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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Dead Confederate, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Aminal, Gmish, Tobacco, Ozomatli, Mavis Staples, Cotton Jones, Whitey Morgan & the 78s, Tonk, The National, Capleton

VS.: A Place To Bury Strangers vs. Stars

VS.: Katatonia vs. Gayngs



Dead Confederate's 2008 debut, Wrecking Ball, purveyed sweltering, slo-mo neo-psych reminiscent of the Black Angels, spiced with loose-limbed Southern rock like that of My Morning Jacket. Their follow-up, Sugar, tightens the arrangements and reins in the sonic excess. Even better, they pick up the tempos and crank up the aggression on "Mob Scene" and "Quiet Scene." They may not fully avoid the sophomore slump, but it bodes well for their next release. Mt. St. Helens affects a similar brooding amble, though the melodrama is bigger to match the epic canvases and more varied instrumentation. The vigorous textures can be rather exhausting, but the songs never lack for ambition. $10–$12/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker


If you think klezmer music lacks life, resigned to archives and memories, look again. In ways, the music that emerged from Eastern European Jews undergirds so many offshoots today, sitting like a bedrock as deep as the blues. In modern turns, it's been a jumping-off point for many John Zorn projects. Here, Carrboro buskers Gmish continue getting their hands dirty in klezmer's gnarled roots. Also on board: Richmond's Taraf De Unemployed and a new local outfit called Blood Jar Creepers. On the history tip, Vincent Joos shares coverage from his recent Romanian trip. $5/ 9 p.m. —Chris Toenes

09.30 TOBACCO @ LOCAL 506

Tobacco is the solo guise of Pittsburgh beat-and-synth explorer Tom Fec, otherwise known as the co-founder of Black Moth Super Rainbow. Like Prefuse 73 using bigger chunks of sound, or like Throbbing Gristle soundtracking the basement parties of the future, Tobacco colors oddly trippy, old-school beats with sheets of noise, rainbows of melody and mutations of vocals (his own and, on the new Maniac Meat, Beck's, too). Fec sometimes forgoes strong songs for strictly sonic impressions, meaning his records might not be built to last. But this is a concert: Dance for an hour, and go home with bliss. Chicago's Dreamend opens. $9–$11/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Yes, Ozomatli has a Grammy—Street Signs won for best Latin rock/ alternative album in 2005—but to put the Los Angeles genre-mashers into a single category is a severe injustice to their musical melting pot. Sure, Ozo may be best known as an urban Latino orchestra, but the big band effortlessly blends rock, reggae and rap into a pan-Latino punk 'n' funk fusion. While Ozo's last couple discs have strayed too often toward a more straight-ahead pop friendliness and have been far from its best, its incendiary live performances are still its calling card. This one won't disappoint. $10–$55/ 8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

click to enlarge Mavis Staples - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND


If God were ever to appear in a church somewhere between Winona and Chicago to front the choir, She'd probably sound a whole lot like Mavis Staples: warm, wise and boundlessly soulful. Staples got her start in the Staple Singers, a family group that gave everything it touched—be it a trad gospel number, a modern spiritual or a study of social injustice—a mighty glow, illuminated from the inside by the guitar of patriarch Pops Staples. With her last two studio releases, the civil rights-themed We'll Never Turn Back and the brand new, Jeff Tweedy-overseen You Are Not Alone, Staples has reached the heights of the Staple Singers' catalog, singing songs old and new to the highest heaven. $28–$48/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell


When their folk-pop Baltimore band Page France fizzled out, Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw took the hit in stride. They skipped town (first into western Maryland and then to Georgia) and redirected their talents toward Nau's former side project, The Cotton Jones Basket Ride. With a name trimmed to Cotton Jones, the duo creates tunes that comingle lush pop/rock melodies and lo-fi country fuzz. The effect, as heard on 2009's Paranoid Cocoon and the new follow-up, Tall Hours in the Glowstream, is something akin to dream pop with a country drawl. Silver Lake's Pepper Rabbit opens with haunting psych pop. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Ashley Melzer


Sure, they're Yankees from Flint, but don't let that fool you. Whitey Morgan & the 78s hew closer to the heart of country than anything emanating from Nashville. Their honky-tonk twang's a living embodiment of W.W.W.D. (What would Waylon do?) right down to frontman Eric Allen's husky baritone. It's dog-eared territory as suggested by the title of their 2008 debut, Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels, which literally namechecks all the usual suspects (Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Hank Sr., Ernest Tubb). They even employ pedal steel guitarist Fred Newell, of Waylon Jennings and Jerry Reed backing fame. Their sauntering, whiskey-soaked heartbreak occasionally manages a strong rock backbeat, though they keenly countrify Springsteen's "I'm On Fire." $7/ 8:30 p.m. —Chris Parker


