Life After the Dead at the Capital Ale House
Grab your patchouli. The sole female vocalist of the Grateful Dead is back with her long white hair, red sunglasses and electric neon voice. Donna Jean Godchaux MacKay has sung with Elvis, Percy Sledge and Boz Scaggs, but is best known for the decade she spent touring with the Dead. Imagine your grandparents and parents in a jam band playing seven-minute psychedelic songs. OK, now imagine them with talent and experience, and you've got Donna Jean and the Tricksters. All seven members sing and write songs together, just like the real hippies do it. Come out and beat your bongos on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 9 p.m. $10. 780-ALES. Elizabeth Kincaid
The Blind Boys of Alabama at Toad's Place
It's said that with the senses, what is lacking in one is compensated for in another. If this is true, the Grammy-winning Blind Boys of Alabama have certainly been gifted with sound. In its 60-plus years, the group that began as gospel singers at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939 has transcended genres, working with artists from George Clinton to Ben Harper and covering songs from Prince, Fatboy Slim and Bob Dylan. Founding members Clarence Fountain and Jimmy Carter, along with the new generation, further expand the limits of gospel and soul at Toad's Place Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 8:30 p.m. for the Go Tell It on the Mountain tour. $22.50-$25. Call (800) 514-ETIX or visit www.toadsplacerva.com. Maree Morris
Steve Byrne crashes the Funny Bone
Steve Byrne isn't just a comedian; he's a professional wedding crasher. He stars on the NBC reality show inspired by the hit film, in which he and his cohorts disturb wedding festivities with hilarious interruptions, like low-flying helicopters. While Byrne's bio claims he was found in a South Dakota forest and reared by a teenage Angelina Jolie, he was actually born in Pittsburgh and raised by a Korean mother and Irish father. In addition to what we'll call his "work" in reality television, Byrne has also appeared on "Chappelle's Show," "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and BET's "Comic View." If you're planning to attend or star in a wedding, it might be a smart idea to get a good look at Steve Byrne at the Funny Bone, Nov. 23-25. $15-$17. 521-8900. Craig Belcher
The Big Payback at the Canal Club
As his children continue to squabble over his legacy and former wives angle for their share of the estate, The Soul Generals, James Brown's last band, appear to be missing in action. In the meantime, Richmond's The Big Payback has led the charge to keep Brown's music at the forefront. The seven-piece band formed a year before the godfather's death and continues to perform the songs of Mr. Please Please amid a renewed interest in his catalog. Each member also plays with another group, like opener Bungalo6, creating sounds that range from ragtime to folk-rock, but when they come together, it's all about the funk. The Mr. Dynamite tribute band plays Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 9 p.m. $8. 643-2582. C.B.