Thursday, April 5

Kid Koala, The ArtsCenter

Talk about pressure: Solo DJ sets outside the context of a dance club or party can be tedious to watch, but if any DJ working right now has the panache, ideas or charm to do it, it’s probably Montreal’s Kid Koala. A cartoonist, videographer and DJ with remarkable rhythm and taste, Koala mines the crackle of thrift store vinyl and the multitudinous sounds it offers (from ultra-soft bop to screaming hair-metal guitars). His solo sets can work because he links those sounds with whimsical narratives spliced from vintage commercials and radio shows, and those stories are adventurous and often self-effacing narratives on the expectations of DJ culture, facilitated with the essentials: two turntables and a mixer. $10-$12/ 9 p.m. GC

gregg k, Beloved Binge, The Gates of Beauty, The Cave

Durham reps settle in: You can get all pensive with Gregg K’s John Doe-ish ballads or dig the dissonant folk-pop of hubby and wife duo Beloved Binge. Check into this gig for Gates of Beauty, too, the new-ish female trio with local heroine Anne Gomez, bassist Wendy Spitzer of Eyes to Space and drummer Shannon Morrow of Bride of No No and the late Bicentennial Quarters. 10 p.m. CT

Friday, April 6

Hege V, Phil Lee, Hideaway BBQ

The centerpiece of Hege V’s (or George Hamilton V, legally) 1987’s Mitch Easter-produced local classic House of Tears is the mightily chugging “My Decline.” Imagine it: A tremendous slice of proto-alt-country, it sounds like a rocked-up, slightly unhinged Roger Miller. This rare area appearance will make clear that any talk of decline is pure fiction. Phil Lee, himself a local classicalbeit one relocated to Nashvilleand Great Big Gone (formerly Brown Mountain Lights) open. $8-$10/ 9 p.m. RC

Sean Lennon, Cat’s Cradle

Songwriters like Sean Lennon probably make the better pen of Elliot Smith roll over in his grave: “Dead Meat,” the lead single from Lennon’s second album Friendly Fire, actually includes the refrain “You’re dead meat/ Whoa whoa whoa,” set to a Smith minor key and melodic whisper. If Lennon’s last name was Jones, he’d be playing open mics. It’s OK to care about this show because you care about John Lennon and/or Yoko Ono or because he’s collaborated with Cibo Matto and Ryan Adams. But level with the fact that’s why you care and with the notion that Lennon’s songs are flaccid (swiped, even) attempts at artistic self-actualization. Or, make it a Netflix night! Also, Women and Children and Kamila Thompson open. $15-$17/ 8 p.m. GC

Cyril Lance & the Outskirts: An Evening of Dylan, the ArtsCenter

Four years ago, the Telarc label released the album Blues on Blonde on Blonde, on which a number of blues and blues-rock lifers had at Dylan’s landmark. Expect a similar vibe when the Triangle’s own blues-rock first-teamer, Cyril Lance, offers readings of select pages from the Dylan songbook, supported by his crackerjack band and some impressive guests. $12/ 8:30 p.m. RC

Mighty Lester, Blue Bayou Club

2007 has already been a successful and meaningful year for Raleigh’s powerhouse blues band Mighty Lester. The swinging eight-piece (complete with three-piece horn section) captured the prize for Best Self-Recorded CD and came in third in the Best Band category at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. For an encore, they swung through New Orleans to perform with Susan Cowsill and the Soul Rebel Brass Band at a benefit for the New Orleans Musician’s Clinic. It’s still April, right? 9:30 p.m. RC

Saturday, April 7

Benefit for Callum Robbins: Fin Fang Foom, Red Collar, Caltrop, Bull City Headquarters

Triangle rockers convene for a cause: Callum Zachary Robbins, the 14-month-old son of D.C. post-punk god J. Robbins and wife/Channels bandmate Janet Morgan, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy last year. The debilitating disease affects the motor neurons that would allow Callum to walk, crawl, roll over or control his neck and head. Donations from shows like these across the country (seriously, The Dismemberment Plan is reuniting for Callum) will help relieve the costly medical bills for his treatment. Also, you can hear some of the best rock music the area has to offer. $5/ 8 p.m. RI

