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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Shemekia Copeland, Tim O’Brien, Future Islands, 9th Wonder & Erykah Badu, Maserati, Secret Boyfriend, Lack, Mipso, T0W3RS, Zack Mexico, Tres Chicas, JD McPherson

CELEBRATING: Pinhook IV: Pipe, Shark Quest

VS: Citizen Cope vs. Dr. Dog



Shemekia Copeland spent her teen years opening for her father—Grammy-winning Texas bluesman Johnny Copeland—on tour. Since releasing her debut at the age of 19, the Harlem-born Copeland has taken the roots world by storm; at last year's Chicago Blues Festival, the daughter of the late Koko Taylor actually passed on the crown of Queen of the Blues to Copeland. On the new 33 1/3, Copeland demonstrates the versatility of her powerhouse pipes more than ever before, from the tough, straightforward electric swagger of "I Sing the Blues" to cuts that shade toward R&B (Sam Cooke's "Ain't That Good News") and swampy rock 'n' roll ("Lemon Pie"). $19–$27/8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


Tim O'Brien's skills as a songwriter and instrumentalist have afforded him a career that boasts 13 solo records and untold numbers of collaborations. This year alone he's released We're Usually a Lot Better Than This, a live recording with songwriter Darrell Scott, and played family bandleader for the newly formed Party of Seven, a project with his sister Mollie and five other musically inclined O'Briens. Their debut, Reincarnation, comprises Roger Miller tunes. It'll be the classic O'Brien who takes the stage at The ArtsCenter, offering up inspiring acoustics and sweet songs to match. $27–$30/8 p.m. —Ashley Melzer


Some local fans are prone to lament the ascension of Future Islands, a Baltimore-via-North Carolina band who, only a year or so ago, might have spent the night at smaller local haunts like Kings or, in Chapel Hill, even The Cave. But thanks to a steady stream of good-to-spectacular records and seemingly endless live shows that make big-tent revivals feel staid, Future Islands rightly take their place in one of the region's biggest rock clubs. There's no doubt they'll handle the setting just fine. With Talk Normal and Airstrip. $14–$16/9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Mission College is the fictional university from the 1988 Spike Lee film, School Daze; in theory and in practice, it's also the headquarters for 9th Wonder's True School Corporation parties. Since both N.C. Central and N.C. State are celebrating homecoming this weekend, we might as well pretend that Mission College is, too. For this 95 Live installment, True School takes advantage of school spirit and 9th Wonder's producer-singer relationship with Erykah Badu, who'll be spinning wax on the turntables rather than waxing vocally from a stage. When she's DJing, she goes by DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown; when she was an emcee, Badu used to go by MC Apples. Maybe they'll all show up tonight. $30/10 p.m. —Eric Tullis

click to enlarge Maserati - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND

11.03 MASERATI @ LOCAL 506

Though they've long released their music via the same label as Explosions in the Sky, instrumental Georgia act Maserati have never been confined by the post-rock tags to which they've often been linked. Indeed, their latest and second without late drummer Jerry Fuchs, Maserati VII, is a deep-space exploration driven by terse rhythms and decorated with wide textures. Sure, the dreaded "cinematic" descriptor still applies to their music, but their mix of Motorik beats, dance-band enthusiasm and prog patterns puts plenty of space between them and their Texas brethren. With Majeure, aka A.E. Paterra of Zombi. The Bronzed Chorus opens. $8–$10/9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Not even considering his own music, former Nightlight co-owner and the head of the Hot Releases label Ryan Martin has left fingerprints on much of the ever-healthy fringe-music scene in Chapel Hill. But as Secret Boyfriend, Martin approaches an intersection of abstract noise and structured songs, volleying both oscillating drones and shocks of noise against casually paced lo-fi pop. This evening marks the beginning of the "Secret Lack of Vomit Tour," which Secret Boyfriend shares with Lack and SHV, both of whom complement Martin's vehicle with raw, abstract aesthetics that give ground to pop motifs. Lack makes throbbing dance music with an industrial clang, where SHV scours melodic instrumentals with static bursts. With Pak, Jeff Rehnlund and Mirror Azure. $5/10 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed


Mipso's Buddy Holly-like take on the Avett Brothers' style makes for feel-good, catchy tunes. The quartet (they recently dropped the Trio tag) are also emotionally versatile enough to tackle tricky, unpleasant topics. Consider "Dying Daze," mandolin player Jacob Sharp's ode to his mother. She died before getting to see her son pack out the Cradle or play N.C. State's homecoming, which the UNC group did on October 28. In the song, Sharp speaks openly and tenderly about losing her, before closing with a brief interpolation of "Amazing Grace." The body of the song is far stronger than its familiar conclusion, revealing a pack of poignant songwriters. Plume Giant and David Childers & the Overmountain Men join the bill. $10/8:30 p.m. —Corbie Hill


