Contributors: Rick Cornell, Grayson Currin, Kathy Justice, Robbie Mackey, Chris Toenes

Wednesday, August 23

Counting Crows, Goo Goo Dolls, Alltel Pavilion

Counting Crows’ August and Everything After was the perfect soundtrack for a couple of brooding years that I had at the dawn of the ’90s, and I consider the first three Goo Goo Dolls records to be pop-punk near-classics and their Superstar Car Wash a continuation of late-inning Replacements at their most tuneful. If only the loan for parking and beverages had come through, I’d be at the Pavilion for this one, getting all nostalgic and stuff. $25.50 (lawn), $39.50-$67.50 (reserved)/7 p.m. –RC

Thursday, August 24

Soja, the Pour House

An Irish-Catholic name like Patrick O’Shea sticks out in a rootsy reggae band, especially one intent upon working in a style reverent to their forebears. But, Irishmen and all, Washington, D.C.’s Soja stick to socially pertinent topics and a plaintive, non-intrusive mid-tempo rhythm. $10/10 p.m. –CT

No River City, The Cave

There have apparently been some changes right there in No River City. The Atlanta-based folk-rock outfit has always centered on singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Drew da Man’s dusty-road travelogues and snapshots, but now it’s a full-blown five-piece, a change from its early guitar-cello duo days. 10 p.m. –RC

Calloused Hands, Direkt Frequency, MarVell Event Center

MarVell provides a home for bands still looking for a local foothold, and this week’s roster gets together the divergent tastes of Durham folk-popper Patrick Phelan’s Calloused Hands and Garner’s answer to grungey metal, Direkt Frequency. 9 p.m. –CT

Friday, August 25

The Kingsbury Manx, Schooner, DeYarmond Edison, Kings

Like Midwestern settlers surviving the alienation of new climes by carrying their still-glowing ancestral hearthstones wherever they go, DeYarmond Edison successfully manages to pull the warm rock from the American songwriting mantle–as preached by Richard Buckner, Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne–and let it heat the experimental environs of improvisation, minimal composition and sonic revelry they prefer. It’s often perfect, and, sometimes, I wish it would go on forever. The Kingsbury Manx released the record of a career last year, and Schooner may do the same in a matter of months. Fantastic bill. $7/10 p.m. –GC

Port Huron Statement, The Never, Hymns, Raleigh Music Hall

Port Huron Statement’s fantastic, chugging pop brims with the small-song, big-package aesthetic proselytized by The Flaming Lips, but the five-piece simultaneously gives in to high-flying Pavement atonality and twisted song architecture. Hymns–an NYC quartet including Ben Kweller’s guitarist Jason Roberts–recalls shaggy haircuts, mid-growth beards and sunbaked country sung, smiled and cried by dudes that have almost had too much of the city. The Never fits the bill’s middle: Fairly straight-ahead guitar driven pop from the woods of Chatham and Orange counties. 10 p.m. –GC

Roman Candle, Cat’s Cradle

Alongside all the other terrific things Roman Candle offers–carefully constructed songs, the shimmer of a Rhodes organ and the tangible warmth in their pop-soul sound, onstage affability at its best–you can add this to the list: They bring families together. Really. A coworker and his teenage daughter never miss a Roman Candle show, and I bet they’re not alone. Athens trio The Whigs opens. $8, $10/9 p.m. –RC

Ian Svenonius, Calvin Johnson, Internationalist Books

Essay titles from The Psychic Soviet, the first book from Nation of Ulysses and Weird War member Ian Svenonius, include “The Bloody Latte,” “Eat the Rocument” and “Scion-Tology.” Indeed, the pocket-sized, pink vinyl-bound volume is fucking awesome, instructing in the first two pages that, since the fall of the Soviet Union, the entire world’s depression is but a symptom of the failure of international socialism. Svenonius reads from the Drag City-released volume at 7 p.m. and then spins across the street at Tallulas with K Records founder Calvin Johnson and DJ Marco after 9 p.m. –GC

