CAT’S CRADLE–Two of the better underappreciated rock bands in America, Murder by Death and Lucero till the soil of the heartland in similar ways, led by songwriters who rip tear-and-beer soaked leaves from the journals of their troubled past. It’s rough-edged rock music with a sultry Southern swill, even though MBD hails from Bloomington, Ind., and Lucero comes from Memphis, Tenn., not Mississippi. Murder by Death covers more territory stylistically, sometimes venturing into outbound burlesque drama, while Lucero splinters straight ahead like the Drive-By Truckers. Under the surface, though, it’s just angry, honest, agitated Americana, carrying through the inveterate custom of being sung by people wise enough to know it’s normally not about sunshine and roses. It’s about teeth and nails. The $10-$12 show starts at 8:15 p.m. with Vedera. –Grayson Currin



DUKE GARDENS–If you already have a deep-seated, irrational fear of clowns, you might think twice before packing up the picnic basket and lawn chair for this outdoors production at the Iris Garden. Wendell Theater traditionally lets gifted Duke drama students explore sharper edges than their Theater Studies curriculum gets to. And with director Jay O’Berski urging them to combine grotesque theater with European clown techniques in the story of the murdering monarch and witches, you might be canceling all trips to the circus in the immediate future. Tickets are $5, but free to Duke students. The show’s at 6 p.m. –Byron Woods