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CL's picks for the week's best shows

WED/28

OPETH, DREAM THEATRE, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME These heavy-hitting trios head metal's progressive wing, infusing melodicism and intricate passages into their dark metal throb, creating an alternately menacing and majestic sound. For almost two decades Sweden's Opeth has been pushing boundaries, finding room for acoustic folk and piano within its 10-minute epics. Berklee College grads Dream Theatre feature the elegant, pyrotechnic guitarist John Petrucci, and expansive, slow-building tracks that suggest Rush with a dash of Marillion. Between the Buried and Me meld screamo with oddly shaped prog passages that arrive out of nowhere and disappear as quickly. $35-$39.50. 7 p.m. The Tabernacle. 404-659-9022. www.livenation.com. -- Chris Parker

THURS/29

ADRIAN BELEW, ELLIOT HOLDEN Belew is a prog-rock backdoor man who charmed his way into performing on stages the world over, in bands with Frank Zappa, David Bowie and the Talking Heads. But he's best-known for breathing a refreshing new life into King Crimson in the early '80s, whose best albums were a decade behind it when he joined the group. Holden opens. $25. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- Chad Radford

X, DETROIT COBRAS It's hard to think of another band that had the melodic ferocity of X, and after 30 years its edge is as sharp as ever. John Doe, Exene, DJ Bonebrake and Billy Zoom carry the torch loudly into their fourth decade. Openers the Detroit Cobras spit hard rock with a venom of their own, and will definitely prime the pump tonight. $25. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- James Kelly

FRI/30

BELLRAYS, ARCHITECTS There are few bands that capture the explosive combination of raw soul with thundering rock as effectively as the BellRays. The four-piece has been churning out its hard-charging R&B dynamite for more than a decade, but the recent Hard Sweet and Sticky album nails a sound that has accurately been compared to Aretha Franklin fronting the Stooges. Irrepressible lead singer Lisa Kekaula is a hurricane-fueled force of nature pushed to the edge by a great band. The Architects build stomping hard-rock/punk edifices with pile-driving riffs and a no-frills, thundering attack. $10. 9 p.m. The Earl. www.badearl.com. -- Hal Horowitz

BUDDY GUY Electric blues pioneer and exponent of the west-side Chicago sound, guitarist Buddy Guy greatly inspired Jimi Hendrix and other blues and rock guitar legends of the '60s. Finally, with the enthusiastic support of Eric Clapton, Guy hit his own stride in the public light during the big blues revival of the '80s and '90s. Guy is joined by the Mike Lowry Band as special guests. On the Great Lawn. Note: Blankets OK, but no coolers allowed. $35. 8 p.m. Atlanta Botanical Garden. 404-876-5859. www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org. -- Mark Gresham

JOSH JOPLIN Like the high school baseball star who bypasses college for the long developmental slog through the minors, Joplin quit school a few weeks into 10th grade to become a folk singer. More than a phase, he plowed ahead until he'd scored a minor AAA hit with the Danny Elfman-produced "Camera One," only to realize making himself happy was job No. 1. His next album, 2005's Jaywalker, is his best lyrically and musically, with a folk-inflected warmth that rides Joplin's sauntering, Stipe-like vocals through well-crafted arrangements that never get too busy or prissy. Repeat show Sun., June 1, at 7 p.m. $20-$100. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- CP

NADA SURF There's a gentle moping grace to Nada Surf's arrangements, like a partly sunny day with big, magnificent clouds. Similar in tone to Death Cab for Cutie, frontman Matthew Caws' introspective, soul-searching lyrical fascinations are wedded to buoyant, bobbing hooks that leaven the mood. Capping a string of fine releases since 2002's surprise third-album (Let Go) comeback from one-hit wonder status, their latest, Lucky, is brighter, finding the perfect titration of restless hope. $16. 9 p.m. Center Stage. 404-885-1365. www.centerstage-atlanta.com. -- CP

NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS Guitarist Luther Dickinson has been a busy dude lately between his stint with the Black Crowes and ongoing work with the Allstars, the blues-funk-jam trio he founded with his brother/drummer more than a decade ago. The three-piece is supporting Hernando, a stripped down affair that fuses simmering swamp rock with Cream-styled psychedelic blues rock without shortchanging either. Ragged, rugged and raw, this is powerful American roots music played by guys who understand and honor their Delta heritage but aren't shackled to it. $20-$22.50. 9 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354.variety-playhouse.com. -- HH

THE PREAKNESS, YUM YUM TREE The Preakness' jangling melodies meander effortlessly as if it'd hit the lotto, and Brandon Arnold's breathy vocals are the shy, whispered confession. The chewy rhythms provide a firm foundation, while the hooks bob across the surface, calling with an insistence like static cling. Yum Yum Tree frontwoman Andy Gish's swaggering, swooning rock recalls alt-rock's pre-grunge heyday when Velocity Girl, the Breeders and Lush fashioned muscular yet sweet-toothed guitar rock to clothe a sultry vocal coo. $8. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. www.starbaratlanta.com. -- CP