The Hackensaw Boys, The ArtsCenter

Brash banjos and stripped strings overlaid with whoops, hollers and a heap of old-fashioned twang are steadfast hallmarks of traditional bluegrass music. And of course, the nine young men of the Hackensaw Boys hailing from Charlottesville, Va., know a thing or two about sticking to tradition. Their music is steeped in the old string band standards of the Blue Ridge. But they also know how to take that ethic and twist it, incorporating the torrid beats and raucous rhythms of punk and the lonesome harmonies of classic country into a high-octane junction of newgrass that will invite you to slap your knee and join the head bangers’ ball. $12-$14/8:30 p.m. –KJ

Saturday, August 26

L.E.G.A.C.Y., L in Japanese (with Common Ground), Odd Numbers, Local 506

Get in on the ground floor with some of the area’s busiest MCs. L.E.G.A.C.Y. turned noggins when he appeared on Little Brother’s The Listening and continued with his dark rhymes on his own Project Mayhem last year. Ditto for L in Japanese and the collective Common Ground, who are keeping hip hop vibrant in Chapel Hill with bright production and cantankerous raps. Hosted by Phonetic. $6/10 p.m. –CT

Carolina Music Festival, Koka Booth Amphitheatre

This two-day festival begins today and continues into tomorrow and augments genres that get neglected in the typical amphitheatre season, bringing legitimate soul, beach music and jazz stars to the area. Among the marquee heavyweights are Kem, Musiq Soulchild, Dwele, Kirk Whalum and The Hidden Beach All-Stars featuring saxophone wailer Mike Phillips. It’s nice to have a lineup that strong finally visit the area. Try and help get it back again next year. $39-$64/2 p.m. –GC

Far Too Jones, Glorydive, Lincoln Theatre

Far Too Jones hung it up after a March 9, 2002 show at the Lincoln Theatre, but they’re taking the acoustic-driven power pop back off the rack for this reunion show. The group seemed like a shoe-in for national success when its 1997 EP Plastic Hero landed it a deal with Mammoth. “As Good As You” made regional radio noise and was one of the last local tracks G105 broke before settling into its current trend-heeding doldrums, but the troubles of their label and the continuing syndication of the record industry stifled their chances. They didn’t beleaguer a dying horse, but they’re waving hello once again: See them with Glorydive, the new band from longtime Triangle songwriter Taylor Roberts. $12-$15/9 p.m. –GC

Strange, Creve Coeur, TV Knife, Kings

Raleigh’s Strange have a knack for lining up unsettling moments and then calling it a day. Call it hidden hook revisionist-rock that goes down like medicine–in big, uncomfortable gulps. Meanwhile, their bill-sharing brethren in TV Knife approximate what happens when the medicine runs out and rock songs go a bit coo-coo–teetering then tottering then diving over the ledge. –RM

Work Clothes, *Sons, Un Deux Trois, Wetlands

People move to town, meet each other and start bands: Work Clothes is Jenny and Lee Waters, who began dating after hating each other for years. Now, they’re married, have a full band and some of the most eloquent, endearing songs in the land. Un Deux Trois started rocking after working together in a record store, taking short breaks from other bands (In the Year of the Pig, Bellafea, Horseback) to write road-wide-open gems. *SONS, which features former Suntan member Scott Endres, is a convocation of club and coffee-shop connections, and its neu-gaze expanse is promising. $6/ 9 p.m. –GC

Sunday, August 27

Smoking Popes, Cat’s Cradle

“Need You Around” remains one of the most shaggy-dog lovable oddities from the mid-’90s. Atop a hooky racket that represented the point where power pop clamored toward punk pop, there hovered what can accurately be called a croon. (And calling its recordmate “Rubella” catchy is just too easy.) The band broke up three years later, but a successful reunion show last summer has gotten them back on the road. Criteria and J Page open. $10, $12/9:15 p.m. –RC