Ludacris at Siegel Center
Atlanta native Ludicris brought the dirty South sound to hip-hop mainstream with "I wanna li li li lick you from your head to your toes," but he did it with a wink of the eye that other too-hard rappers lack. His speedy lyrics and goofy wit make fun of hip-hop's excessive culture while enjoying it. He did so well on the charts, he's moved into acting, last year appearing in Oscar-winners "Crash" and "Hustle & Flow." Luda rolls into VCU's Siegel Center April 2 at 7 p.m. $60. 262-8100.
Jason Ringenberg at Mio's
By night, he's Jason Ringenberg, cow-punk veteran wielding a six-string out of the alt-country mire of Nashville with 25 years of touring under his belt, including time served with country rock outfit Jason and the Scorchers. By day he's Farmer Jason, children's musician with such kid- and rooster-friendly favorites as "The Tractor Goes Chug Chug Chug," with a suspiciously alt-country wa-wa pedal as the train. Either way you slice it, it beats Raffi. Ringenberg plays with Jerry Joseph of the Jackmormons and Kevin Kinney at 9 p.m. $10. 288-1853.
Mix Master Mike at Canal Club
The New York turntablist secured his place in hip-hop by calling Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and scratching on his answering service, which led to a turn on the Beasties' 1997 album "Hello Nasty." He became their scratch expert and DJ after that. After receiving a lifetime achievement award from the International Turntablist Federation and putting out a few albums of his own, Mike has recently released "Bangzilla," a sort of turntables-destroy-Tokyo effort. Anyway, he's playing the Canal Club March 31 at 8:30 p.m. Free. 643-2582.
Gongzilla at Cary Street Café
In keeping with a general "-zilla" theme, Gongzilla's approach would be sitting down with Tokyo, eating Cheetos and talking about how cool cherry blossoms are. It's a very mellow monster, with one giant foot in jazzy improvisation and the other in an almost delicate atmospheric rock that, unlike a lot of jam bands, moves steadily forward. Gongzilla plays with The Grove, April 4 at 10 p.m. $5. 353-7445.
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness at Nanci Raygun
Could you guess that these guys know
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead? Austin's bands are swarming the nation with novella-length names. But in the case of this band, the name fits, all loss and sad melodies played out over a few long chords. The new album, "Fear Is on Our Side," threatens to tip into the maudlin, but some agile production work by Paul Barker of Ministry keeps things focused, with some industrial-strength percussion. The band (see name above) plays the Raygun with Haram and Now Sleepyhead, April 1 at 10 p.m. $7. 353-4263.