SAT/31

CLAIRE LYNCH Believe it or not, way before Alison Krauss took the acoustic music scene by storm, there were several female artists doing great stuff. Lynch was part of the legendary Front Porch String Band, and has put out great solo albums that have earned several awards and industry nominations. Her grass is definitely blue. $22.50-$25. 8 p.m. Red Light Café. 404-874-7828. www.redlightcafe.com. -- JK

MAGIC SLIM & THE TEARDROPS As one of the few old-school Chicago blues guitarists still touring, Magic Slim keeps the Windy City sound alive with his gruff vocals and slashing guitar. He'll throw in some crowd-pleasing covers, but Slim concentrates on original material that, like his song "Black Tornado," whips up a furious storm of house-rocking boogie licks with ferocious power. There may be little that fans haven't heard before, but Slim churns out this greasy music with enough meat-and-potatoes intensity to satisfy any blues lover's appetite. $15. 9 p.m. Blind Willie's. 404-873-2583. www.blindwilliesblues.com. -- HH

OVER THE RHINE, MARY GAUTHIER "I don't wanna waste your time with music you don't need," croons Over the Rhine's Karin Bergquist on the opening track of her and husband Linford Detweiler's new album, but that's something she needn't be concerned about. The duo has amassed an impressive catalog of cabaret/folk/jazz/pop/country that has always been worth spending time with because Bergquist's sexy, grainy vocals turn the simplest of phrases into a sensual come-on. Their sharp songs range from introspective musings to the sociopolitical "If a Song Could be President," which should elicit audience approval. Arrive early for Gauthier's often disturbing yet riveting country/folk-noir. $20. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- HH

TRANCES ARC, AUTOVAUGHN The stylish corners and waxy glow are only the door-opener for Trances Arc. The keen, gently curving arrangements slalom from buzzing British mod ("Parliament") through soul-soaked ballads that never get soggy ("Champagne Wishes") to dreamy, new-wave rave-ups such as "Tell Me Where You're Going," without missing a hook. Tasteful, atmospheric shimmer and punchy melodies balance in an alluring package on their debut, XOXOX, proving sweet but not sickly, confident but still demure. Nashville's AutoVaughn cops a jagged '80s dance-punk pulse. $8. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. www.starbaratlanta.com. -- CP

SUN/1

AFRICAN-AMERICAN PHILHARMONIC JAZZ ORCHESTRA The Atlanta-based AAPO, led by trumpeter John Peek, features musicians of African-American descent, including faculty drawn from Morehouse, Morris Brown and Spelman colleges, Clark Atlanta University, and Georgia State University. This show features works of jazz greats Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, and the late Atlanta-born jazz pianist and composer "Duke" Pearson Jr., who was significant in helping shape the "hard bop" character of Blue Note Records during the 1960s. $30. 4 p.m. Alliance Stage, Woodruff Arts Center. 404-733-5000. www.woodruffcenter.org. -- MG

NEW TRINITY BAROQUE Freshly returned from their week of performing concerts at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., Predrag Gosta leads Atlanta's own New Trinity Baroque in music by Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Frederic Handel and Henry Purcell. Among the music being performed by these practitioners of "historically informed performance" are Tony Vivaldi's "Violin Concerto in E minor" and Hank Purcell's "If Music Be the Food of Love." (Let's eat!) $25. 3 p.m. Spivey Hall. 678-466-4200. www.spiveyhall.org. -- MG

TUES/3

BEN SOLLEE How many singing cello players do you know of? Me neither. Therefore Sollee has a pretty unique place in music. Imagine a hillbilly Amos Lee singing with the Penguin Café Orchestra, and you're headed in the right direction, sort of. Cool stuff. $10. 8 p.m. Red Light Café. 404-874-7828. www.redlightcafe.com. -- JK

WED/4

CARBONAS, PETS, MAMMALS Atlanta's favorite punk-rock emissaries Carbonas play a set of short, sharp shotgun blasts of bare-knuckle punk songs. Bay Area trio and Douche Master Records affiliate the Pets come all the way from the Left Coast to play classic, razor-sharp guitar rock that leans tastefully but heavily on the angles of circa '79 post-punk. Austell trio Mammals open the show with a primitive garage-rock plod, strum and dang. Free. 9 p.m. The Drunken Unicorn. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- CR

THE LONG SHADOWS, THE BLACK HOLLIES, SO SO DEATH, JOHNNY BUFFALO & THE MUTINOUS NOISE From out of left field Atlanta folk-punk outfit the Long Shadows emerged with a catchy and ramshackle punk strum that channels the spirits of Firehose, Sonic Youth and Hüsker Dü. To celebrate the release of their debut 7-inch, the group headlines a bill with fellow locals the Black Hollies, So So Death and Johnny Buffalo & the Mutinous Noise. $7. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- CR

MAC McANALLY The recent inductee into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame makes it a point to perform in town when he has a day off from Jimmy Buffett's tour. He's a pleasant and easygoing performer, delivering comfortable and thoughtful tunes just the way the boomers like them. $21. 8 p.m. Center Stage. 404-885-1365. www.centerstage-atlanta.com. -- JK

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@creativeloafing.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 soundboard@creativeloafing.com.

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