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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Doc Watson Tribute, Future Islands, Willy Joy, TRKfest, Hog, Sons of Tonatiuh, Cusses, Octopus Jones, Orquesta Gardel, Brand New LIfe, Kiss, Motley Crüe, Eleni Mandell

VS.: Tim Barry vs. Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton

VS.: Brazzaville vs. The Dead Kenny G's



Though Doc Watson served as an ambassador for and advocate of traditional and bluegrass music, he was also a restless sort, whether that meant crossing over the country-rock divide with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or trying some new tunes at the behest of his late son, Merle. That modest transgression is obvious with the scheduled talent for this tribute to Watson, who died in May. Featuring members of Lud, Regina Hexaphone, In the Year of the Pig and more, tonight nods fittingly to a North Carolina hero who didn't simply stick to his own. Free/7 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Future Islands were supposed to be a state away tonight. The Baltimore trio landed an opening slot on Passion Pit's big-rooms tour, meaning they'd be offering their sweaty electro-soul paroxysms to some of the biggest audiences they'd ever seen. But when the huge band canceled, the little openers did exactly what you might expect; they picked up the pieces, booked their own tour and agreed to visit some old friends in some small spaces. They're best in cramped quarters, so see them tonight at this emergency stop before they return to a larger venue. With Lilac Shadows. $8–$10/10 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Discovery's "We Love the 90's" party several weeks ago might go down as one of the area's most memorable, throwback throwdowns in recent history.But it was just an auxiliary treat to this month's main event, which marks the return of Chicago dance stylist Willy Joy.When it comes to whisking between invective trap bass, stormy moombahton drills and transient house grooves, Joy lives up to his name. His 2011 EP, Whispering Woods, offered a brief glimpse at his capabilities as a rousing club commander and remix god. Remember: He's Kid Sister's tour DJ. If that can't convince you to juice your late-night maniac, what can?Discovery regulars The Biters, Nixxed and BLNGXBDGT also join the mix. $7/10 p.m. —Eric Tullis

click to enlarge TRKfest - FILE PHOTO BY D.L. ANDERSON


The bill for Trekky Records' fifth annual holiday in the sun bounds between rootsy indie rock (see Trekky staples Joe Norkus and Butterflies), elastic alt-rock (Hammer No More The Fingers), Afro-pop (Diali Cissokho and Kairaba!) and quietly compelling Americana (Ryan Gustafson). With a stylistic range encompassing haunting acoustic songs to big bursts of electrified blues-punk around her set, Des Ark could go in any direction. TRKfest 2012 also boasts one-time-only collaborations by The Piedmont Family Reunion and Lost Skulls. The former finds Megafaun and Midtown Dickens interpreting each other's songs in a low-key, family-band arrangement. The latter is a Misfits tribute band helmed by Lost In The Trees' Ari Picker, which sounds incredibly promising. To read an interview with Picker about that choice, see Scan, the Independent Weekly's music blog. $10/3 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed


If metal made in the South is often burdened with an expectation of lethargy, let this night's headliners provide the exception: While neither Durham's Hog nor Atlanta's Sons of Tonatiuh are sprinters, both offer a more nimble approach than the "sludge" tag suggests. Hog's debut EP matched tight, brawny riffs to expansive melodies. The resulting sound balances urgency with deliberation, a thick foundation with clean, fluid leads. On their newly released second album, Parade of Sorrow, Sons of Tonatiuh upset monolithic currents of doom metal with sudden hardcore punk surges. Also, Man Will Destroy Himself and Stampede. $5–$7/9 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed


A pair of disparate rock bands united by their incredible catchiness anchors this bill: Savannah's Cusses strip shoegaze to its most kinetic bits, cutting down the distortion, beefing up the bass lines and focusing on singer Angel Bond's hooky melodrama. By putting a premium on momentum rather than heft, they manage a lightweight and accessible attack. Myrtle Beach's Octopus Jones arrives at the intersection of garage psychedelics and glam-bejeweled classic rock. Enormous melodies sit beneath colorful fuzz, subverting pop impulses only slightly. White Rifles open. $5/10 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence


