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A&E Feature 

What to Know Before You Go


8 p.m. Wed., Sept. 26
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Photo by Drew Reynolds For even the most dedicated among its fan base, keeping track of Pinback's outside projects is often prohibitively exhaustive. Cutting his teeth with Heavy Vegetable and Thingy, two beloved, '90s-underground Left Coast rock bands, point man Rob Crow has since issued records as Optiganally Yours (wielding Mattel's disco-era "optical organ"), Physics (using Can-like krautrock as a launching pad), the Ladies (singing over Hella drummer Zach Hill's epileptic polyrhythms) and Goblin Cock (with a time-released titular joke stealing the spotlight from some totally serious stoner metal). Next to such absurd prolificacy, running mate Zach Smith — who played bass in Three Mile Pilot and records solo as Systems Officer — seems stagnant by comparison. More than any of Crowe's diversions, however, it's TMP's progressive, melodic indie rock that provides the basis for Pinback's sound. September release Autumn of the Seraphs (Touch and Go) continues the group's upward-and-outward trajectory, expanding on its previous albums' simple, layered round-robin song structures to merge prog and pop into something new and entirely unique. Philadelphia's the A-Sides open. Tickets $14. — Noah Bonaparte Pais



The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Sept. 28-29; 2 p.m. Sun., Sept. 30; through Oct. 14
Le Petit Theatre, 616 St. Peter St., 522-2081;

There's nothing quite like the timeless story of a small town and its brothel: it's all rowdy fun between good old boys and whores with hearts of gold until some moral crusader whips up a frenzy. Then a pandering politician promises to close down the whorehouse, the news media eat it up, and the politician turns out to know the place quite well. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is the same story with musical numbers. Throw in the Texas drawl of Miss Mona Strangely and her gaggle of girls at the famed Chicken Ranch, a young doe and a football team full of eager young bucks and you have a Broadway hit. Le Petit Theater stages the boisterous, rooting and tooting, rutting and strutting show to open its 2007-08 season. Sonny Borey and Derek Franklin direct Karen Hebert, Richard Hutton, Kris Shaw, Jessie Terrebonne, Lara Grice, Dane Rhodes and a large cast. Tickets $32 general admission, $28 students. — Will Coviello




10 p.m. Fri., Sept. 28
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361;

Bands that inhabit the flip side of popular music have been reaching ever further back in time to find inspiration, creating a bizarre, postmodern vortex of reference and revival that's touched on everything from frenetic jump blues and swing to hot '60s soul. The latest noteworthy trend seems to be locating its axis squarely at the turn of the last century, spinning out haunted, twangy music inspired by everything from mid-19th century Appalachian keening to Depression-era boxcar ballads that would sound more apropos around the fire at a hobo junction than in a 21st century rock club. New York's O'Death is one of the finer acts of the new breed, with fiddle, banjo, ukulele and trombone augmenting a standard rock 'n' roll set-up. It sounds positively sepia-toned as it wails through a repertoire that quotes rural blues, country-church gospel, Deep South mountain music, bluegrass and creepy folk. Drawing as much inspiration from Tom Waits, the Pogues and Sixteen Horsepower as from the history books, its dark, whiskey-fueled sets have the face of a moonshine-and-madness-driven hootenanny and the spirit of a punk rock throwdown. Rock Plaza Central opens. Tickets $7 in advance, $10 at the door. — Fensterstock




Panthers with High on Fire
10 p.m. Sat., Sept. 29
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361;

Formed in 2002, Brooklyn's Panthers rooted themselves with a dense, art-damaged hardcore sound on early recordings that won over legions of high school headbangers-turned-liberal arts majors. The group detoured, if only briefly, into an experimental miasma of prog-rock with 2004's Things Are Strange weighing down its muscle and bluster with seven-minute songs. With its latest — 2007's The Trick , a sophomore effort on the uber-hip and spanking new Vice Records imprint — the quartet reveals a few new flourishes. Raging with abandon, the 32 blistering minutes of The Trick eschew the forays into serious experimentalism to ride sizzling, distorted guitars up into the heavens of rock in a manner that owes a debt to Motorhead and the Stooges. The Panthers join headliners High on Fire, whose diabolical doom-metal is paced and weighted for a lengthy, crushing assault. Japanese instrumental post-rock quartet Mono and the hardcore trio Coliseum open. Tickets $15 in advance, $18 at the door. — Fensterstock




10 p.m. Sat., Sept. 29
The Parish at House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Like most high-profile divorces, the 2001 breakup of At the Drive-In — a short-lived but still-eulogized rock quintet from El Paso, Texas — left its mark on the band's twin spawn. A half-decade later, the repercussions became clear: Mars Volta proved the more rousing, rebellious one, showing great promise on the debut De-Loused in the Comatorium before getting reprimanded for overreaching on 2005's bloated Frances the Mute and finally flunking out of school via the demerits of last year's disastrous, delinquent Amputechture . Sparta might not contend for valedictorian, but the four-piece fronted by ATDI-cofounder Jim Ward won't make you crazy or drive you to drink, either. Over three steady LPs, the band has stayed the course charted by its parent outfit, favoring emotional release, melody and form over Mars Volta's occasionally brilliant but mostly amorphous 20-minute genre mazes. The group's latest, Threes (Hollywood), is also its grandest, a big-budget hollered catharsis on which Sparta's tunefulness and impact seem to have increased in triplicate. The Los Angeles foursome Run Run Run opens. Tickets $13.50. — Pais




Turbonegro with Mondo Generator
10 p.m. Sun., Sept. 30
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361;

Much can be said about the distant northern lands of Scandinavia, and most of it would be as placid and innocuous as a fjord. Not so, however, with Turbonegro, the six-piece Oslo export that styles itself as "the official number four band in the universe," the first three being AC/DC, the Ramones and Slayer. It would not be hyperbolic to say that the group hemorrhages rock from every orifice, and the band actually offers up several florid definitions of its own on its Web site. (Only one is suitable for reprint here: "Denim-clad Satanists making love in the sewers of Birmingham during Maggie Thatcher's prime.") Packing as many offensive elements as possible into blaring, full-tilt, bombastic punk rock, the six-piece has stunned audiences into submission since 1989 with classic tracks like "Ass Cobra." More disgusting than lutefisk and more addictive than Cheap Trick, the Nordic nasties delight in making audiences rock even as they recoil. The bill also includes Mondo Generator, a sludgy stoner-metal outfit fronted by Nick Oliveri of Kyuss fame. With Josh Homme as a former member, the band earned cult status as part of the Queens of the Stone Age/Eagles of Death Metal family of heavy-hitting guitar droners. Tickets $18 in advance, $20 at the door. — Fensterstock

click to enlarge DREW REYNOLDS
  • Drew Reynolds
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