Our Critics Picks 

Black LipsThe Black Lips come on like your buddy’s thrill-seeking little brother: you expect to either discover him at the bottom of a ravine in a fiery, self-destructive crash or coming down the street leading a conga line culled from a nearby frat party.

The Black LipsTuesday, April 3rd

The Black Lips come on like your buddy’s thrill-seeking little brother: you expect to either discover him at the bottom of a ravine in a fiery, self-destructive crash or coming down the street leading a conga line culled from a nearby frat party. Rollerskating helter-skelter through a sonic minefield, The Black Lips’ erratic grace is keyed to a sturdy backbeat that recalls the drive of The Cramps and guides their Blue Cheer-bred throb. The woozy garage-psyche rumble wobbles and weaves like a suicide bomb with the intent of blowing your mind—maybe it’s the way they hotbox their vehicle with a smoky mix of Brian Jonestown Massacre’s heady nostalgia and The Replacements’ initial impulse to rip shit up. Formed in 2000, the band was touched by tragedy shortly before the release of their first album. (Lead guitarist Ben Ederbaugh was killed in a freak accident by a car going the wrong direction in a toll booth.) They forged on, and two months ago released its third album, Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo, a “live” album allegedly recorded in Tijuana, Mexico, before an enthusiastic audience that included hookers hard at work. Even if the story’s a fake, the sound’s authentic enough to buy the debauchery. The End —CHRIS PARKER

MUSIC

THROUGH 31ST

TIN PAN SOUTH It’s always been hard to get a handle on this amorphous beast of a music festival, and that may be the idea: it celebrates the songwriter, who’s often as glory-deprived in the process of pop music-making as the screenwriter is in Hollywood, and nothing shows the diversity of pop songcraft like the sprawl of the Tin Pan South lineup. Where else are you gonna see Tommy Womack and Kix Brooks playing the same in-the-round show (Thursday, 12th & Porter), or find the writers of “Private Eyes,” “Right Here Waiting,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “She’s a Beauty”—yes, that would be Tubes frontman Fee Waybill—sharing a stage (Friday, 3rd & Lindsley)? From the exquisite ache of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” to the glorious bombast of “Sister Christian,” from agit-folk balladeer Michelle Shocked to Kenny Loggins to Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, the writers get to step out from behind their sheet music and reclaim their cuts as personal property. With 10 venues chugging through Saturday night, there’ll be a half-dozen streets that could lay claim to the title Music Row. See the daily club-by-club schedule in our Music Listings on p. 43, or check out tinpansouth.com. —JIM RIDLEY

THURSDAY, 29TH

MISSISSIPPI AT THE RYMAN: MARTY STUART, AMY GRANT, JOHN GRISHAM, STEVE AZAR AND FRIENDS If there’s anyone who can appreciate the economy of a well-turned phrase, it’s million-selling author John Grisham, who knows a thing or two about precision. Here to support the Chris Bonds Memorial Scholarship, Grisham and the Nashville alums of Ole Miss have culled a diverse quilt of songwriters to give deserving young people an education. Marty Stuart, who left Mississippi as a young boy chasing a bluegrass dream with Lester Flatt, brings his gruff growl to the stage. Amy Grant, another Grammy winner, offers a honeysuckle-sweet take on contemporary music that merges inspirational with pure pop. Steve Azar, who’s been warming up the road for Bob Seger all year, is a Mississippi ex-pat whose thoughtful country leans heartland. Also on the bill are modern classic-country writers Carl Jackson, Bryan Kennedy, Rivers Rutherford, Dan Tyler and Jim Weatherly. (martystuart.net, amygrant.com) Ryman Auditorium —HOLLY GLEASON

