Briefly: Ben Folds, Girl Talk, etc; Lonnie Walker, Annuals & the Coug; big shows; Robert Sledge‘s new flashlight; no way to Natalie Portman; Mann’s World on New Raleigh

N.C. native Ben Folds, the 42-year-old father of two who apparently can’t spend enough time on college campuses or writing sophomoric lyrics these days, returns to Durham for the second time this year for a show Wednesday, April 22, at Duke University’s Main Quad. The show, part of Duke’s annual Last Day of Class series, features two stages and 10 bands. Folds headlines following Duke’s buzz kid Mike Posner, mash-up dude Girl Talk (who sampled Folds for last year’s Feed the Animals), and Gym Class Heroes (who played UNC’s Homecoming last year). For the info on free food and all the bands, check LDOC’s Web site. For the info on how to look like a Duke student for a day … Nope, not going there.

Down I-40 two days later, three local bands take to N.C. State’s Lee Field for an Earth Day celebration: Terpsikhore labelmates Lonnie Walker and Annuals join Cougar Magnum (who, aside from playing “rock music,” has nothing at all to do with these other two) for the free 6 p.m. show. It’s interesting that Annuals seems to have become Raleigh’s house band for moderately progressive city events: They headlined the first night of the Cherry Bounce stage last year; helped open the new Schoolkids Records (the survival of which is a statement of sorts, no?); and now this. And, hey, more free food. Recession recreation, boo.

Lots of big bands coming our way that you might consider if funds are, uhh, loose: U2 plays Carter-Finley Stadium Oct. 3 with Muse, and tickets for the much-speculated show go on sale April 17 (Seriously, how many grown men wept when that show was announced?); Steely Dan plays DPAC June 9, and tickets go on sale April 24 (Seriously, how many grown men made pun after pun after pun after that show was announced?); Steve Miller Band plays DPAC Nov. 13, and the band’s Web site lists no ticket information yet (Seriously, have you heard that band’s first record, Children of the Future? It rules so hard.)

We mentioned Ben Folds up top, but his former bandmate, Ben Folds Five bassist Robert Sledge, brings his new band, Robert Sledge & the Flashlight Assembly, to The Pour House Friday, April 24. The JacketsRoger Gupton and half of Chatham County Lineheadlines, and Gabriel Kelly opens. Good bill.

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, the shitty Seattle dance band with the quixotic name, has canceled its Local 506 show Thursday, April 16, due, apparently, to a lack of walk-up ticket sales. Can’t same that I blame the good people of our region for that one. It looks like openers A Rooster for the Masses are still planning to play, though no word regarding who will join them.

Karen Mann of Mann’s World is doing some music work for New Raleigh these days: Check out her interview with Mecca Normal (Duofest in Durham, 04.18, BCHQ) and her friendly chat with Brian Walsby a few weeks back. Glad to see this happening.