When derided, New York's The National are cast as just another boring, sullen indie rock band, led by a singer that's too cool to croon exactly and backed by two sets of brothers more attuned to subtlety than sensation. But those criticisms are exactly what makes The National so worthwhile: Frontman Matt Berninger delivers his phrases with beguiling indecision, stuck somewhere between being a heartthrob and a heartbreaker. "Make us laugh/ or nothing will," he sings on "Little Faith," hanging words between exuberance and exhaustion. And on the new High Violet, those brothers arrange with an astounding interest in texture, scattering guitars and rhythms into an impressionistic framework that, indeed, feels like another sullen indie rock band—just that much smarter and well considered. Owen Pallett opens. $26–$29/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Capleton's a dancehall heavyweight with a career that stretches to the late '80s. His earliest work followed the bawdy template of the "slack" style, highlighted by the popular single "Bumbo Red," which controversially surveys sodomy and bestiality. During the mid-'90s, he converted to Rastafarianism and scored a deal with Def Jam, veering toward an R&B-infused reggae sound and collaborating with Lil Jon and Method Man. By the millennium, he'd fully embraced Rasta philosophy and a roots-driven, conscious-heavy approach. His latest, I-Ternal Fire, slows down the pace and indulges more of a soul flavor, though it still burns with his fiery spirit. With Munga, Romaine Virgo and Kulcha Knox. $22–$27/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker


click to enlarge A Place To Bury Strangers - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND


From: Brooklyn
Since: 2003
Claim to fame: Wanting to die like Jesus Christ and/ or R. Budd Dwyer

Rebuilding The Jesus & Mary Chain's wall of Spectorian distortion with the tools that Steve Albini's old bands once employed—specifically those die-cut and lathe-hewn bass and drum sounds—is the sort of attack plan that seems to work better on paper than in practice. But given that singer/guitarist Oliver Ackermann's day job is building guitar pedals, it shouldn't come as a surprise that, over the course of two full-lengths and countless EPs, APTBS has taken this blueprint and made it their own. With Carol Cleveland Sings and ROAR. At DUKE COFFEEHOUSE. $10/ 9 p.m.


click to enlarge Stars - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND


From: Montreal, by way of Toronto and NYC
Since: 2000
Claim to fame: Being the first broken social scenesters

Stars gained fame mostly through their association and work with Canada's Broken Social Scene, but Torquil Campbell and friends had been pedaling their nostalgic, heart-on-sleeve wares for a few years before BSS forgot it in people all over the world. However, while the wide-eyed earnestness of Campbell and co-vocalist Amy Millan can be exhilarating at times (as shimmering tunes like "Elevator Love Letter" or "Ageless Beauty" effortlessly illustrate), it can also come off as cloying and treacly. The tough, bass-led pop of Chapel Hill's Light Pines definitely adds heft, but given the choice between having heartstrings strummed and ears abused, APTBS (and a good set of earplugs) might be the way to go tonight. At CAT'S CRADLE. $18–$20/ 9 p.m. —David Raposa



From: Stockholm
Since: 1991
Claim to fame: Heavy metal with a fuzzy cover

Nominally, at least, Sweden's Katatonia is a metal band, with a member named Sodomizer and a contract with Peaceville, the English label that Darkthrone has long called home. But once again, on last year's adventurous Night is the New Day, the band aims its anthems through webs of synthesizers and strings, softening most of the snarl with an approach that suggests a romantic lining to all of this darkness. The edge isn't erased, though, just accompanied: On tunes like "Liberation," the electric grind and invective come surrounded by gentle passages of electronics and crooning, heaviness emphasized through bas-relief. The strategy, however fascinating, isn't without its frustrations, as Night is the New Day stunts its own momentum at nearly every new turn. With Swallow the Sun, Orphaned Land and Soul Preacher. At VOLUME 11 TAVERN. $17–$45/ 7 p.m.



From: Minneapolis, Wisconsin and Raleigh
Since: 2009
Claim to fame: Soft rock with a weird shell

Nominally, at least, Gayngs are an indie rock supergroup, with soul-folk crooner Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, rapper P.O.S., Andrew Bird sideman Mike Lewis and members of Megafaun and The Rosebuds collaborating under the aegis of mastermind Ryan Olson. But on last year's adventurous debut Relayted, the collective routes perfect bits of melody through a matrix of less obvious influences, from keynote inspirations 10cc to Bill Laswell's dub work, Miles Davis' psychedelic phases and chart-topping pop. The result is one of the year's most immersive records. Paced at 69 beats per minutes, with lyrics that shift constantly from the romantically doomed to the surreally detailed, what began as a joke of sorts becomes a perfect atmosphere of darkness. Perfectly sequenced, with thoughtful transitions navigating from one track to the next, Relayted demands you adjust your preconceptions—and, tonight, your schedule. With Glasser. At CAT'S CRADLE. $17–$20/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


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