With "Rhythm Domination" serving as the title of this joint show, Orquesta GarDel and The Brand New Life have a right to feel cocky. The two powerhouse big bands—stoking Afro-Caribbean and West African grooves, respectively—have honed their game together on a recent tour. "This has been one of the best bills that The Brand New Life has been a part of because both bands have killer horn sections and huge rhythm sections with multiple percussionists, but stylistically play different music," says BNL bassist Seth Barden. Expect the unexpected, adds GarDel pianist Eric Hirsh, as the bands may trade out players throughout the night. Raleigh best batten down for this hurricane-strength dance party of Cuban timba and Senegalese mbalax, salsa and free jazz, merengue and Afrobeat. $8–$10/9 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger


Each summer, there are fewer and fewer reasons to make the trek to the amphitheater best known as Walnut Creek, the mammoth shed that used to be busy on a weekly basis. But both in outsize popularity and performance expectations, Kiss and the Crüe deserve and need a lot of room. Always outrageous, both bands cast rock 'n' roll as the grandest spectacle—sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, but in the middle of summer, mostly for a lot of fun. $35–$200/7 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Eleni Mandell spent her early career exploring a torch noir milieu that echoed the gritty gait of Tom Waits. Country and Brill Building pop explorations subsequently signaled the breathy chanteuse's increasingly felicitous tastes. That's also apparent in the eclecticism of her last two releases, 2009's Artificial Fire and last week's I Can See the Future. The arrangements shed their sometimes dour cast, tending upbeat and flirting with Adult Alternative (think Aimee Mann) while retaining much of her classic pop sophistication. Her latest is particularly luscious and cinematic, but still sweet and breezy thanks to Mandell's summery coo. With Stella Lively and Henry Wolfe. $10/9 pm. —Chris Parker



From: Richmond
Since: 1990
Claim to fame: Former frontman of Avail

Those who only know Tim Barry from his tenure fronting melodic hardcore heroes Avail may be surprised how far the singer-songwriter's solo work strays from his punk days. While his songs are still plenty pointed, the closest Barry comes to his former band's catalog is his harsh, sneering voice. Instead, he gets almost upbeat at times on 40 Miler—the latest of his five solo albums—with lighthearted jangles that even find him poking fun at himself. Though Barry's strong folk and blues influences overshadow the remaining strains of punk, he's admitted that he listens almost exclusively to classical music and sometimes brings in orchestral strings. With Josh Small and Julie Karr. At LOCAL 506. $10/9 p.m.



From: Los Angeles
Since: 2003
Claim to fame: Young blues revivalist

Though Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton's barely old enough to drink, he's as authentic a country bluesman as his nickname suggests; he lost his sight at the age of 16. Resembling fellow modern acoustic blues extraordinaire Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops in multiple ways, Paxton shares Flemons' knack for humorous showmanship, encyclopedic knowledge of the blues songbook, penchant for dressing in period attire and proficiency on multiple instruments. The versatile Paxton plays everything from banjo, guitar and fiddle to harmonica, piano and bones on tunes from ancient murder ballads to zesty Cajun numbers. At BOND PARK. Free/6 p.m. —Spencer Griffith



From: Barcelona via Los Angeles
Since: 1997
Claim to fame: Bandleader played saxophone for Beck

As one might expect of a band named for the capital of the Congo, Brazzaville is led by a wide-eyed, wide-reaching music enthusiast, with interests that seem to stretch from bucolic California drift to easy Spanish sway, from Sunday afternoon jazz to summers spent on the French Riviera. But frontman David Brown treats these eclectic influences as accessories, using them to dress up a body of sweetly accessible pop-rock rather than reshape it. Somewhere between The Old Ceremony's erudite majesty, The National's stately refinement and Kings of Convenience's unending charms, but more breezy than all of them, Brazzaville twinkles like a well-hidden jewel. Tonk's country gold opens. At KINGS. $7/9 p.m.



From: Austin, New Orleans, Seattle
Since: 2004
Claim to fame: Did you see their name?

Sound unheard but name well-read, it is certainly tempting to dismiss The Dead Kenny G's, the trio of busy saxophonist Skerik, longtime associate and basisst Brad Houser and Les Claypool sideman Mike Dillon. How could this be anything other than a prankish high school band, right? While there is a certain degree of trickster mentality to the act's mix of nimble sprints and blunderbuss noise, they're actually a fairly compelling unit, navigating the very awkward line between jam-band geniality and art-rock abrasion. Sure, the shout-out-loud punk rock bits can sound exactly like an unrehearsed high school unit, but that's sort of the point—awkwardly fitting several sounds into a space that actually doesn't exist. At THE POUR HOUSE. $8–$10/9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

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