LUCERO Last year, Lucero didn’t make the best record aping The Boss—that was The Hold Steady. And they definitely didn’t make the worst—that honor goes to The Killers. But Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers offered an effective and sometimes wonderful melding of Springsteen’s grandiose piano-drenched rock with Lucero’s tried-and-true amalgam of wily punk and lilting country. Guitarist Brian Venable’s guitar lines remain as emotional and angular as ever—the perfect complement to frontman Ben Nichols and all those feelings. Speaking of which, Nichols’ earnestness is a thing of beauty: in a musical landscape saturated with bells and whistles on an irony overload, he and his three Memphis compatriots focus on the classics—pretty girls, broken hearts, loud guitars and an occasionally dangerous amount of whiskey. With his sandpaper growl and tendency to see the barroom as theater, Nichols is not everyone’s brand of prophet, but for some, his particular brand of static melancholy is nothing short of magic. (luceromusic.com) Mercy Lounge —LEE STABERT

AMERICAN PRINCES There’s a thoughtful strain of melancholy running through the expert indie rock of American Princes, a quintet from Little Rock. The title of the band’s second record on Yep Roc, Less and Less, is a clue that these young men are more wistful than wild. That’s not to say that they can’t whip up an engaging racket—grounded in a high-pitched guitar attack—or that you won’t find yourself bobbing along to their caffeinated sound. At their best, on songs such as the slow, brooding “Annie” and the pain-soaked “Open Letter,” they’re able to push aside comparisons to other acts (The Replacements and The Dismemberment Plan, for starters) and capture their very own dark but thrilling little corner of the current scene. (americanprinces.com) Mercy Lounge —WERNER TRIESCHMANN

PETE YORN In a 2001 four-star review of Pete Yorn’s debut musicforthemorningafter, Rolling Stone scribe Arion Berger wrote, “Pete Yorn is too attuned to the lure of melody to pass for just another gloomy young strummer, and he’s too smart to look on the perky side of love.” It made sense for RS to embrace the then-27 Yorn: the New Jersey songwriter brought the same husky voice and major-chord proclivities as another Garden State songwriter named The Boss, and he tied his best laments (“Black,” “For Nancy”) to textural production that grasped the lessons of The Smiths, Joy Division and grunge. But Yorn has yet to fulfill Berger’s assessment of unorthodoxy: over his two most recent albums, he’s been mired in mediocrity, ostensibly stuck flipping through the pages of his influences. Still, here’s to thinking Yorn—heart-on-his-sleeves and alcohol-on-the-microphone though he may be—will someday find himself, and make a strong follow-up to a freshman statement that’s still relevant. RS could stand to be right at least a few times this decade, after all. (peteyorn.com) City Hall —GRAYSON CURRIN

FRIDAY, 30TH

FRIDAY, 30TH

IT DIES TODAY It’s easy to assume that most of the fans Buffalo’s It Dies Today attract are mall-dwelling youth who have no aversion to catchy melodies, but older fans of the propulsive, mid-tempo riffing more common to the band’s deathcore wave of the past several years should find themselves fighting the urge to bang their heads. But why fight the feeling? On their new album Sirens, It Dies Today refine their various metal-pop-etcetera influences into a more cohesive style than on their previous album, The Caitiff Choir. Unabashed vocal pretense spiked with an underlying sense of humor further distinguishes the band, whose vocal melodies constantly switch from death metal-styled barks to emo-core choruses—at times even verging on pop-punk. These vocal dynamics keep the music from getting mired in singsong overkill. Notably, It Dies Today come to town on one of their first dates with a new vocalist—a precarious position to be in after just releasing a record, especially considering that original singer Nick Brooks played a prominent role in the band’s songwriting. Rcktwn —SABY REYES-KULKARNI

GRETCHEN PETERS, MATRACA BERG, SUZY BOGGUSS Take two CMA Song of the Year writers (“Independence Day,” “Strawberry Wine”) and raise it a Horizon Award winner (the crystalline-voiced Suzy Bogguss), and you have an evening of breathtaking songs and enough bawdy humor to illustrate the much-vaunted Feminine Mystique. Their songs have given Martina McBride, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Pam Tillis, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood and Gretchen Wilson major hits, multiple Grammy nominations and the opportunity to provide lasting insight into how women live—and all of that pales compared to their own music, imbued with the gentle beauty of coaxing maximum truth from three minutes. (gretchenpeters.com) (matracaberg.com) (bogguss.com) 12th & Porter —HOLLY GLEASON

