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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Vieux Farka Toure, Kairaba, Cough, Make, George Clinton, Lilac Shadows, The Toddlers, Kooley High, King Mez, Halo, Drique London, Hops and Roots Festival, Hotel Lights

VS: Hunx & His Punx vs. Vaz



Guitar is nomadic by its very nature; it's an instrument that travels well. Nowhere has this been more true than in the nomadic "desert blues" of Mali, the wellspring of North American blues. This genre was epitomized by the statuesque guitar playing of the late Ali Farka Toure, but the gift didn't die with him: It migrated to his son, Vieux Farka Toure, who's touring behind his new album, The Secret. Recorded between Bamako and Brooklyn, the album traces Mali's musical DNA across the North American landscape. Vieux's collaborators include guitar heavies such as John Scofield and Derek Trucks, as well as Dave Matthews, a South African native who brings his own roots to the scathing single "All the Same." Once an esoteric taste known mostly to connoisseurs, Mali's music is spreading, thanks to young artists such as Vieux, who are bringing its traditions to the world stage. Middle act Kairaba, an African quintet based in Carrboro, melds Senegalese griot songs with soul-rocking original arrangements, led by fiery vocalist and kora wizard Diali Cissokho. Opening is Bhi Bhiman. $13–$15/ 8 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger


The average Cough song, judging by the five that comprise last year's Ritual Abuse, meditates in its murk for more than 10 minutes. So be warned: You're in for burdensome metal without much of a respite. But the band cuts its scathing Southern sludge with spacey psych-rock, and its gargling growls with melodic moans. Imagine Sabbath slowed and corroded. Shorter, but only by comparison, Make's "...And Time Came Undone" offers an early glimpse at the Chapel Hill band's forthcoming Trephine and evokes, in turn, Earth's ringing psych-twang and the melodic scope of Gorgoroth's more recent work. Carrboro's Swordmasters of Ginaz open. $5/ 9 p.m.—Bryan C. Reed

click to enlarge George Clinton - PHOTO BY CARLON SCOTT
  • Photo by Carlon Scott
  • George Clinton


If James Brown is the godfather, then George Clinton is his outlandish underboss, guiding funk into headier, space-faring environs without sacrificing any booty bounce. As leader of Funkadelic and Parliament, Clinton absorbed not only the Godfather's lessons but also the influence of '60s psychedelia. The resulting colorful, freewheeling funk was made even more distinctive by keyboardist Bernie Worrell's many squiggly analog synth samples. The last quarter-century of recorded output from Clinton and his cohorts (now dubbed the P-Funk All Stars) has been spotty, though still adventurous and stylistically promiscuous. But there's no doubt about their live show, which effortlessly transforms the room into a glorious, sweaty, grooving mess. $30–$45/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker


Sam Logan is one hell of a pop songwriter. As one-fourth of the Rubber Souled Huguenots and now as the leader of the bigger, darker Lilac Shadows, Logan has fashioned songs that sail with super-smooth momentum, riding earworm hooks to irresistible catharsis. In his current outfit, Logan and a team of Triangle pop rock aces bolster his songs with tremendous walls of shadowy distortion. It's a mix of light and dark that could come off as trite, an attempt to grow the mystique of his music without actually having to change it much. But Logan's new shoegazing tones bolster his large-hearted songs, providing a crushing counterpoint to his romantic ideals. The Shadows are joined by the Toddlers, who give sad-bastard country an indie rock makeover, with grungy guitar tones and sly bass lines augmenting the depravity of their lonely odes. The Charming Youngsters open. $5/ 10 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence


Raleigh-bred rap acts King Mez and Kooley High have always been ceremoniously linked, and even though Kooley High has relocated its grind to New York, when there's news of a homecoming show, local fixture King Mez is an automatic accomplice. To boot, the Raleigh "creative platform" known as LiKuid Nation has just released a track featuring Kooley frontman Charlie Smarts, King Mez and Phonte Coleman titled "In the 336." Rising Dutch producer Wan produced the jam, and it's from the forthcoming mixtape L.S.D., which will serve as a catapult for the LiKuid Nation-affiliated clothing brand, The Dropouts. Who knows? Maybe you'll get to see this song performed live. Halo and Drique London round out the bill. $10/ 9 p.m. —Eric Tullis


The inaugural run of the all-day-and-all-night Hops and Roots Fest gathers from all ends of the roots spectrum, including the boozy bar rock of Olympic Ass-Kickin Team, the vintage blues boogie of Bill Toms & Hard Rain, the twangy torch songs of the Lizzy Ross Band, the fiesty newgrass-jazz fusion of Galactic Cowboy Orchestra and the new-jazzy pop direction of Greg Humphreys. Cortete's horn-abetted pop sophistication and Craicdown's worldy flair are featured as well. Local breweries pouring include Carolina Brewery, Fullsteam, Foothills and LoneRider. It's not all beers and bands though: Benjamin's Vineyards will also be on-site, along with several food vendors and a farmers market, plus there's free camping. $15–$20/ noon. —Spencer Griffith


Though he's still best known as the drummer and occasional songwriter for just-reunited Chapel Hill pop luminaries Ben Folds Five, Darren Jessee and his trusty sidemen have been plodding away under his Hotel Lights moniker for the better part of the past decade. As captain of his own ship, Jessee crafts well-orchestrated tunes that trade BFF's offbeat lyrics, fuzzed-out bass and bashed piano chords for contemplative narratives, lush arrangements and hints of Southern heritage. Electric Owls have similarly proud lineage: Andrew Herod co-led acclaimed Chapel Hill alt-rockers the Comas, but the current Ashevillian and his ace team of hired guns turn the amps down and harmonies up on gentler indie pop numbers. $6–$8/ 8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith



From: Oakland, Calif.
Since: 2008
Claim To Fame: Making like the Kingsmen singing "My Boyfriend's Back"

Frontman Seth Bogard wears his influences right on the sleeve of his greaser jacket. He and his merry band of Punx (including fellow sock-hop enthusiast Shannon Shaw, of Shannon & the Clams) offer the best girl-group homages this side of a casino reunion tour while staying true to their rough-and-tumble garage rock roots. Bogard's nasal whine might not be everyone's cup of tea, but with tunes as relentlessly charming as the title track from their debut, Too Young To Be In Love, it's an easy pill to swallow. At LOCAL 506 with the Cute Lepers and Something Fierce. $10–$12/ 9 p.m.



From: Brooklyn by way of North Dakota
Since: 1998
Claim To Fame: Noise rock the way AmRep bands used to make it

AmRep being short for the stalwart '90s indie label Amphetamine Reptile, home of teeth-kicking folks such as Helmet, the Melvins and the semi-forgotten Hammerhead. When Hammerhead broke up in 1996, two of its members formed Vaz, and they spent the first decade of the 21st century making some of the best (and strangest) two-man kickass tunes that very few people had a chance to hear. They're now a three-piece, and the first Vaz album in six years, Chartreuse Bull, finds them cutting out the funny digressions in lieu of hitting listeners over the head in a most agreeable fashion. At CASBAH with Black Skies and Pygmy Shrews. $6/ 9 p.m. —David Raposa


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