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Murder By Death with William Elliott Whitmore
10 p.m. Tue., Oct. 28
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361;

Photo by Greg Whitaker Don't bother looking for a new vocal credit among the liner notes to Red of Tooth and Claw. Murder by Death singer/guitarist Adam Turla's voice mysteriously dropped an octave in between each of the band's second, third and fourth albums, leaving the formerly boyish vocalist sounding more like a high plains drifter. The new register, a dramatic mixture of Johnny Cash and Eddie Vedder, suits the Bloomington, Ind., group's dusty, carny-busker material even better. On its March release (Vagrant), Turla bellows and purrs accelerated murder ballads over a cardiac kick drum, while his string-slinging band mates play Eastern Bloc gypsy rock let loose in the American West. Every bit as intriguing is tour mate and sometime collaborator William Elliott Whitmore, a throwback bluesman from the bottom-right tip of Iowa, whose hickory-smoked, 100-proof baritone handles godforsaken troubles by skipping the wry and heading straight for the rye. Baltimore rockers J-Roddy Walston and the Business also open. Tickets $12. — Pais




MC Chris
9 p.m. Wed., Oct. 29
The Parish at the House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Brooklyn rapper MC Chris has said he prefers not to be lumped into the rather newly recognized "nerdcore" genre, but when you name-drop X-Men and talk about buying a Millennium Falcon made of Legos between songs, what do you expect? Chris raps over videogame beats on his Mac, in a medium-high teenage boy register, about topics ranging from sexual frustration to Star Wars to the cancellation of favorite science-fiction TV shows. His track "Miri and Zack" — with the line "'Two Girls One Cup' is my Citizen Kane " — appears on the soundtrack for the new Seth Rogen movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno . He's also, allegedly, slated to be part of the new Adult Swim project-in-the-making, Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge. Totally Michael, another willfully dorky rapper given to giddy, eighth-grade-level dirty jokes, opens. Tickets $13. — Fensterstock




Masked Band Balls Turducken Masked Band Ball
10 p.m. Wed., Oct. 29
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361;

The Secret Fireman's Other Masked Band Ball
10 p.m. Wed., Oct. 29
Hi Ho Lounge, 2239 St. Claude Ave., 945-HIHO

Call it lucky or unlucky, but in this, its 13th year, the venerable Turducken Masked Band Ball finally got some company. For more than a decade, local musicians have paid homage to their favorite bands at the annual shindig and, now, perhaps there are too many rockers for just one party. At Turducken's ball, members of Gold and Glass, Felix, I, Octopus and World Leader Pretend — plus James Hall — will take on the Beastie Boys, Guns N' Roses, Hasil Adkins and Queen. Over at the Hi-Ho, Clockwork Elvis takes on the Gun Club, the Public (did we see this coming?) does Joy Division, Bipolaroid appears as Dr. John, and other acts slip into the personae of the Velvet Underground, Mike Nesmith, the Misfits, Jesco White "The Dancing Outlaw," and Loretta Lynn (Big Blue Marble pictured). Both bills feature a Violent Femmes impersonator. The Hi Ho show also offers acts who will ape comedians and burlesque stars of yore: look for Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Blaze Starr, Lili St. Cyr and others. At press time, we learned that the Turducken Guns N' Roses has a new track to add to its set list: Axl Rose has finally dropped the first single off his decade-in-the-making opus Chinese Democracy . Now that's scary. Tickets $8 with costume, $10 without at both shows. — Fensterstock


Vic Chesnutt and Elf Power
8 p.m. Thu., Oct. 30
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361;

The paraplegic Athens, Georgia singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt (pictured) has been a strong personality in the Americana game since 1990 for his literary, quirky, often cutting lyrics that swing from spooky Southern gothic poetry to foul-mouthed barroom spleen and bile in the space of a few bars. The highly prolific guitarist is a frequent collaborator and contributor to group efforts, and with his latest, Dark Developments , he's pulled off possibly his most fascinating ensemble work yet. The album, out this week, was recorded with Elf Power, musicians from the Athens-based Orange Twin community — a sort of hip, 21st century commune that also has a record label. Elf Power was born out of Elephant 6, a recording collective that helped expose some of the '90s best indie bands. Dark Developments comes across as a perfectly even and intriguing balance; think Lou Reed or John Cale solo with freak-folk noise, buzz and clang under Chesnutt's honed-to-a-point lyrics. Elf Power opens. Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door. — Fensterstock


Raise the Dead Fest featuring Outlaw Order
8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 1
Howlin' Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., 522-WOLF;

The third annual Raise the Dead festival at the Howlin' Wolf ensures the Day of the Dead is not without plenty of New Orleans-style metal mayhem. Topping the bill is Outlaw Order (pictured), a band born out of the seminal Southern metal band Eyehategod (and also fronted by vocalist Mike Williams). It speeds up the latter's influential stoner sludge-grind with a clot-thinning injection of fierce, speedy hardcore. Also appearing is Flesh Parade, the decade-old local metal act back in a new incarnation after a long break; the hammering black metal of Ritual Killer; and Hostile Apostle, a trio comprised of members of Hawgjaw, Soilent Green and Rustler. Also performing is Pain Tribe, a creepily erotic group that combines dance and fetish with live bondage and piercing. Tickets $13. — Fensterstock


Louisiana Swamp Fest
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Nov. 1-2
Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 581-4629;

Whip out the washboard and fry up some boudin, because it's time for Audubon Zoo's Louisiana Swamp Fest, the annual celebration of Cajun culture and its Acadian home. Musical guests include Cajun, zydeco and country acts like BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet (pictured), Roddy Romero and the Hub City All-Stars, Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience, the Magnolia Sisters, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue and many others. Visitors two-step and eat their way across the grounds of the zoo, stopping every now and then to take in exhibits and hands-on animal encounters. There are even a few alligator feedings at the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit. The festival underscores the rich natural resources of the swamps and their vulnerability due to coastal erosion and other environmental hazards. The main area of the Zoo features food booths offering dishes like shrimp and crabmeat gumbo, spinach and crawfish bread bowls and alligator sauce piquante. Swamp Fest is free with Zoo admission. — Davis

click to enlarge GREG WHITAKER
  • Greg Whitaker
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