DEAD CONFEDERATE, THE HEARTLESS BASTARDS Athens' five-piece Dead Confederate crafts a dark and dreary rock and roll sound that harkens to the angst-ridden grunge era. Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana, et al., are appropriate reference points, but these guys layer depression and a morphine hue under a shadowy howl and a distinctively Southern-rock rasp. Cincinnati trio the Heartless Bastards open the show with a set of earnest, Zeppelin-esque rock and roll songs. $12.50-$15. 8:30 p.m. The 5 Spot. www.fivespot-atl.com. -- Chad Radford
ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND CHAMBER CHORUS Nicholas ("Nic") McGegan, the San Francisco-based conductor known for his "historically informed" performances of Baroque through early Romantic repertoire, leads the ASO and Chorus in music by Georg Frederic Handel and Felix Mendelssohn. Choral and orchestral works by the two composers are paired and compared: Handel's Zadok the Priest with his Suite No. 1 from Water Music, and Mendelssohn's Verleih' uns Frieden gnädiglich ("Grant Us Peace") with his Symphony No. 1. Program repeats Saturday. $16-$68. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. -- Mark Gresham
LOS LONELY BOYS, ZAC BROWN BAND The dreaded sophomore jinx hit the Texican brothers hard when their last album sunk without a trace after a Grammy-winning debut generated reams of press bestowing them with next-big-thing accolades. Defiantly climbing back on the horse that threw them, the trio tours behind a terrific new third release that coalesces the Boys' rootsy blues-soul-Latin influences and familial harmonies around compelling, hook-heavy songs that also rock. Up-and-coming local country pickers Brown and band are gradually branching out to national acclaim with a new album and nonstop road work. $19-$25. 8 p.m. The Tabernacle. 404-249-6400. www.livenation.com. -- Hal Horowitz
MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA, WINSTON AUDIO, LOWRY It's hard to hear yourself think at times with so much buzz about this band or that band -- Manchester Orchestra was one such ride there for a while after releasing its highly praised I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child. However much you may hate the flavor of the week, it is hard to deny the arousing ardor of an outfit so dedicated to the scope and scale of each individual song. You can sideline a band with snobbery, but you can't deny the allure of a free show. Give buzz another shot. Free. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. www.starbar.net. -- Scott Irvine
RYAN ADAMS & THE CARDINALS Rumor has it that the notoriously cranky and unpredictable Adams has settled down somewhat following rehab, resulting in alt-country/Americana/rock shows that are more dependable and less marred by his erratic moods. This large venue almost demands a crowd-pleasing performance, although with his voluminous output and wide stylistic scope, anything goes. His talented Cardinals band is capable of following wherever he leads, though, and he's capable of greatness, so this gets a somewhat tentative thumbs-up recommendation. $26-$41. 8:30 p.m. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. 404-733-5012. www.ticketmaster.com. -- HH
BOSTON SPACESHIPS, THE HIGH STRUNG The Spaceships are Robert Pollard's new three-piece, and their debut, Brown Submarine, is anything but, offering the former Guided By Voices frontman's most consistent, straightforward and tuneful release since his old band's demise. Absent the insular and willful eccentricity of his recent solo albums, it's rife with catchy, head-nodding numbers. Openers the High Strung's British Invasion garage-pop predilections make it a fine foil for Pollard, as the group supports its third terrific release in four years, the psych-pop tinged CreEPy. $18-$20. 8 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- Chris Parker
NIKKA COSTA, PICTURES & SOUND, GURUFISH It is a total mystery to me why Costa is not a superstar. She has all the right stuff -- an amazing voice, great material and total hotness. This woman should be the reigning queen of funk-soul, and may be a direct descendant of the "nasty" Betty Davis. Blue Merle member Lucas Reynolds performs with Pictures & Sound, and Gurufish opens. $20. 9 p.m. The Loft. 404-885-1365. www.theloftatl.com. -- James Kelly
ATLANTA BALALAIKA SOCIETY Committed to bringing Russian and Eastern European folk music to Atlanta audiences, the 27-year-old ABS includes musicians born in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Latvia and Sweden, as well as American-born performers. Charter member David Cooper (also known for his guitar playing) leads the group in a program that features domra soloist Angelina Galashenkova-Reed, Ukrainian-born bayan (accordion) soloist Alla Mulvehill, and Romanian folk-dance group Ensemble Transylvania. $18-$20. 7:30 p.m. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. 404-325-2449. www.atlantabalalaika.com. -- MG
CHRIS THILE & EDGAR MEYER Virtuosity has its virtues, but what is pure entertainment to one person can be torture to another. Thile (mandolin) and Meyer (upright bass) are among the best in the world, and their joint oeuvre showcases those amazing skills. Question is, can you sit through two hours of intricate noodling? This ain't Nickel Creek, folks, I guaran-damn-tee it. $35-$59. 8 p.m. Rialto Center for the Arts. 404-413-9849. www.rialtocenter.org. -- JK
JOSH TURNER, LADY ANTEBELLUM Turner is a breath of traditional fresh air in today's country-pop scene. His heavy baritone is reminiscent of Randy Travis, and his music is stone-cold country, just like Travis. It will be a thrill to hear him in the best-sounding venue in the city. Lady Antebellum opens, with its version of country-pop lite. $35.75. 8 p.m. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. 770-916-2800. www.cobbenergycentre.com. -- JK
ROGER CLYNE & THE PEACEMAKERS This tuneful, celebratory roots rock act embraces life, offering a seize-the-day mentality that can be traced back to singer/guitarist Roger Clyne's first hit leading the Refreshments, "Banditos." Like that outlaw escape fantasy, Clyne's songs often imagine Mexico as a kind of promised land sipping cerveza by the shore all day long, like a grandchild of "Margaritaville." Like Buffett, there's plenty of wit and wisdom just below the surface. Their hard-touring, fan-friendly DIY attitude and rambunctious two-plus-hour shows have earned them a rabid following. Free. 4 p.m. Park Tavern. 404-249-0001. www.parktavern.com. -- CP
BLUE MOUNTAIN Despite nearly a decade of hard touring and raw, rollicking shows, Mississippi alt-country trio Blue Mountain tossed in the greasy, sweat-soaked towel in 2001. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Cary Hudson made a stab at a solo career, but despite their quality his albums never connected, so it's reformation time. Touring to support two new discs -- one of original music and a rerecorded "hits" set -- Mountain combines backwoods, slinky picking with amped-up energy. At its best, the threesome's energetic, sizzling gigs left newcomers raving and existing fans wondering why they weren't stars. Andy Friedman & the Other Failures and Amy Speace & the Tearjerks get the party started. $12. 7 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- HH
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
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