This bill boasts a bundle of N.C. pop-rock upstarts that have produced some of the year's most compelling releases. With a debut LP (If All We Have Is Time) and an EP follow-up (Wyatt), Chapel Hill's T0W3RS are a pan-indie dynamo, marrying the electronic psychedelics of bands such as Animal Collective to scrappy earworms built of bright guitar bursts and cathartic choruses. Kill Devil Hills' Zack Mexico derives its power from darkly distorted surf permutations, as captured on the wonderfully wicked Aberrations of Celestial Kokomo. Muscular riffs and bass lines build into tidal waves beneath heavy, shoegazing distortion. Baltimore's The Caribbean also play. (Editor's note: Indy Week writer Corbie Hill leads Alpha Cop, who share the bill.) $3–$6/9:30 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence


From their modest beginnings of joined voices in impromptu settings, Tres Chicas proceeded to make a pair of critically praised albums for Yep Roc Records, including one recorded in London with Nick Lowe's band. Being that they did not perform at the recent Yep Roc 15th-anniversary showcase, this local performance serves as welcome balm for fans of this Triangle-based trio. Their heavenly, heartfelt harmonies inhabit their own sparkling originals along with well-chosen covers. While the band's name is tongue in cheek, the sound they make is decidedly un-chica-like; these are women who have lived and loved and learned enough to inform their music with grace, grit and wisdom. $10/9 p.m. —David Klein


Oklahoma-bred songwriter JD McPherson could take or leave the time machine of nostalgia, but he's not so wishy-washy about the R&B roots of rock 'n' roll. McPherson recorded his debut, Signs and Signifiers, in his producer's attic with vintage microphones onto a quarter-inch 1960s tape machine; the result is an exceptionally fun romp through just that musical headspace. Fiery vocals, fat bass lines and rockabilly rhythms fight for dominance on songs both soulful and explosive. Try keeping your feet still while listening to "Scandalous" or keep the hook of "Northside Gal" out of your head, unless you fear defeat. Sean Rowe opens. $12–$15/8 p.m. —Ashley Melzer



If the epicenter for regional indie rock has indeed migrated a few miles east from Chapel Hill, it's safe to say The Pinhook is partially responsible. The room hosts its fair share of dance parties and karaoke nights, but it's also been a reliable rock club dependent on a calendar habitually stocked with local talent. Tonight, the Main Street venue celebrates four years of business with a de facto tribute to Merge Records, the independent label that, while founded in Chapel Hill, now bases its operations a few blocks away in Downtown Durham.

Both examples of the record label's early, local-heavy roster, Pipe and Shark Quest, now seem ideally suited for The Pinhook. Pipe's ragged bluster of '70s punk and '80s indie makes for potent bar-rock, enhanced by the customary hailstorms of empty beer cans. After breaking up at the turn of the millennium, Pipe has resumed its local-hero status with gigs that have grown increasingly frequent. Foiling Pipe's rambunctious punk with elegant composure, Shark Quest's instrumentals nod to Morricone and Tortoise as they mix twangy folk and lush exotica. Taken as a pair, the bands remark upon the sort of eclecticism and inclusiveness for which The Pinhook's booking has always aimed. $7/10 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed



FROM: Washington, D.C.
SINCE: 1992
CLAIM TO FAME: Mellow soulful grooves

Tying easygoing coffeehouse strums—think Jack Johnson—to a hip-hop influence, veteran singer-songwriter Citizen Cope is identifiable more for the laid-back urban vibe his songs conjure rather than the few somewhat memorable tunes he's written. Employing a quasi-rap delivery on occasion, Cope pales to like-minded contemporaries such as G. Love, failing to deliver hooks or lyrical heft throughout his lightweight fare. At least he consistently sets a mellow mood that allows fans to drift through his catalog without realizing he's following a formula. The opposite of Cope in countless ways, local Kenny Roby makes an odd but alluring choice for the opening spot. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $25–$30/8 p.m.



FROM: Philadelphia
SINCE: 1998
CLAIM TO FAME: Melodic retro rock

Pairing vintage '60s and '70s pop-rock—think the Beatles—with a modern indie influence, veteran rockers Dr. Dog are instantly familiar even on first listen, though their knack for melodic gold makes them easily memorable on their own merits. Crafting shaggy garage soul with a rootsy heart, the quintet takes cues from classic acts like The Beach Boys and Big Star. But as the sterling track "Where'd All the Time Go?" proves, the band's nearly as likely to draw inspiration from contemporaries such as The Flaming Lips. The whimsical arrangements and warm co-ed harmonies of Maryland indie folkers Cotton Jones should win over plenty of converts, too. At HAW RIVER BALLROOM. $20–$22/8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


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