Wayne “The train” Hancock, Hideaway BBQ

Wayne Hancock is a renaissance cowboy. His smooth baritone boasts lyrics chock full of honky-tonk clichés: lusting after pretty women, soakin’ up booze and traveling lonely country roads serve as thematic fodder for his vintage ramblin’ man sound. But beneath his twang guitar and rustic repertoire lurks a classier man, well-versed in big band bombast and scintillating swing. Look to his latest album, Tulsa, as the instrumental guide to the honky-tonk revival. $12-$15/ 9:30 p.m. KJ

Joe Romeo and the Volunteers, The Cave

Though he’s a Jersey boy to the end, Joe Romeo’s sonic palette doesn’t lend him to being a native son of anywhere. In approach, there’s that balladeer tone, be it Dylan or Donovan. But there’s a torn edge underneath. That’s why his songs usually sound interesting when he’s solo or when he plays with his full band of Volunteers. No, they’re not from Tennessee. 10 p.m. CT

Sunday, April 8

Electroclash Sunday with DJs Instigate and Entheos, Blend

When a guy named Larry Tee claimed the name “electroclash” for a new sub-genre of dance music, he wasn’t really inventing anything. But some good came out of the process despite the poor fashion decisions, like tough Detroit duo Adult., who once warned a Carrboro crowd, “Don’t let electroclash come here!” Check out what brand of beats these DJs dig in the O.C. 10 p.m. CT

Tuesday, April 10

OSSA Benefit Concert, Local 506

506 gets philanthropic this weekend, clearing some calendar space for a concert to benefit C.A.A.R.E., Inc., an outreach and prevention program that raised sexual awareness around the Triangle. Joining in the altruism are Carrboro’s symphonic indie-rockers Sweater Weather, Chapel Hill’s banjo-bangers Black Swamp Bootleggers and Carrboro’s retro-pop enthusiasts Carter Gaj. Lead singer of Chapel Hill gloom-rockers Cities, Josh Nowlan, leaves his howl for this low-key acoustic performance. $5/ 9 p.m. KJ

Anti-Flag, Cat’s Cradle

With most punk divorced from the political context that birthed it, rust-belt revivalists Anti-Flag strike a strong chord, particularly on the scathing “The Press Corpse,” perhaps the best anti-Iraq screed written yet. At the very least, it’s at least the first to reference the Downing Street memo. (Eat your heart out, Green Day.) They’re pretty earnest, but such directness seems appropriate to their Clash and Oi!-inflected bounce of shout-along choruses and scratchy, anthemic guitar licks. Certainly their jump to the majors for last year’s For Blood and Empire showed no slackening in sonic power, just a little more polish. Not as tuneful as Rancid, but several times more relevant. With Alexis On Fire, Big D and the Kids Table and Set Your Goals. $15/ 7 p.m. CP

James Cotton, Lincoln Theatre

The legend of blues harpist James Cotton goes something like this: Left home when he was 9 to join up with Sonny Boy Williamson. Served as one of two harpists in the Arkansas-based outfit of Howlin’ Wolf and played on Wolf’s early Chess sessions. Traveled for over a decade with Muddy Waters. And that only takes us to 1965. So yeah, Mr. Cotton’s been at itthat is, the top. Andy Coats opens. $20-$25/ 8 p.m. RC

Wednesday, April 11

Humanwine, Veronique Diabolique, Local 506

Should we call it gypsy cabaret-punk? Tom Waits would be the godfather, but Dresden Dolls certainly mothered this dramatic Weimar-influenced torch style into its most recent vernacular. Therefore it’s no surprising to discover Dolls drummer Brian Viglione helping out behind the kit for this Boston act, centered on the multi-instrumental duo of M@ McNiss and Holly Brewer. Durham’s Veronique Diabolique just released Café Solitude, their second EP of French-sung, atmospheric pop touched by British darkwave. $10-$12/ 9 p.m. CP