With Jason Aldean. $25–$69.50/ 7:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Raleigh rockers Birds of Avalon sport a greasy garage-psych sound. Despite their predilection for muscular '70s AOR boogie, their two LPs offer much more than Neanderthal throb. The arrangements wind through interesting prog-inflected digressions showcasing canny musicianship and hidden caches of melody. Ramshackle pop experimentalists Carnivores deliver off-kilter, tuneful, lo-fi pop that incorporates influences ranging from late '80s alt-rock to classic Phil Spector pop and Brazilian tropicalia. Last year's debut LP, All Night Dead USA, keenly balances twee warmth and overdriven sonic crunch. Fellow Atlanta rockers The Selmanaires have a shifty, percussive sound with a dance-punk air, highlighted by frontman Herb Harris' vocal resemblance to David Byrne. $6/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker



Mediocrity has it adherents and its disciples. Bob Schneider is one. His music's generically inoffensive and forgettable, outfitted like T-shirts at Target in a variety of predictable colors—rowdy frat anthems, somnambulant AC pop, slick mainstream rock, verbose jam-folk balladry and lightweight funk. His attempts at quirky wit ("Corn Flakes and Sodium Penethol") are labored and inhibited by rhymes visible a week away. Given Sandra Bullock's taste in men, it's hard not to read into the fact that she dated Schneider. $15-$18/ 8:30 p.m. —Chris Parker

Saturday, June 5

click to enlarge Holly Golightly
  • Holly Golightly


From: London, England
Since: 1991
Claim to fame: Leading atavistic garage-punks Thee Headcoatees before striking out with her rockabilly-garage and, eventually, country

Holly Golightly's apprenticeship with Thee Headcoatees informed her subsequent music. For years, her sultry coo was accompanied by a blend of classic '60s garage rock, bristling rockabilly and the occasional smoldering blues ballad. Her guitar was loud, raw and biting, like Hannibal Lecter guesting on WWE. In 2007, she unveiled a new approach with collaborator Lawyer Dave and has since released a trio of albums as Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs. They veer deep into the heart of Dixie. While flashes of her old rock vibrancy remain, the music tends toward loping tempos and ragged twang. With The Moaners and Pinche Gringo. At THE CAVE. 10 p.m.


click to enlarge Sarah Borges
  • Sarah Borges


From: Taunton, Mass.
Since: 2004
Claim to fame: Skillful covers and a style that's veered from country into harder-rocking music

Borges has her hands full with Golightly. A couple years ago, the New England singer might not have seemed up to the challenge, but she raised her game with last year's The Stars Are Out. It wasn't that her first two albums were bad—far from it, actually. Despite Borges' captivating, somewhat smoky alto and an evocative delivery equally capable of bringing across Tom Waits and X, the country balladry of those records felt one-dimensional and too alt-country conventional. Diamonds in the Dark suggested a crackling, untapped rock spirit more fully realized on her latest. That versatility, her affecting voice and greater promise allow her to outdistance Golightly's experience and deeper catalogue, but only slightly. With The Honeycutters. At BERKELEY CAFE. $12/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker



From: New York
Since: 1999
Claim to fame: Endless exuberance

Langhorne Slim has the type of vivacity capable of energizing a room the size of the Cat's Cradle. Vigorously strummed acoustic chords fuel the untamed spirit of marathon performances by Slim and his trio of War Eagles, though the quartet's just as skilled at easing off the pedal on gentle folk pop tunes, like the soft piano and brushed snare accents that made "Worries" fitting for an insurance commercial. As Slim's matured, he's increasingly outfitted his austere lyricism with that type of polish, but don't take that as a slight—we've all seen far too many pitchers burn out early by tossing fastballs every night, anyway. With Harper Simon. At CAT'S CRADLE. $13–$15/ 9 p.m.



From: Boston
Since: 1990
Claim to fame: Ever-shifting voice

Martin Sexton has the type of voice that's capable of captivating a room as big as the Lincoln Theatre. Lifting from a rich baritone to a light falsetto at moment's notice, his powerful pipes can mimic a multitude of instruments, with beatboxing, vocal horns and scat solos at his disposal. Don't mistake Sexton for a Keller Williams knock-off, though—he's got rootsy songwriting chops that blend blues and folk. Sexton's influence on the heartfelt, slightly funky blue-eyed soul of modern singer-songwriters like John Mayer is obvious. As usual, it comes best from the source. With Ryan Montbleau Band. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $20–$22/ 8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


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