Tim Barry and Smoke or Fire at Alley KatzYou could say Smoke or Fire was slumming when the post-punk foursome moved down here from fancy old Boston and refined their sound, drawing off influences like Avail to come up with the aggressive but intricate songs from their 2005 debut, "Above the City." After they got their stiff dose of Southern culture, they headed back to Boston (and a 50-state tour), where the forthcoming second album, "This Sinking Ship," softens the punk teeth-gritting with sing-along pop anthems. They're touring with Tim Barry, an influence from the RVA days, whose loyalty to this town is evident in his songwriting, citing streets and neighborhoods with the brokenhearted wisdom of Tom Waits reading freight-train timetables. His is the history of music in Richmond, and it'll be interesting to see him touring, all acoustic, with one of the bands he helped shape. They play Thursday, April 5, with Fifth Hour Hero, Landmines and The Riot Before, 6-10 p.m. $10. 643-2816.
Wayne "The Train" Hancock at Shenanigans
Here's the guy behind the guy, the "king of juke joint swing" or, in his own words, "the stab wound in the fabric of country music." He's helped give Hank III his voice, at least a bunch of his songs. He's that independent creature, the one informing the sound of country these days, swerving below a lot of radars. But it's him that a lot of folks sound like now, and in his latest album, "Tulsa," he's taking it back to Western swing pioneer Bob Wills, crafting these delicate steel-guitar-driven minor symphonies. Some people play a genre, some define it. Wayne comes to Richmond Sunday, April 8, at 6:30 p.m. $10. 264-5010.