Upcoming Concert Reviews of The Apparitions, The Derek Trucks Band and More...

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The Apparitions with SundayRunners and The Turnbull ACs

Thursday · alchemize

Long distance relationships are tough, especially for up-and-coming Rock bands. Yet Lexington five-piece The Apparitions have survived key songwriter Mark Heidinger's move to Washington, and even benefited from the potential setback of using D.C. as a secondary base for touring. The double hometown is just one of many dualities for the band, which also include Heidinger's vocal partnership with bassist Robbie Roberts and the band's stylistic restlessness. With one foot in Roots-inspired Power Pop and the other in apocalyptic Post Rock, they blend wall-of-sound, triple-guitar intensity with jangly dynamics and interesting melodic forms. The Apparitions debuted with the release of Oxygen Think Tank in 2003. That same year saw Heidinger's relocation and the incorporation of powerhouse drummer Robby Cosenza. Their tireless touring support of the album led to Chicago's Machine Records taking notice and offering them a spot on the full-service label's roster. Their first effort for Machine is the 10-song, style-hopping romp, As This Is Futuristic, on which they establish their refreshingly unique style. The opening track, "Electricity + Drums," is whimsical but driving, with an Americana tinge, the kind of music a Matthew Sweet-fronted Ass Ponys might make. By contrast, "Arrythmia" and "You Chirp Just Like Little Sparrows" are creepy musical explorations that sound like someone succeeded in combining Wilco and System of a Down.

Their lyrics are always engrossing, a collection of brilliant phrase turns on offbeat topics, which is a suitable parallel to their musical adventurousness. The Apparitions have been though Cincinnati several times, playing the MidPoint Music Festival repeatedly and also sharing bills with a diverse list of local acts, reinforcing the fact that their sound is flexible enough to fit in anywhere on the dial. This show will serve as a CD release party, and they're bringing with them labelmates SundayRunners, another of the best acts from MPMF. (Ezra Waller)

The Derek Trucks Band with Grace Potter and The Nocturnals

Friday · Bogart's

With the constant travel that Derek Trucks endures for the sake of music — he leads his own band and is a permanent member of the Allman Brothers — it's not much of a stretch to see how he could make a connection between the physical journey that is required and the emotional journey that is inherent in making his art. This is the philosophical heart of Songlines, his latest album. Songlines takes its title from the Bruce Chatwin book, which describes the Aboriginal creation story wherein the culture's elders wandered the Australian continent, singing the world into existence. Perhaps the most important review of Songlines comes from Trucks himself, who is audibly ecstatic.

"This is the first record I've ever done that I've actually been excited about after listening to it a few times," Trucks says. "Usually you feel good leaving the studio and then a month passes and you listen to the record and you think of ways you would have done it differently."

Although Trucks' style is rooted in the Blues, his work in general and the sound of Songlines in particular incorporates whatever he feels is relevant at the time, including Rock, Jazz, Latin and World music. Songlines' two covers are incendiary readings of Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Volunteered Slavery" and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's "Sahib Teri Bandi/Maki Madni," a range indicative of Trucks' personal interests and professional desires, all of which he feels were realized with Songlines. (Brian Baker)

BR549 with The Avett Brothers

Friday · Southgate House

To classify the past three years of BR549's existence as tumultuous would be textbook understatement, and yet the Country/Roots band's upheaval is not evident on their latest album, Dog Days. After losing bassist Jay McDowell and co-founder Gary Bennett in 2002, the Nashville band's remaining members (guitarist/lead vocalist Chuck Mead, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Don Herron, drummer/vocalist Shaw Wilson) forged ahead with bassist Geoff Firebaugh and guitarist Chris Scruggs.

"When Jay and Gary left, it ceased being one thing and started being another thing," says co-founder Mead. "We felt like we'd done enough that we wanted to continue. I've worked long and hard not to have to work long and hard."

The new aggregation was painfully short-lived. After 2004's Tangled in the Pines, Firebaugh and Scruggs exited. Ultimately, the band elected to add only bassist Mark Miller. Just as BR549 was preparing for their seventh album, fate intervened with a job opportunity for Herron as multi-instrumentalist for Bob Dylan's 2005 tour. Upon Herron's return, Mead had finished a number of songs and they picked up on Dog Days, with BR549 committed to remaining a quartet.

"We'd been talking for a long time about doing something a lot more stripped down and less like what we usually do," says Mead. "You always want to do something a little bit different and keep it interesting for everyone involved. So we didn't really set out to do anything different, we just felt like doing something different and it came out different." (BB)

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