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SUNDAY NOV 24
Alestorm/Trollfest/Gypsyhawk: 7 p.m., $13 ADV, $15 DOS. Agora Ballroom.
Cults/SACCO/Mood Rings: Adopting highly stylized forms of songwriting and production is a dangerous game. Setting yourself against an existing backdrop welcomes comparative (and often negative) criticism. Lucky for Cults, they're great at what they do. The reverb-heavy, polished vocals alongside punchy beats give Cults their unique, adopted sound: almost a modern take on Motown. Their 2011 debut record first released on Bandcamp rocketed them into the indie music world. Full of singable, dream-pop hits like "Bumper" or the Apple-commercial-worthy "Go Outside," Cults placed them in the sweetest part of our hearts. On their recently released follow-up album Static, they maintain their atmospheric background of synths, strings and droning guitars but take the sweetness down a notch. Moving away from the blissful happiness of their first record, Static is subtle and sneaky like a Dirty Harry film; still grungy and punchy but not so obvious. Positioning themselves as a mainstay in the indie-pop arena beside contemporaries Vampire Weekend and Sleigh Bells, the duo demands repeat listens of their catchy, partly sunny songs. 8:30 p.m., $15 ADV, $17 DOS. Grog Shop. (Stoops)
Jah Messengers: 9 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.
Kill It With Fire/Palaces: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog.
Steve Kortyka (in the Wine Bar): 6 p.m. Brothers Lounge.
The Lone Bellow/Aoife O'Donovan: 8 p.m., $15. Beachland Ballroom.
Matuto/Ahi-Nama: 8 p.m., $12. Beachland Tavern.
Silk: 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., $45-$90. Tangier Cabaret.
Third Eye Blind/Hydra Melody: 8 p.m., $36-$46. House of Blues.
MONDAY NOV 25
DJ Stroke Presents "Thanks," the Concert for the "Trill Tape"/NuID Band: 8 p.m., $10. Grog Shop.
Metric/Battleme: 8 p.m., $24 ADV, $26 DOS. House of Blues.
Mojo Big Band: 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.
Neighborhood Night with MoKo BoVo/The Tuna Band: 7:30 p.m., free. Beachland Tavern.
The Matt Skitzki Trio/Rockin' Johnny: 8:30 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.
Velvet Voyage (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.
TUESDAY NOV 26
August Burns Red/Blessthefall/Defeater/Beartooth: The guys in the Christian metalcore band August Burns Red were the catalyst that turned Lancaster, Penn., into a hardcore hotbed. "We were extremely active in the local hardcore and metal scene," says singer JB Brubaker. "We used to book shows at the local American Legion hall. We would throw our band onto to the opener slot." Whatever money the band earned, it put toward buying gear for its group. The scene isn't as strong now, but August Burns has taken on a life of its own and became a national act years ago. The band had a big breakthrough with 2007's Messengers and hasn't looked back. Its new album, Rescue & Restore, features complex time changes, string arrangements and intricate guitar solos. It's a true tour de force that pushes metalcore boundaries. Even if the band has gone in a new musical direction, it hasn't alienated its longtime fans."We like trying to incorporate unorthodox elements into our music," Brubaker says. "This album has gotten the best response since Messengers. I'm happy people have been happy with it since we kind of went out on a limb." 7:30 p.m., $22 ADV, $24 DOS. House of Blues. (Niesel)
Church Shoes/Kid Tested: Thank god for bands like Church Shoes. While it's truly wonderful that genres such as electro-rap, dub-wave, and jazz core exist, bands like Church Shoes ground us. They shouldn't be confused with some sort of nostalgia-rock outfit; they come to rock, drink and, in their words, "die high and naked." And while, no, they're not doing anything groundbreaking, there's a lot to be said for those that go out and deliver solid roc 'kn' roll; it's harder than it looks. The solid songwriting mixed with Americana-by-way-of-garage-rock guitars on songs such as "Yea Right" and "Fort Wayne Woman" reflect their roots. 10 p.m., free. Now That's Class. (Stoops)
Open Mic Night with Will Cheshier: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.
