“Your gladiator heart doesn’t seem to want to let you leave the field,” The Connells sing on “Gladiator Heart,” from their 2001 release Old School Dropouts. The sentiment is an appropriate one for the band, who has been one of the Triangle’s most steadfast workhouses, persevering in a field where casualties are stacked like cordwood.

The band has been around so long they’ve graduated from the college rock label used to describe their sound when they started in ’84, when brothers Mike and Dave Connell decided to start a band while going to school at Carolina. Raleigh’s underground scene was just beginning, and Cafe Deja Vu was becoming the place to be to see “underground” bands. The group made good use of the venue and developed a local following. In ’87 their Mitch Easter-produced Boylan Heights was named one of the best college rock albums of the ’80s; they also developed a following in Europe, and were signed by a U.K. label. The band started their own record company to aid in distribution–one of the first bands in the area to do so. They hit a #1 spot with “74-’75,” voted Single of the Year in Europe. The Connells have remained faithful to their vision without compromising their integrity or the quality of their music, true survivors who refuse to get voted off their program. 9 p.m. $15/$17 day of show. 967-9053.