The Dumbwaiters at Local 506
Dumbwaiters or dumb waiters? The mind boggles, but eventually lands on the latter, as this Tampa, Fla., four-piece sounds like they could easily pull service industry gigs with low wages down on the peninsula. Keyboards twirp and synthesizers swirl in the Dumbwaiters’ jangly indie pop, full of the same working-young-lad pleas that made Superchunk immediate, plus a touch of discordant psychedelics. These boys aren’t dumb. Pleasant has one-upped itself with its latest, Awkward as a Beehive, a musical, in-pop-we-trust certainty clashing against a secular, what’s-it-matter-anyway self-doubt. Tommygun fires the first round at 10 p.m., and $6 gets you in. –Grayson Currin

Sun Domingoo at The Pour House
Beatles comparisons are as common as the phrase “hooks you could hang sides of beef on” in pop band write-ups, and XTC comparisons (which, face it, are first cousins to Beatles comparisons) aren’t far behind; both have been applied liberally to Atlanta-based, harmony-drenched pop-rockers Sun Domingo. But when’s the last time you overheard a Cotton Mather comparison? Sun Domingo sure enough got one of those at a recent Charlotte show. The Brooks Wood Band, four N.C. Staters with jazz-program roots and eclectic CD collections, opens. $5/10 p.m. –Rick Cornell

The Donkey Show at Ringside
Once upon a dance-club floor, nightlife kingpin Oberon bade his puckish aide-de-camp to dose most righteously the lunar diva Titania, two young Vinnies and a quartet of amateurs who just happened to get in the way. Sound familiar yet? No? Then consider the show’s subtitle: A Midsummer Night’s Disco. The Donkey Show sets Shakespeare’s comedy in the disco ’70s to a soundtrack including “Car Wash.” David Klionsky directs this participatory theater in the round at Ringside, Thursdays through Saturdays through Sept. 17. Curtain is at 9 p.m., tickets are $10, and no one under 16’s getting in. Call 699-9831 for reservations. –Byron Woods

Koufax, Fashion Design at Wetlands
Label weirdom: Midwesterners Koufax release a 1999 EP on Doghouse Records, put out two full-lengths on emo bastion Vagrant before picking up Robert and Ryan Pope of the disbanded Get-Up Kids, a Vagrant bestseller and one-time Doghouse band. Koufax records its third full-length in Kansas without Vagrant’s support, accumulates a bunch of bills (it was written in Prague, after all) and signs back onto Doghouse. Regardless, the resultant Hard Times are in Fashion is a tight-fisted, jarring rock gem, full of punchy keyboard-based dance hymns, new-wave odes to girls and ruminations on that wayward “American spirit.” Really, it’s too smart and fun to be on Vagrant. –Grayson Currin

Saturday Night Special, Little Texas at Moore Square Park
You know that one David Cross joke, the one about Light Up Atlanta, the one about trying to figure out which line is for beer and which is for beer tickets? Maybe that’s what this–the last installation of the first year of Budweiser Raleigh Downtown Live–will be like, with its survival-of-the-grittiest line-up, including Little Texas (do you remember “What Might Have Been” or the hella unfortunate “God Blessed Texas”), the early-’90s high-definition country outfit of Brady Seals. Greenville guitarist Ed King, one of Skynyrd’s original Innyrds, plays with his Van Zant memoriam, Saturday Night Special. Jason Michael Carroll and The Silos (what?) open this Labor Day throwdown in downtown Raleigh, which starts at 3 p.m. Hey man, it’s free. –Grayson Currin

Batman Begins at the Lumina Theatre
One of this summer’s most exciting and thoughtful films gets the outdoor treatment. Batman Begins is director Christopher Nolan’s (Memento) vision of the origin of the Dark Knight, with Christian Bale ably filling the hero’s boots. Nolan skillfully converts Gotham City and the Batman lore into a post-9/11 allegory and employs a murky but dynamic palette that should play well under the stars. –Neil Morris

Soulfest at Alltel Pavillion
It’s both shocking and satisfying to see an artist as deserving as Angie Stone headlining her own national tour. In the age of sheds and monolithic bookings, Columbia, S.C.’s Stone is a testament to perseverance, but she isn’t a neo-soul diva or queen as much as she is the younger sister of the queen. That is, she comes with high talent, big sass and an onstage flair that most rockers playing the same stage (see 3 Doors Down, Sept. 9) could learn from. Floetry–dual English collaborators of DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jill Scott and Stone herself–open with material from their upcoming third album, Flo’Ology. Also on the bill: Kem, Will Downing and Gerald Albright, Kindred Family Soul and Norman Brown. The festival starts at 4 p.m. and tickets range from $26-$58.75. –Grayson Currin

Skkyterrain Hip Hop at The Library
SkyTerrain just returned as a regular gig, now residing at The Library on Franklin Street. A family affair started back in ’02 by DJ Merlin of the 4-4 Records store and 9th Wonder, the “swill and chill” night is now co-hosted by Merlin and the formidable DJ Forge. Get in on hanging out with some of our best selectors when they’re not playing the big shows. It’s free. –Chris Toenes

The Aristocrats at Galaxy Cinema
As the corpulent Hollywood beast heaves a sigh over audiences’ unwillingness to spend their money on television remakes like Bewitched, and as much money as anticipated on f/x-o-ramas like War of the Worlds, the world of documentaries is creating its own category of must-see blockbusters. Now comes The Aristocrats, a feature-length examination of the world’s dirtiest joke. The film’s title is the joke’s punch line, but as the dozens of A-list comedians in the film attest, the beauty of the gag lies in the apparently infinite potential for inducing disgust.–David Fellerath

John Hope Franklin at Borders in Chapel Hill
One of two new books by Duke history professor and renowned author John Hope Franklin, In Search of the Promised Land (co-authored by Loren Schweninger) is an installment of Oxford Press’ much-needed New Narratives in American History Series. As such, Franklin’s work is a revisionist, subversive, suggestive history that finds Nashville slave Sally Thomas–the mistress of, first, a Virginia slave owner and, second, a Supreme Court justice–using ingenuity, perseverance and compassion to purchase the freedom of her three sons. Contradictions and moral dilemmas emerge in this story, which would be a captivating plot for an epic novel were it not the truth. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. –Grayson Currin