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CL’s picks for the week’s best shows


ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & CHORUS The season-closing ASO subscription concert, conducted by Robert Spano, combines a lesser-known work with a proven crowd pleaser. The “Symphony No. 3” of Karol Szymanowski, subtitled “Song of the Night,” gets its first ASO performance. The incredibly popular “Carmina Burana” by imperial atavist Carl Orff, the second half of the program, viscerally celebrates triumph of the human spirit through sexual and holistic balance. $23-$73. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center. 404-733-5000. — Mark Gresham

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB Reuniting with its old drummer also brought back the rain-drenched Jesus and Mary Chain-styled Goth that the BMRC had abandoned for more tranquil, rootsy Americana seas on its last album. The trio creates a lot of racket, but the songs beneath the reverRebelReb shimmer with a garagy psychedelic esthetic that feels both retro and oddly contemporary. Philly’s the Cobbs, who open, swim in similarly dark waters. $21. 8 p.m. Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre. 404-233-7699. — Hal Horowitz

JON CLEARY & THE ABSOLUTE MONSTER GENTLEMEN It took a move to New Orleans to unleash Cleary’s deep soul and funk, but once he got there he became one of the city’s most respected keyboardists, despite his U.K. upbringing. Best known as Bonnie Raitt’s longtime sideman, Cleary’s own four-disc catalog is an impressive mix of Dr. John-inspired wiry R&B, groove-oriented jazz and a tough Crescent City vibe. His band is lean and mean, but when he pounds those keys harder as the set progresses, it’ll make you forget that Mardi Gras was over a few months ago. $15. 8 p.m. Smith’s Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. — HH

THE SOUL OF JOHN BLACK John “JB” Bigham’s alter ego spins his unique style of soul blues with a contemporary twist. Equal parts Prince, Al Green and John Lee Hooker, Bigham references gospel, field hollers, juke joints and Stax, writing songs with memorable, even hummable hooks. Alternately sexy, lively and darkly intense, he brings a fresh, unpretentious persona to a genre desperately in need of a face-lift. $7. 8 p.m. The Five Spot. 404-223-1100. — HH


LITTLE RIVER BAND, LIBERTY JONES The touring version of Little River Band is currently anchored by guitarist Stephen Housden and Wayne Nelson, bridging Australian and American harmonies while revisiting the bands’ considerable backlog of pop hits. Liberty Jones, an Atlanta-area country-rock hybrid, opens the evening with tunes from its new, self-titled disc released on the local Indian Proud Entertainment label. The wide-ranging collection includes covers of Beatles, Steve Earle and Jimi Hendrix tunes interspersed with a fistful of equally diverse originals. Table of four: $70; individual tickets: $15-$45. 8 p.m. Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre, Mableton. 770-819-7765. — Lee Valentine Smith

RAINN BENEFIT W/ KATE EARL RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), an organization based in Washington, D.C., helps victims of sexual assault through a 24-hour hotline as well as various other programs and education initiatives. To raise awareness of its efforts and recruit Atlanta volunteers, the organization is holding a benefit concert headlined by Kate Earl, a dreamy Alaskan folk singer whose songs have appeared on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Jupiter Watts, Alan Yates Band and Nathan Beaver open. Proceeds from the show benefit RAINN and the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center. $15. 8 p.m. The Loft. 404-885-1365. — Mosi Reeves

SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM They take their name from a Dadaist happening, and are informed by a similar rejection of objectification or categorization. A track may pass through more stages than a septuagenarian, including anything from prog-metal thunder to dark, industrial experimentalism, from folky ambience to no-wave jazz skronk. The live show’s earned them a loyal following, playing effectively into their sense of theatricality and their desire to upset expectations. $12. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. — Chris Parker


ALL-NIGHT DRUG PROWLING WOLVES, GENTLEMAN JESSE AND HIS MEN, TEL AVIV Little Rock’s Tel Aviv filters pensive melodies and post-punk coos and caterwauls through various spectral hues. Gentleman Jesse plays pub-punk rockers that show no allegiance to punk’s sneer over rock’s swagger. Drug Wolves play whiskey/amphetamine sweat-soaked punk anthems. The show begins with a screening of Richard Matson’s Towncraft, a documentary film about the Little Rock punk scene. $7. 8 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. — Chad Radford

ALOE BLACC, EUGENE IV, DILLON Aloe Blacc is an artist of range and versatility, someone who can rap, make beats and sing (as opposed to the offbeat harmonizing that most “singing” rappers do). On his acclaimed 2006 album Shine Through, he flips reggae and Afro-Cuban styles, interprets John Legend’s “Ordinary People” in Spanish, and even hearkens to Sam Cooke. While not as well-known as Aloe Blacc, Atlanta’s Eugene IV aspires to the same fusion of hip-hop and soul through his album Starving Artist. Dillon, formerly of Intellekt and Dirty Digits, opens. $10. 10 p.m. Apache Café. 404-876-5436. — MR