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ W/AMANDA GREEN What’s the old saying: “There’s a broken light for every heart on Broadway?” (Well, something like that.) Music City tunesmiths have been eyeing the Great White Way ever since the late Roger Miller scored a smash with Big River, and as this week’s Tin Pan South festival celebrates the craft of songwriting, it attempts to bridge the gap between the Ryman and the Shubert with an early-evening show titled “Nights on Broadway.” For anyone who ever jazz-handed their way through a high-school chorus of “Day by Day” or “Magic to Do,” the highlight is a rare Nashville appearance by Schwartz, the multiple Oscar-winner who’s been cheated several times out of a Tony for Pippin, Godspell, The Magic Show and the current blockbuster Wicked. Joining him is former Nashvillian Green, the daughter of Broadway royalty Phyllis Newman and Adolph Green, who collaborated on the score for last year’s short-lived High Fidelity and is said to be writing songs for a movie musical based on the cheerleader-porn classic Debbie Does Dallas. (Our recommended production number: “My Cup Runneth Over.”) Nashville musical-theater composers Mike Reid and Marcus Hummon and vocalist Lari White serve as their Music City liaisons, with parts to perform, hearts to warm, and kings and things to take by storm. Tickets are $25. 6:30 p.m., Bluebird Café —JIM RIDLEY

SATURDAY, 31ST

KENNY LOGGINS He defined several innocent ages: the romping Loggins & Messina of “Your Daddy Don’t Dance” and “Vahevela”; the hits by Anne Murray, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and The Doobie Brothers (“Danny’s Song,” “House at Pooh Corner” and “What A Fool Believes” respectively); the soundtrack years (“I’m Alright” from Caddyshack, “Danger Zone” from Top Gun and “Footloose”); and the solo albums (Celebrate Me Home, Nightwatch and Keep the Fire). With black eyes and raven hair, he was also a sensitive sex symbol whose music rippled with a passion that blazed without overwhelming. Remembering these sweetly crafted songs and surging movie themes recalls a time when we didn’t know everything, but what we knew was plenty to feel content. Loggins favors everything from jazz explorations to delving into the heart’s topography. And for this show, he’s likely to embrace it all. (kennyloggins.com) 12th & Porter —HOLLY GLEASON

ON COMMAND Two years ago, local music smorgasbord On Command released a self-titled debut disc. Six months later, the band was gone without so much as a goodbye. It’s not that surprising really, considering that the members were busy in bands such as Asschapel, Apollo Up! and Lambchop, and lead guitarist Dallas Thomas jaunted to post-Katrina New Orleans to lend a hand. What is surprising is that they’ve managed to re-team for a proper farewell show so many months later. Thomas and Jay Phillips will handle the guitars, dishing out blistering dual solos recalling Jailbreak-era Thin Lizzy. William Tyler trades in his axe for bass duties, and holding it all together is Springwater barman/vocalist Mike Raber in all his microphone cable-twisting, nostril-flaring glory. Come party like it’s 2005. (myspace.com/oncommand) Springwater —ERIC WILLIAMS

THE SHAZAM The Shazam’s power pop takes up where recordings such as The Move’s “Yellow Rainbow” and Cheap Trick’s “Elo Kiddies” leave off. Songwriter and lead singer Hans Rotenberry has mastered a kind of thwarted lyricism, which means the deliberately overstated guitar moves and faintly ridiculous harmonies add up to something more than a formalist joke. They’ve been working on a new set of songs, including something called “(Hey Mom) I Got the Bomb,” whose parenthetical aside illustrates this band’s charm. Rotenberry says there are plans afoot to reissue their long-unavailable demo collection, 1995’s Shake 500, and a best-of appears to be in the works as well. Any power-pop group who’s played with The Move’s Carl Wayne, as these guys have, might rest on their laurels. But The Shazam continue in their mission to bring humor and juice to a genre that can favor pop over power. (theshazam.com) The Basement —EDD HURT

