COMMON, N.E.R.D., JANELLE MONÁE While Common's new single, "Universal Mind Control," from his upcoming release, Invincible Summer, garners mixed reviews, it represents the uncharted territory Chi-town's voice of reason plans to tackle for the first time in his career: club music. Sounds scary, no? But with production from the Neptunes and longtime OutKast collaborator Mr. DJ, Common intends to walk that fine line between techno and ghetto. Catch a sneak preview when he headlines this tour with N.E.R.D. and special guest Janelle Monáe. $36.50. 8 p.m. Tabernacle. www.tabernacle.com. -- Rodney Carmichael
DEAD SCIENCE Seattle pop experimentalists Dead Science are strong musicians capable of winding jazz chops around hard-churning post-rock. Jarring arrangements slam slinky late-night atmosphere off hard cubist corners and choppy puzzle-piece guitar. The group's latest, Villianaire, continues to crowd the theatrical numbers with a mess of strings and jagged riffs that veer from melodic to atonal beneath frontman Sam Mickens' shadowy croon. $7. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- Chris Parker
SAY HI, JUKEBOX THE GHOST Bubbling with spooky lo-fi pop energy, the brainchild of Eric Elbogen suggests Death Cab for Cutie with an abiding electronic fetish. With his fifth album, The Wishes and the Glitch, Elbogen maintains his love affair with fey synth-driven pop like that of Magnetic Fields, but shortens the name from Say Hi To Your Mom. Opener Jukebox the Ghost's April release, Let Live and Let Ghosts, is one of the finest debuts of the year, offering jittery, keyboard-fueled indie pop with a touch of offbeat baroque grace that recalls Ben Folds. $8-$10. 10 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- CP
SUNBURNED HAND OF THE MAN, THE DEAD SCIENCE, MAGIC APRON There isn't much left of the "new weird America" that took over the freak-folk scene a few years back. Sunburned Hand of the Man remains, and while they're pretty freaky, there isn't too much that could be called folky about their acid-drenched bouts of avant-garde fugues of rhythm and psychedelic noise. Seattle trio the Dead Science and Atlanta's Magic Apron open. $7. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- Chad Radford
ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA This all-Tchaikovsky program is highlighted by Macon native Robert McDuffie as violin soloist in the "Violin Concerto in D Major." Also on the program is the symphonic fantasy "Francesca da Rimini," named for a contemporary of Dante Alighieri who became a character in his Divine Comedy trilogy. "Symphony No. 1" ("Winter Daydreams") evokes images of misty, desolate landscapes and rural Russian folk-song. Robert Spano conducts. Repeat program Friday and Saturday. $18-$73. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. -- Mark Gresham
DROVERS OLD TIME MEDICINE SHOW Back in the old days when Bubbapalooza was truly a regional affair, the Drovers made several memorable appearances. Their performances were always entertaining, the music was real "old time," and the comedy was as corny as the moonshine being sipped in the back room. Come early for the bluegrass jam, and stay late for the fun. $5. Jam at 7 p.m., Drovers at 9 p.m. Red Light Café. 404-874-7828. www.redlightcafe.com. -- James Kelly
HOT CHIP British electro-pop quintet Hot Chip evolves their twee-tinged dance-pop amble to include dusky ballads on their latest, Made in the Dark. Their third full-length is a true triumph consolidating the pop gains of The Warning with a terrific batch of songs replete with harmonies and self-aware wit. There's a little of everything from fey, anxious pop to glitchy confections resurrecting the '80s from Pet Shop Boys to New Order. $25. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404 524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- CP
ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND You can say what you want about the ABB these days, just don't say anything bad around me. Gregg Allman is a survivor, and even though he is surrounded by mostly second- and third-generation members, he is still the central force of the band. They were Georgia's greatest band ever, IMHO, and this incarnation is keeping it alive. Repeat show Saturday. $38.50-$93. 7:30 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheater. 404-233-2227. www.livenation.com. -- JK
ALL NIGHT DRUG PROWLING WOLVES, THE WEIGHT, MOCKING BIRDS Atlanta pub rock/punk bastion All Night Drug Prowling Wolves celebrate the release of their brand new, self-titled full-length debut on the Brooklyn-based indie outlet Colonel Records. Labelmates and Brooklyn-based Atlanta transplant Joseph Plunket's band the Weight makes happy homecoming in support of its latest, greatest country rock album, Are Men. Mocking Birds are also on the bill. $10. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. www.starbaratlanta.com. -- CR
EAST VILLAGE OPERA COMPANY What would the great opera composers have done if they were alive today, and had at their disposal all of the instruments and influences of today's pop culture? EVOC's transmogrifications of opera and art song classics, as their YouTube videos demonstrate, stand up well, including occasional "insider" referential humor about the crossover styles. Imagine Wagner's Valkyries cross-bred with Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog," or a funky party-down disco scene drawn from Verdi's La Traviata. $20-$30. 8 p.m. Ferst Center for the Arts. 404-894-9600. www.ferstcenter.org. -- MG