ETOWAH JAZZ SOCIETY This traditional “big band” group of 17 community musicians opens Big Shanty’s summer “Melodies on the Meadow” concert series with jazz and swing favorites, Broadway standards, and other popular selections. Lawn chairs and picnic baskets are encouraged for this free outdoor program, which runs until 9 p.m. Free. 7 p.m. The Art Station at Big Shanty, Kennesaw. 770-514-5930. — MG

HEARTLESS BASTARDS This three-piece uniquely combines the introspection of singer/songwriter rock with a garage-influenced, power-trio attack. A forum for frontwoman/auteur Erika Wennerstrom’s musings, the Bastards expand the boundaries of their rather limited instrumentation by taking inspiration from the Velvet Underground’s prickly primitivism, Concrete Blonde’s edgy drama and Led Zeppelin’s layered, majestic thump. The rumbling, muscular sound that unfolds is tempered by unusually thoughtful lyrics and Wennerstrom’s powerful, dusky croon. $10. 7:30 p.m. Red Light Cafe. 404-874-7828. — HH

LAVENDER DIAMOND, ENTRANCE An interesting pairing of seemingly disparate acts that share a common love of music from an earlier era. Like its evocative name, Lavender Diamond traffics in lovely, achingly subtle folk/country rooted in a hazy ’60s miasma of love, fantasy and naïve optimism. Betty Stark’s classically trained, trilling soprano compresses Joanna Newsom-styled expansive epics into poppy, three-minute lovelorn ditties. In contrast, Guy Blakeslee, aka Entrance, entrances with a louder, more psychedelic but no less unfashionable aesthetic tainted by an ominous, even bleak, blues noir. $10. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. — HH

TIM BRANTLEY Tim Brantley is crazy! In 2004, he released his acoustic-rock-meets-piano-pop debut Bon Voyage before ever playing a show; yet his bass-ackward antics didn’t stop fans from voting Brantley AMG Atlanta’s “Best New Band” in 2005. Crazy like a fox. Two years later, he’s performing music from his 2006 sophomore release The Lion of Truth, a polished record reflecting his mainstream influences and professional approach to being an Atlanta favorite. $12. 9 p.m. Smith’s Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. — Brian Holcomb


CHICAGO/AMERICA Two polar opposites from the formidable AM Gold period of ’70s rock share the bill tonight. Both have impressive longevity in the performing arena and sales/airplay charts. Chicago, originally one of those horn bands in the moody Blood Sweat & Tears mold, has morphed over the years to include sensitive ballads and rousing pop anthems. America is still active, too, with a recent album and its instantly familiar take on the golden-haired Southwestern folk-rock sound. $39.75-$59.75. Chastain Park Amphitheater. 404-249-6400. — LVS

ERIC DARIUS After two years playing with keyboardist/trombonist Brian Culbertson, contemporary-jazz saxophonist Eric Darius has hit the road with his own band this year, playing Cotton Club in Tokyo early last month before diving into a string of U.S. summer festivals and club gigs. Smooth-voiced Atlanta jazz/R&B singer Harley Griffin is special guest for these two 75-minute “dinner shows.” (Warning: In addition to admission, there’s a $23 minimum food order per person in the restaurant seating area.) $32-$53. 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sambuca Jazz Café. 404-237-5299. — MG

RICHARD BICKNELL & THE SHAMELESS LOVERS, BLAKE RAINEY While Bicknell may not be a well-known Americana singer/songwriter outside the city, he has the songs and the sound that put him in the upper echelons of the genre. Local “man about town” Blake Rainey opens with his more contemporary style. $12-$15. 8 p.m. Smith’s Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. — James Kelly


THEE MORE SHALLOWS, CONTINUE AND SAVE, THE LONG SHADOWS The tie that binds San Francisco’s odd-pop Thee More Shallows to the lineage of left-field hip-hop Anticon labelmates is the word “experimental.” Previously the group’s sound fell into the category of shoegazer and/or atmospheric, but its latest release, Book of Bad Breaks, embraces unmistakable pop tones and hooks. Continue and Save and the Long Shadows open. $7. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. — CR


GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS, ELENI MANDELL Canadians sure do love their rootsy Americana. Toronto’s Great Lake Swimmers paddle in wispy, ethereal waters that make even the often somnolent Cowboy Junkies sound like Mastodon in comparison. Lovely, spacey if somewhat drowsy, the fragile vocals of Tony Dekker float in a melancholy pool that is relaxing and pleasantly unassuming. Mandell’s hipster, torchy jazz/folk opens the evening, though, with her six-album catalog, she should arguably be headlining. $12. 8:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. — HH

