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Jan. 11 | 7:30 p.m. | The Underground | $25
A self-described “hippie with soul,” Alan Stone has only made minor tweaks in his sound since his self-titled debut album cracked the Top 40 of Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart in 2011. That accomplishment was all the more remarkable because Stone crafted ridiculously engaging tunes by remaining resolutely rooted in the past. His grainy, unvarnished vocals and uplifting gospel-rooted melodies draw on the vintage soul and R&B of Al Green, Bill Withers and George Clinton, with a soupcon of Prince thrown into the mix. His latest album, 2021’s APART, features acoustic versions of his past triumphs.
Jan. 12 | 7 p.m. | Gantt Center | Free
To coincide with the Visual Vanguard exhibition, which examines 25 contemporary Black Carolina artists who create in a variety of vibrant and versatile media, this edition of Wednesday Night Live celebrates the power, passion and allure of the spoken word. Featured artist de’Angelo Dia, acclaimed as a poet, theologian, doctoral candidate at Union Presbyterian Seminary and self-described comic book scholar, joins fellow poets and spoken-word masters Angelo Geter and Cedric Tillman to share reflections on the year 2021, along with works that embody a connection to the exhibit.
Jan. 14 | 8 p.m. | Tommy’s Pub | Free
Forming and fronting the bands Fetchin’ Bones, Sugarsmack, Snagglepuss and, currently, It’s Snakes, Hope Nicholls is a musical treasure. Fetchin’ Bones has been filed with the likes of Pylon, R.E.M., and the dBs, yet were unlike anything else on the American music scene. Grunge before Nirvana, riot grrrl before Bikini Kill, Nicholls’ band kept faith with the primal blues rock of Janis Joplin. It’s Snakes follows in that tradition, bringing punk attitude and Nicholls’ earthy vocals to the party, joined in this celebration by Space Daddy and the Galactic Go-Gos, Kadey Ballard, and Them Pants.
Jan. 15 | 7 p.m. | The Milestone | $60
Early in its career, Savannah DIY metal band Baroness was filed away in the doom metal category, but maybe — like presumed metalheads Opeth and Ghost — they’ve just been closet prog rockers all along. The band, which seemed to rise from the dead in 2012 when a horrific bus crash prompted two members to leave, continues to rely on a whiplash-inducing mix of styles tied together with thundering percussion, but the music has gotten more complex, melodic and prog. Their 2019 release Gold & Grey summons comparisons to such disparate influences as King Crimson, The Cure and Killing Joke.
Jan. 17 | 9 p.m. | Online | Free
The Gantt Center celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a full day of programming that includes an interactive dance performance, a written dreams workshop hosted by Boris “Bluz” Rogers, panel discussions featuring icons of Charlotte history such as Dorothy Counts-Scoggins and contemporary activists like Kass Ottley, theatrical readings of Dr. King’s epic speeches, film screenings, live music and other interactive programs. [UPDATE: This event has been repurposed to be fully virtual.]
Jan. 19 | 8 p.m. | VisArt Video | $10 donation
A psychedelic masterpiece of world animation, Marcell Jankovics’ Son of the White Mare sits amid the august company of Yellow Submarine and René Laloux’s Fantastic Planet. A 1981 Hungarian production, Son of the White Mare pits three brothers, spawned from a horse goddess, against three evil dragons in a quest to rescue three princesses while also reclaiming their ancestral kingdom. The quest is set among a maelstrom of motion and vivid color. Jankovics’ labor of love has been a holy grail for film buffs, often talked about but seldom seen — until now.
Jan. 20-22 | 7:30 p.m. & 8 p.m. | Booth Playhouse | $10 and up
In a cloud of smoke, the train flies through the air above the stage as aerialists and acrobats depicting the train’s passengers and moving parts defy gravity. For Charlotte circus arts ensemble Nouveau Sud the train is La Bestia — or “The Beast,” which can offer an avenue toward a new life or kill you outright. La Bestia is a contemporary circus show about the immigrant journey from Latin America to the US. The harrowing yet eerily beautiful journey treks through near-psychedelic scenes that capture the heart of the landscape and its culture.
Jan. 20 | 7:30 p.m. | Online | Free
What would it be like to live in someone else’s 70-year-old-dream of the future? A concrete Utopia designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer and urbanist Lucio Costa, the city of Brasilia sprang from the desert sands in the 1950s, along with the rebirth of Brazil’s democracy. Director Bart Simpson traces the history of this visionary — and perhaps naive — planned metropolis, but the bulk of the 2017 documentary traces the lives of people living in Brasilia today. The city now serves as a backdrop to people’s feelings of isolation and their changing values.
Jan. 22 | 11 a.m. | Knight Theater | $40-$66
CSO’s homage to film composer John Williams is a strategy to teach the little ones about the different sections of the orchestra through “The Boy Who Lived.” The idea is to rope the youngsters into classical music appreciation though Hufflepuffs, Hagrid and Quidditch. A contemporary refinement of Benjamin Brittan’s 1945 classic The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, the original “classical for kids” composition, designed to teach children the tone colors and capacities of the various sections of the orchestra. William’s chock-full-of-leitmotifs score should do the trick.
Jan. 22 | 8 p.m. | Visulite Theatre | $20-$25
“Talking to the wallpaper/Wandering the halls/I burned a lot of bridges/And I dropped a lot of balls/It’s wonder I can go back to any place I’ve been,” James McMurtry sings in his hazy single-malt baritone on “If It Don’t Bleed” off his latest album The Horses and The Hounds. The lyrics are peak McMurtry: plain-spoken poetry of a chaotic life that defies understanding, but may be ready for acceptance. Like his father, Texas novelist Larry McMurtry, this singer-songwriter excels at telling humorous stories of hardscrabble lives, but this isn’t ruminative music. It’s ballsy rock ‘n’ roll.