SUNDAY, APRIL 1ST

XIU XIU Picking your favorite Xiu Xiu song can be like picking your own switch—it’s more upsetting than The Cure and way harder to dance to. Jamie Stewart’s distinguishing emotive powers and gender-twisted lyrics may get exhausting, but he still manages to come off honest, and sometimes even embarrassingly raw. On Xiu Xiu’s fifth and latest record, The Air Force, Stewart’s cousin and most established cohort on the road, Caralee McElroy, offers an almost-pop reprieve from the frontman’s lashings with her contribution, “Hello from Eau Claire,” wedged fortuitously between two proper suicide songs. Like the four records before it, the 2006 release combines Stewart’s tremulous tone with sparse guitars, vibraphones and synthesizers, and each song is armed with unpredictable electronic tantrums. Stewart is releasing a new record next month, and as proof that being miserable is cool again, it will be limited to remixes of old songs and tribute-style Xiu Xiu covers by other artists—you know, sort of like a quirky greatest-hits for a band without any. (myspace.com/xiuxiuband) Casa Burrito —JASMIN KASET

WEDNESDAY, 4TH

LAMB OF GOD Back on the road after a series of high-profile tours that have kept this metal band’s star on a seemingly perpetual rise, Lamb of God play into the currents that have guided metal’s progression in the wake of popular death-metal and metalcore trends. What sets Lamb of God apart is their yearning for the glory days of thrash, which, admirably, doesn’t dominate the band’s sound. You can hear it if you dig, though, which gives their work an older and wiser undertone in comparison to the hordes of bands whose well of influences runs far more shallow in their pursuit of the latest trend. Lyrically, Lamb of God’s occult-spiked criticism of the Bush administration makes for its own peculiar brand of entertainment. City Hall —SABY REYES-KULKARNI

SHEMEKIA COPELAND When it comes to music classified as R&B on the radio airwaves, Beyoncé’s polished vocal acrobatics don’t quite cut it for 28-year-old blues shouter Shemekia Copeland. On Copeland’s fourth album for Alligator Records—2005’s The Soul Truth—she demands to know during the punchy, nostalgic, horn-seasoned anthem “Who Stole My Radio?”: “Who stole the funk / Who stole the soul / Who took the rock / out of rock and roll?” Even with the proliferation of younger quasi-blues acts such as The Black Keys or with white soul-pop stars such as Justin Timberlake hiring groove-friendly, mostly African American backing bands, Copeland—and her brassy Koko Taylor- and Ruth Brown-influenced belting and Memphis soul sound (Truth was produced by Stax architect and Booker T. & the MGs co-founder Steve Cropper)—stand apart. Spurred on by her father, the late Texas bluesman Johnny Copeland, the younger Copeland has been roaring her scorn for two-timing and mistreating lovers for just short of a decade, regardless of what her peers have been doing. Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar —JEWLY HIGHT

WEDNESDAY, 4TH-THURSDAY, 5TH

VINCE GILL In October, Gill released the magnum opus These Days, a sprawling set of 43 new songs spread over four thematically divided CDs. It offered a grand summation of all the styles he’s tackled over the last three decades, an overwhelming argument for his ongoing vitality and a breathtaking showcase for his superlative skills as a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. So why stop there? For his current tour, Gill extended the all-in approach by assembling a 16-piece (!) band to play These Days tunes and old favorites in a show that has been clocking in at well over three hours a night. That’s quite a while to be squeezed into a pew at the Ryman, but your ears will thank you as surely as your ass will hate you. (vincegill.com) Ryman Auditorium —CHRIS NEAL