Three of Clubs Tour featuring The Royal Concept/American Authors/Misterwives: 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. House of Blues Cambridge Room.
William Control/Davey Suicide/Fearless Vampire Killers: 7 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Agora Ballroom.
10 X 3 Hosted by Brent Kirby (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.
Joseph Arthur: 9 p.m., $20-$25. Tangier.
Broccoli Samurai/Tropidelic/Vibe & Direct: 9 p.m., $10. Grog Shop.
Cats on Holiday/Kenneth Bindas: 8:30 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.
Cold Blue Steel: 8:30 p.m. Peppermill Pub and Grill.
The Floorwalkers/The Womack Family Band/Nick D. and the Believers: 9 p.m., $10. Beachland Ballroom.
Hey Champ: 9 p.m. Mahall's 20 Lanes.
Todd Isler/Jenny Hill Quartet: 7 p.m., $10. Nighttown.
The JiMiller Band: All Grateful Dead: 9 p.m., $10. The Winchester.
Peanuts All-Star Jam: 9 p.m. Brothers Lounge.
The Thanksgiving Jam with Ray Jr./Dub-O/LC Daghostrider/EZ Thee Ambassador: 7:30 p.m. Agora Ballroom.
Twenty One Pilots/ Small Pools/Sirah: An upbeat labyrinth of lyrics. That's both a poetic and grounded initial appraisal of Twenty One Pilots' sound. The band's eclectic electronic indie pop has stirred millions of fans across the country. They're huge right now. And, as it so happens, that's not without good reason. Vessel, the band's big-time release from last year, paints a colorful picture. At their simplest, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun just make really enjoyable music. And they've been garnering acclaim for their energetic live show, which arrives in Cleveland tonight. 8 p.m., $20 ADV, $22 DOS. House of Blues. (Sandy)
Umojah Nation: 9 p.m., $4.99. Musica.hospital. If that wasn't enough, financial issues later forced Marshall into bankruptcy. No longer able to afford touring with a large band, this year's tour consists of more intimate solo performances. In practice, this falls in line with Sun, which she recorded almost entirely by herself. A fairly large departure for her, the majority of Sun's interesting textures and heavier rhythms come from electronic sources. Tracks like "Ruin" and "Real Life" explore new territory by means of heavier drums and buzzing synths never heard before in a Cat Power album. With Marshall only using piano and guitar on this tour, the majority of the set will probably sound more like alternate takes than exact album reproductions, though replacing synthesizers and drums for an intimate emotional experience with an indie rock legend is more than enough compensation. 6:45 p.m. and 10 p.m., $25 ADV, $28 DOS. Grog Shop. (Stoops)
Freddie Cole: 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., $20-$30. Nighttown.
Crown Larks/Sails/Ma Halos/Swirly in the Fryer: 9 p.m., $5. Now That's Class.
Dangermuffin/Big Daddy Love: 8 p.m., $12. Beachland Tavern.
England in 1819/Chin Shoda/Blaka Watra/From Borealis: 8:30 p.m. Mahall's 20 Lanes.
Gary Hall/The Scenic Route: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.
India Arie/Gramps Morgan: Grammy-winning and R&B favorite India.Arie returns from a self-imposed four-year break in her career with SongVersation, one of her strongest albums yet. Approaching her music from a more stripped down perspective, Arie encountered a spiritual awakening driving her songs to new internalized places. And so SongVersation shows this in moments of self-empowerment in tracks like "Just Do You" and in the smooth, tender imagery of "Cocoa Butter." Less complex than previous records, the direct approach of the album enables an honest conversation with the listener. Arie's whirlwind of a career went from being virtually unknown to double-platinum and seven Grammy nominations within the span of five years. The rebuilt Arie feels even more in touch with herself and spiritual devotion, and her songwriting is all the stronger for it. Opener Gramps Morgan appears on the reggae-influenced "Thy Will Be Done," an exciting track with catchy horn hooks. 8 p.m., $29 ADV, $39 DOS. House of Blues. (Stoops)