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CL's picks for the week's best shows

THURS/10

ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Donald Runnicles returns to the podium as the ASO goes transcendentally nostalgic with "My Father Knew Charles Ives" by Berkeley, Calif., composer John Adams. Adam Golka is guest piano soloist for Maurice Ravel's "Piano Concerto for the Left Hand." The program concludes on an ecstatic peak with the flamboyant "Symphonie Fantastique" by Hector Berlioz. Program repeats Fri.-Sat., Jan. 11-12. $16-$70. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. -- Mark Gresham

THE BOOZE, TRES BIEN, THE NOBILITY Southern Soul Sound Systems is throwing another one of its internationally anticipated music happenings and tonight, of course, the theme is mod, the location is the Star Bar and the bands will be poppin'. Pop-rockin', that is. The propulsive, '60s-inspired lineup is anchored by the Booze, the rapidly ascending mod boys of the lively underground scene. Tres Bien means "very good," and the unassuming but hook-proffering Florida-based combo lives up to its moniker. The return of Nashville's the Nobility rounds out the Southern bill with plenty o' Anglo-janglo. And best of all, it's a free show. Free. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. www.starbar.net. -- Lee Valentine Smith

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS A turbulent but prolific year for the Truckers as guitarists Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley settle into home life. A few extra months off the road produced a rich vein of songwriting gold from Cooley, Hood, and even bassist Shonna Tucker, who wrote her first two DBT songs. (Tucker stayed on this year, while ex-hubby/Truckers guitarist Jason Isbell left to release his solo debut.) Road-tested on last summer's Dirt Underneath Tour and performed each night in its entirety, the new album, Brighter Than Creation's Dark, isn't their best; it's their best so far. Proceeds from Thursday's show benefit Nuçi's Space. Repeat shows Jan. 11-12. $20. 8 p.m. 40 Watt Club. 706-549-7871. www.40watt.com -- Chris Parker

DUET FOR THEREMIN AND LAP STEEL Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel might sound self-explanatory until you hear the sonic landscapes created by Scott Burland and Frank Shultz, who over the past year or so have added a stunning new component to Atlanta's "noise music" scene. Each improvisation blurs the line between ambient and live-music experience. (The Duet will perform at Creative Loafing's annual Fiction Contest Party. (Check out the podcast interview by visiting atlanta.creativeloafing.com and clicking on "News.") Free. 7-9 p.m. Eyedrum. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org. (See the cover story on p. 28 of this issue.) -- David Lee Simmons

LIQUID JUNGLE Despite little media recognition, prog rock is alive and well. Young, talented bands such as Atlanta's Liquid Jungle are as influenced by King Crimson's jagged attack as U2's grander arena-rock tendencies and, most importantly, have the chops to pull off that dynamic mix. Add some funk along with a sack of twisty riffs and quirky time changes for a head-spinning set that gets more intense as the evening unfolds. Sex in Cars, whose distinctive sound incorporates elements of gypsy music and avant rock, also appears. $8. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- Hal Horowitz

VILLAGE PIZZA PARTY BENEFIT Help keep the pizza dream alive. After a shake-up in ownership, the future of Cabbagetown's best and pretty much only pizza joint, Village Pizza, is cloudy. To raise funds to keep the doors open, thereby ensuring that lots of people keep their jobs, local garage punks Mourdella, country/rockabilly troubadours the Broken Spokes and punk band Carbonas lend their talents to further the cause. $7. 9 p.m. Lenny's, 486 Decatur St. 404-577-7721. www.lennysbar.com. -- Chad Radford

FRI/11

A CONTRAIL TO FOLLOW, DWARF STAR Rural Georgia shoe-gazer outfit helmed by brothers Matthew and Ethan McCarthy, A Contrail to Follow crafts dreamy and drone-afflicted 4 a.m. washes of candlelit guitar and reverberation. The group's sound gives a slow and psychedelic nod to the cannon of morphine music and emotions inspired by the likes of Low, Mazzy Star and Galaxie 500. Dwarf Star also performs. $5. 9 p.m. Drunken Unicorn, 736 Ponce de Leon Place. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- CR

CLAIRE LYNCH, LONESOME REDWING Multi-award-winning vocalist Claire Lynch brings her wonderful bluegrass band to town, which also features the amazing Missy Raines on bass and Jim Hurt on guitar. It is a real treat to have so much talent on stage at one time. Georgia band Lonesome Redwing opens. $20. 8:30 p.m. Red Light Café. 404-874-7828. www.redlightcafe.com. -- James Kelly

DRESDEN DOLLS, TWO TON BOA "This Is The Punk Cabaret" proclaims the cover of the Dolls' July-issued live DVD, recorded in London in 2006. As 2008 arrives, the band continues to raise the bar on its already lofty, ever-evolving vaudeville/burlesque revue. Charismatic singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer, known for her often unsettling rock stance, off-kilter carnival camp and challenging Euro glam, will be featured on her own solo release later this year after the band's current tour concludes. Washington's Two Ton Boa, featuring delightfully disquieting multi-instrumentalist Sherry Fraser, is the perfect opener for tonight's twisted circus. $22.50. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-521-1786. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- LVS

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