As I Lay Dying and Fair to Midland at the Canal ClubWhile the San Diego metal-core band As I Lay Dying had a big year in 2005 (Ozzfest, Revolver magazine accolades, alternative press nods), and while it's heading out on the Warped Tour in August, the band to see Wednesday, May 9, might be Fair to Midland. This five-piece art-rock group from Sulphur Springs, Texas, had its latest album produced by Serj Tankian, high-wire front man for System of a Down. And Midland definitely has the Tankian stamp of weirdness: high, fluttery vocals, meditative guitar, sudden frenzied bursts of metal. While it might sometimes sound a little too close to System of a Down, it doesn't sound like anybody else. Midland plays with August Burns Red. Doors at 6:30 p.m. $15. 643-2582.
John Németh at Shenanigans PubJohn Németh plays a distilled kind of blues, the kind that got all mixed up with rock half a century ago. Maybe it's his voice, a retro-lounge wail that, combined with his harmonica and some handy guitar work by Junior Watson, brings the blues purists out in droves. For those on the fringes of the genre, Németh will connect the dots all the way back to Nat King Cole, Otis Redding and B.B. King. He plays with The Junior Watson Blues Band Wednesday, May 9, at 8 p.m. $10. 264-5010.
More Light in the Attic at Café GutenbergThe monthly music series at the bookstore in the Bottom continues with Ki: Theory (push-button pop that has an excellent sort of indie Gorillaz feel to it), ILAD (delicate pieces that run between jazz and down-tempo rock) and your host, The OK Bird (pop and beyond). While they come from pretty different places, these three bands really complement one another which may be the greatest strength of this series. The show is Sunday, May 13, 8-11 p.m. Free. 497-5000.
The Wiyos at Ashland Coffee & TeaIf enough people play old-time music the ragtime, swing and jugband blues of yesteryear at what point does it stop being "old-time" and start being something perverse, like "new-time"? It's already happened with "newgrass," remember. Bands such as Brooklyn's Wiyos keep that flame burning clean by being revivalists rather than recyclers. The Wiyos play knee-slappin' jugband music, blowing harmonicas and rattling washboards, but they manage to create something new with it, rather than building a museum around the sound. They play Ashland with Teddy Webber Thursday, May 10, at 8 p.m. $10. 798-1702.
Pokey Lafarge at A Cappella's PubFour reasons to see Pokey Lafarge Tuesday, May 15, at about 9 p.m.:
1. Good blues guitarist. Sort of a one-man Squirrel Nut Zippers.
2. Playing with members of Special Ed and the Shortbus.
3. A Cappella's is an underappreciated pub, a warm lo-fi speakeasy.
4. So you can see him again Thursday, May 17, at Cary Street Café with the Shortbus.