OZMA Visit Ozma’s MySpace page and you’ll find that it draws from the same inspirations as your favorite college bands. Electric Light Orchestra, the Cars and Weezer figure prominently in its sound. (Ozma lead singer Daniel Brummel also plays in the Elected with Rilo Kiley’s Blake Sennett.) Ozma sounds slick, but what do you expect? The band is from L.A. Besides, Brummel sings smart and clever lyrics, and the music is polished, proving commercial isn’t always a bad thing. Eastern Conference Champions and the Actual open for this rising pop-rock band. $12. 8 p.m. Vinyl. 404-885-1365. — MR


THE LEGENDARY SHACK SHAKERS, CLETIS & HIS COUNTRY COUSINS The Shakers bring their reckless country soul to town once again, mixing the blues and rootsy hillbilly with a full-frontal rocking assault. Cletis and his boys open the show with their down-home trucker sound. This will be a night to drink and fall down. $10. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. — JK

LES CLAYPOOL, TWO GALLANTS You have to be a pretty phenomenal bassist to make it the centerpiece of the music — without any guitar — and Les Claypool is special. Every project from Primus to Oysterhead bears his idiosyncratic mark — a master of funk with an odd vocal style to match his imaginative subject matter. Two Gallants are a gruff, Americana-mining duo who veer from stark austerity to ramshackle, electrified rumble, and are reminiscent in their use of traditional tropes of the Pogues. $25. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. — CP

THE NATIONAL Already a very good band whose pop smarts and rich sonics made it a fine opener for the New Pornographers a couple years ago, the National graduates to the big leagues with its stunning latest, Boxer. The bright, bustling arrangements take a decidedly dark turn, approaching the moody majesty of Radiohead and the late-night cabaret crawl of Greg Dulli’s Twilight Singers. Like film noir, the album is all shadows and smoke, taking a bit of time to uncoil before fully infecting your senses. Sold out. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. — CP

RUSH Critics almost universally assail this long-standing Canadian power trio, but when did the public ever pay attention to music criticism, anyway? So why are you reading this? Oh yeah, for some actual show info, not mindless, self-indulgent wanking and/or cornball clichés. OK, then: The immensely popular Rush has a new album (Snakes and Arrows) and is touring to support it, including tonight’s “evening with” performance. All Rush, all night. How’s that? Actually, the new album isn’t bad, but you’ve already made up your mind about Rush by now, so go or stay home. $46-$86. 7:30 p.m. HiFi Buys Amphitheatre. 404-443-5090. — LVS


CARRIE RODRIGUEZ, TIM EASTON, BETH WOOD What a fine collection of troubadours! Rodriguez is best known for her duets with the legendary Chip Taylor, but she has branched out on her own and the results are impressive. Easton is one of those guys who is often referred to as the new “Dylan,” and he comes fairly close. Wood won the 2005 Kerrville Folk Festival title, which speaks for itself. $15. 7:30 p.m. Eddie’s Attic. 404-377-4976. — JK

HONDA CIVIC TOUR W/ FALL OUT BOY What do Fall Out Boy, Paul Wall, +44, Cobra Starship and the Academy Is all have in common? Aside from obvious pop roots and excessive airtime on MTV, these guys know how to sell records — make it fun, make it catchy. So bring your rubber snakes, brush yo grillz and wear your tight pants — it’s a show stuffed full of the guilty pleasures you hate to love. $19.50-$35. 5 p.m. HiFi Buys Amphitheatre. 404-443-5090. — BH

MASERATI, THE LIVERHEARTS, GOOD FRIDAY EXPERIMENT Athens’ post-rock torchbearer Maserati is currently touring in support of Inventions for the New Season, the group’s first pairing with the esteemed Brooklyn label Temporary Residence, Ltd. The group plays a tempered and progressive take on drawn-out and cinematic rock structure. Atlanta’s own post-punk mainstays the Liverhearts and long-standing psych-rock voyagers the Good Friday Experiment are also on the bill. $10. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. — CR

Bands/performers/venues wishing to be included in Sound Menu’s noted-acts boxes may send recordings, press material and schedules two weeks in advance to Creative Loafing c/o Rodney Carmichael, 384 Northyards Blvd., Suite 600, Atlanta, GA 30313, or e-mail information to: rodney.carmichael at To be included in the listings only, e-mail venue and band schedules by Friday at noon (for the issue that comes out the following Thursday) to