DANCE

JOE GOODE PERFORMANCE GROUP Great Performances at Vanderbilt concludes its 33rd season with the presentation of this veteran West Coast dance company, which offers a singular blend of movement, spoken word, song and visual imagery. Founder Joe Goode uses his art to make strong human statements about compassion and tolerance. His views are exhibited here in “Stay Together,” based on an original song by San Francisco Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, and “Deeply There,” which draws its inspiration from death and mourning in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. The main performance is at 7:30 p.m. April 4. In addition, the company holds a master class April 3 at 10:30 a.m. in Memorial Gymnasium. For tickets, call 255-9600. (For class information, call 322-2471.) Ingram Hall —MARTIN BRADY

MOVING BEYOND BALANCE This program showcases the seven performers of Boston’s Snappy Dance Theater, whose background in gymnastics, circus skills, comedy, martial arts and even cheerleading informs their athletic style. High energy and some seemingly impossible physical feats are the hallmarks of a show that promises to cross all boundaries of age, gender and culture. Performed at 2 p.m. March 31. For tickets, call 255-ARTS (2787). TPAC’s Polk Theater —MARTIN BRADY

THEATER

BAT BOY Inspired by a character from the pages of the Weekly World News, this rock musical by authors Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming and composer Laurence O’Keefe tells the tale of a half-boy, half-bat found living in a cave in West Virginia. After its Halloween premiere at Tim Robbins’ Actors’ Gang Theatre in Los Angeles in 1997, the show was later produced with success—and to serious critical acclaim—at venues around the world. (A John Landis film version is also said to be in the works.) Blood, violence, incest and interspecies sex are all part of the controversial story, and there are religious overtones as well, as Bat Boy yearns for social acceptance while enduring hatred from narrow-minded townsfolk. Under the direction of Jose Ochoa, Street Theatre Company presents the Nashville premiere March 30-April 15 at East Literature Magnet High School, 110 Gallatin Road, in East Nashville. The piece was written for a small ensemble, but Ochoa has swelled the cast to about 20 in order to use more expansive choreography. Jeffrey Williams stars. For tickets, call 319-9661 or visit online at streettheatrecompany.org. —MARTIN BRADY

ART

“DRAWING ROOMS” Nashville native Becca Durnin was one of two artists in the strong January inaugural show at SQFT Gallery in the Arcade. The drawings in that show were mostly taken from her college work. (She recently graduated from Pomona College in Southern California.) Now she is showing more recent drawings at the Art House, where she works as the gallery director. Her social commentary seems to have gotten more pronounced as she has moved her figures out of fantastic spaces inside the body into more recognizable domestic rooms. There will be an opening for this show from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 31. The Art House —DAVID MADDOX

ERIN BRADY WORSHAM The bold, humorous narratives found in Worsham’s graphic compositions reveal as much about the possibilities of digital expression as they do about the artist’s internal life. After being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, Worsham, an accomplished artist, lost her speech, mobility and ability to breathe independently. Far from giving up her creative life, Worsham found a new way to create her images, using a computer that reads her facial movements. The resulting work borrows compositional elements from playing cards and marries them to pixel-renderings that are equally strange and endearing. Worsham’s exhibit opens on Thursday, March 29. The gallery will host a public reception for the artist on Saturday, March 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery —JOE NOLAN

FILM

THE ANIMATION SHOW 3 This touring animation festival curated by Mike Judge (King of the Hill) and Don Hertzfeldt (“Rejected”) runs the gamut from slapstick to pathos, from hand-drawn shorts to live-action composites, and from comedy to fantasy. Among the stand-outs are Hertzfeldt’s devastating “Everything Will Be OK,” Bill Plympton’s “Guide Dog,” and the French short “Overtime,” in which a group of Muppet-like creatures try to figure out the circumstances of their creator’s death. In other cities, the filmmakers have been known to show up; no word if that’s happening in Nashville, but the festival’s website (animationshow.com/underground) wants people to send in their photos of the audience, theater and any other aspect of the evening. It screens two nights only, March 30 and 31, at the Belcourt. —JIM RIDLEY

DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST Robert Bresson’s films seem almost severe in their straightforwardness, yet the simplicity of his style—unhurried shots, Rorschach-blot performances, a soundtrack that evokes the offscreen world without the camera turning to look at it—produces complex effects. His 1951 film about a rural priest (Claude Laydu) withering from spiritual malaise in a faithless small town is among his most austere: a religious film that demands near-monastic patience from a viewer. It screens this weekend as part of the Belcourt’s “More 50 Years of Janus Films” series. —JIM RIDLEY

CITIZEN KANE Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Not the stuffy canon fodder you’ve been conditioned to dread, but a boisterous, funny, tragic and shockingly exuberant movie from which filmmakers continue to steal, with Orson Welles in his career-overshadowing role as Charles Foster Kane, the idealistic megalomaniac who believes it would be fun to run a newspaper—and a country, and the lives of everyone he ever cares for. The Downtown Presbyterian Church shows it 7 p.m. Thursday as part of its Lenten Film Series, preceded at 6 by a meal: both dinner and the movie are free and open to the public. —JIM RIDLEY

THE NAMESAKE Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) directed this adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, in which the New York-born son (Kal Penn from Harold and Kumar) of Indian immigrants is pulled between the Eastern and Western roots reflected in his name. The movie opens Friday at Green Hills. —JIM RIDLEY

KID’S COURT: CHARLOTTE’S WEB If you missed the recent live-action version of the E.B. White classic, the film is the 10 a.m. attraction Saturday at the Belcourt’s weekly morning show for kids. Tickets are $3, with popcorn and juice boxes available for $1 each. Terrific! Radiant! Humble? —JIM RIDLEY

BOOKS

JULIA WATTS A Kentucky native, now a Knoxville resident, novelist Julia Watts specializes in lesbian coming of age stories with Southern settings. Her most recent book, Women’s Studies, recounts the individual awakening of three young women, all coincidentally named Elizabeth, as they scramble through their third year of college. Watts likes to tread the territory where female identity, especially lesbian identity, runs up against the narrowness and conformity of small-town Southern life, but there’s more humor and irony than heartache in her work. Like Jess in her 1998 novel Piece of My Heart, her characters tend to have a touch of sardonic sassiness: “Since I lacked Max’s boldness and had never felt compelled to wear flannel clothing or play fast-pitch softball, I worked with the assumption that I was simply a somewhat underzealous straight girl.” Watts will read from her work on March 29 at 8 p.m. in Room 101 of Vanderbilt’s Buttrick Hall. The reading is free and open to the public. —MARIA BROWNING

EVENTS

BUZZ POOLE Vladimir Lenin appeared on a shower curtain. The faces of Mickey Mouse and Bob Hope graced potato chips. And of course there are Jesus and Mary, who routinely show up on burnt toast, rock formations, highway overpasses, mandolins, grilled cheese sandwiches, shower tiles and even a dogʼs behind. But what does it all mean? In his book Madonna of the Toast, freelance writer Buzz Poole examines contemporary cultureʼs fascination with religious and secular icons that appear on everyday objects. He calls it pareidolia, the psychological ability to turn random images or sounds into an identifiable picture, tune or word (the man on the moon, animals in clouds, hidden messages in songs played in reverse). When we see condensation on a shower curtain, what inspires us to think of a 19th century Russian revolutionary? And when the image looks vaguely religious, is it a miracle or just a coincidence? Poole pays special attention to Bongo Javaʼs Nun Bun, the famous cinnamon bun shaped like Mother Teresaʼs head that sat in the Belmont Boulevard coffee shop until thieves stole it in December 2005. (This month, The Tennessean received a random note and photo of the Nun Bun sunning herself on a beach, the first clue in nine months.) Poole will read from and sign copies of the book as part of Bongo Javaʼs 14th Birthday Bash, 6 to 8 p.m. March 28. —CLAIRE SUDDATH

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