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CL's picks for the week's best shows

THURS/12

DEEP PURPLE, JOHN KAY'S STEPPENWOLF They don't get much respect from the music cognoscenti, but these crusty bands can still crank out the hard-rocking hits with conviction. Original Purple keyboardist Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore are MIA, but as evidenced by the recent Live at Montreux 2006, singer Ian Gillan can still hit those "Highway Star" high notes. Kay's distinctive "get yer motor runnin'" growl always sounded like a guy in his 60s, so now that he is, little has changed. Gentlemen, start your air guitars. $33.50-$58. 8 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheater. 404-364-4272. www.chastainseries.com. -- Hal Horowitz

THE GOURDS, DAVID CHILDERS AND THE MODERN DON JUANS Austin, Texas' schizophonic Gourds are celebrating the release of their newest album, Noble Creatures. You can expect more of the same of their unusual blend of roots rock, country, Cajun, blues, etc. Clearly an acquired taste, their hardcore fans just love them dearly. Childers is a force of rock 'n' roll nature, and must be seen at least once to be believed. Don't mind the sweat, everybody's doing it. $15. 9 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- James Kelly

IAN MCLAGAN AND THE BUMP BAND The Small Faces were major stars in the U.K. The Faces subsequently helped launch Rod Stewart into the stratosphere, but McLagan, aka "Mac," keyboardist and occasional songwriter for both groups, hasn't been able to cash in on either. He's a successful session player, though, and a surprisingly convincing singer whose scrappy band of Austin, Texas-based pros brings every sweaty drop of the rowdy, ramshackle Faces arena experience to a more intimate venue. The Lizardmen & the Back Yardbirds also appear. $15. 8:30 p.m. Five Spot. 404-223-1100. www.fivespot-atl.com. -- HH

THE SLOW POISONER, DANIEL LOWE AND THE LOVE MESSENGERS, TEN GUN CONSORTIUM, GO ROBO! GO!, 13 DAY MISSION Once again, Swayze's stacks the deck with a slew of acts, but tonight the unique Slow Poisoner is hard to ignore. The self-proclaimed "one-man-surrealistic-rock-and-roll-band" artist/musician from San Francisco returns to town tonight on his Chicken With Its Head Cut Off Tour, singing odd, Hitchcockian songs and shilling bottles of his green elixir, sure to cure what ails ya, if you suffer from any of the following: elephantiasis, cholera, barnacles, boils, the fits, excessive abscesses, necrosis, lavender fever, general wasting, consumption, women's troubles, gout, neuralgia, wandering limbs, stoutness, onanism and disinterested bladder. That covers us all, right? $7. 7 p.m. Swayze's. www.swayzesvenue.com. -- Lee Valentine Smith

WARM IN THE WAKE, HYMNS Formed from the ashes of King Lear Jet, Warm in the Wake plays gentle, organ-aided psych-pop with a little twang and jangle. Like a botanical garden, the arrangements are a wonder of texture, color and beauty. They've just put the finishing touches on a new album that's expected the last week of August. Openers Hymns hail from Brooklyn but they're actually transplants from Sticky Fingers, working the twang and pedal steel whine of dusty country rawk. $7. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- Chris Parker

FRI/13

THE EL CAMINOS, THE WARM GUNNS, THE UNSATISFIED Sure, it's Friday the 13th, but Atlanta's El Caminos aren't gonna let a little thing like superstition bother them. They've had more bad luck than several mere mortal bands combined. Yet they soldier on, rockin' the luck out of their '70s glam-infused (that's Dolls, KISS and the Stooges, just for reference, kids) tunes and triumphantly returning to the club that once banned them. Like-minded guitar-bangin' warriors the Warm Gunns and the Unsatisfied share the Marshall-stacked bill. $6. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. www.starbaratlanta.com. -- LVS

KENNESAW OPRY Three North Georgia bluegrass bands ­-- Out of the Blue (Powder Springs), Jot-Um-Down Boys (Dahlonega) and Vincent Mountain Band (Tucker) -- play back-to-back for three hours at Kennesaw Opry, a new bluegrass venue in the Kennesaw Community Center, not far off U.S. 41. The K.O. opened in January, attracting acts from Georgia and surrounding states for its shows the second Friday of each month, and touting a family-friendly atmosphere, clean restrooms and plenty of parking. Children under 12 admitted free. $5. 7 p.m. Kennesaw Community Center. 770-971-4179. www.kennesawopry.com. -- Mark Gresham

MICKEY AVALON, ANDRE LEGACY, DIRTY NASTY Returning to town after his recent Centennial Park show, the oh-so-sexxxy Hollywood-based rappin' dervish will shake and bake in his own heavenly heat tonight on the Masquerade's Hell level. The highly inked performer will surely drop "Jane Fonda," his throbbing ode to the part-time Atlantan, into the set ­-- maybe even as the finale. Check out a fun audio interview with Avalon at www.sideshowatlanta.com. Andre Legacy and Dirty Nasty also perform. $15. 7 p.m. Masquerade. 404-577-8178. www.masq.com. -- LVS

SAT/14

CHARLES WALKER & THE DYNAMITES This 10-piece Nashville.-based funk outfit features old-school soul singer Walker, whose shouts, groans and howls recall the late Godfather, James Brown. The Dynamites' debut, Kaboom!, may be retro, but that certainly doesn't diminish the power. Like their spiritual kin, the Daptones, the Dynamites resurrect the sound without losing its essence; it sounds as fresh and authentic as if it were cut 40 years ago and rediscovered last week. $10. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- CP

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