DAVE MASON The co-founding Traffic member wrote the classic "Feelin' Alright," but also played sessions with Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and others. As a guitarist/singer/songwriter, Mason has been there, done that and has the album credits to prove it. His own solo discs have been intermittently successful, especially as he edged into adult pop in the mid-'70s, but at a Music Midtown appearance some years back he rocked out with surprising vitality. He'll be playing songs from a new release, along with plenty of war horses from his bulging catalog. $25-$27.50. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-223-1100. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- Hal Horowitz
JJ GREY & MOFRO Blue-eyed soul is usually associated with the more pop-oriented likes of Daryl Hall, but Grey's swamp-soaked approach is just as viable and far more edgy. His laconic voice and atmospheric funk exudes a musty humidity and creeping anxiety bred from his upbringing in the backwoods of Florida. Grey's music attracts the jam crowd due to its loose-limbed ability to stretch out, but his dusky groove, while danceable, is closer to the darker sound of Tony Joe White mixed with late-era Stax. $18-$20. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-223-1100. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- HH
GRETCHEN PETERS There are people who have to write songs, that's how they communicate. Peters is one of them, and she expresses emotions in a manner that few others are able to do. She's had some mega-hits recorded by country music royalty, but Peters' songs mean so much more when heard in an intimate setting like the Bowman House. There's only 40 seats, some SRO, so plan ahead for this one. $20. 8 p.m. Bowman House. 770-979-1314. www.myspace.com/bowmanhouseconcerts. -- JK
FERTILE GROUND, MAUSIKI SCALES & COMMON GROUND COLLECTIVE For 10 years, Fertile Ground has been showering the worldwide underground with its spiritual current of free-flowing jazzy grooves and a message of universal uplift. Husband and wife James Collins (band leader/producer) and Navasha Daya (lead vocals) helped spark the independent soul movement with their seven-album discography and created their own cult following along the way. Tonight's anniversary show serves as a birthday celebration for WCLK-FM (91.9)'s Jamal Ahmed. Atlanta's afrobeat mainstay Mausiki Scales & Common Ground Collective will open, along with J Soul. $20-$25. 9 p.m. Sugarhill. www.sugarhillatl.com. -- RC
FRESH FEST OLD SCHOOL REUNION By today's standards, even Ja Rule is old-school. So if you're confused by hip-hop pioneers (early '80s) Whodini appearing on the same bill with golden-era (late '80s/early '90s) acts Naughty By Nature, Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick, you're only showing your age. The original Fresh Fest Tour brought rap acts (Whodini, Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow, the Fat Boys) to arenas nationwide for the first time in 1984 -- when Ja Rule was 8. Expect to hear classics from Slick Rick and Doug E.'s "Six Minutes" to Naughty By Nature's "Hip-Hop Hooray." $37.50-$75. 8 p.m. Atlanta Civic Center. www.atlantaciviccenter.com. -- RC
WOVENHAND David Eugene Edwards hasn't changed saddles since the demise of 16 Horsepower, delivering a similar, haunted, goth-infused version of apocalyptic punk folk with his new band. Ten Stones, Wovenhand's recently released fifth album, plays to the committed with the usual blend of Edwards' spooked-out fire and brimstone vocals fronting music of unusual power, passion and spirituality. Jeffrey Bützer and Royal Thunder also appear. $10. 9 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- HH
WIRE Legendary U.K. punks Wire minted post-punk's angular guitar sound along with Gang of Four. Their punchy, jagged riffs inspired many (too much in the case of Elastica hit "Connection"), and later they evolved interest in experimental electronics. After a nine-year hiatus, the group returned to its terse, hard-cornering sound with several post-millennial releases. The departure of guitarist Bruce Gilbert in '04 produced another change in direction, however. The latest, Object 47, channels a poppier, electronic-addled sound that doesn't lose the guitars so much as soften the edges. $20. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- CP
THE WEDDING PRESENT An underground overseas sensation during late '80s/early '90s, David Gedge's hard-ringing guitar sounds like Johnny Marr set from stun to kill, though his caustic relational tone had more in common with Costello than Morrissey. Gedge broke up the band and started Cinerama with girlfriend Sally Murrell in '98, but they split in '04, and he reformed the Wedding Present. His move to L.A. figures prominently on his latest, El Rey, which finds Gedge dealing with middle-age singledom in our nation's vanity capitol. $12-$14. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- CP
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: email@example.com. To be included in the listings only, e-mail venue and band schedules by Thursday at noon (for the issue that comes out the following Wednesday) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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