Das Racist is certainly the buzz act of the week, and while tickets for the art-rap trio's appearance at White Rabbit are sold out online, there's a chance a few more will be made available at the door. But we'll emphasize that roots fans really ought to get out of the house this weekend, not only to see The Wood Brothers, the enormously talented trio made up of two brothers Wood (bassist Chris and guitarist Oliver) with a drummer to keep things in line, but also for Sunday's double-header, which starts mid-afternoon in Noblesville with the Third Man Records act Pokey LaFarge and ends with the Old 97s gig at The Vogue. But you can make your own itinerary. Here are a few suggestions:
Brothers Chris and Oliver Wood worked as professional musicians for about 15 years before they found their way to working together. The two went on different paths when they came of age: Oliver left their home state of Colorado for Atlanta, where he came to front the blues-rock band King Johnson, and Chris fell into the avant-garde jazz scene of Manhattan and Brooklyn, eventually becoming part of the organ-led trio Medeski, Martin and Wood. But about five years ago, their parallel paths intersected (geometrically impossible, we know), and they began shaping a sound that blends rock, folk, country, blues, funk, soul, gospel and engaging wordplay. Scott Hall's profile tells the rest of the story. 8 p.m., $15, 21+.
To be sure, not everything released on Asthmatic Kitty Records is produced by Sufjan Stevens, who co-founded the label. But Stevens did play a huge part in putting together debut releases by local singer-songwriter Liz Janes and husband-and-wife gospel duo The Welcome Wagon, and in incorporating those artists’ bedroom and family room recordings into dense, often-playful, chamber-pop arrangements. Led by a Presbyterian minister and his wife, The Welcome Wagon sings sacred music from across the generations, including Old Testament psalms set to music, Protestant hymns and more recent material, such as a surprisingly soulful take on Danielson’s “Sold! To the Nice Rich Man.” Janes will perform an opening solo set and lead a local choir that will accompany The Welcome Wagon. 7 p.m., $10 door, all ages.
Josh Homme has a remarkable ability to balance several projects at once (including bands, film scores, solo projects), but his stoner rock band Queens of the Stone Age still took something of a break after the release of 2007’s Era Vulgaris so that Homme could team up with former Queen Dave Grohl and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones to form the super-group Them Crooked Vultures. This year his interests lead him back to the Queens, who are rehearsing a new album that Homme called a “trancey, broken thing” when he recently spoke with The Guardian. 8 p.m., sold out, 21+.
Celebrate that big old melting pot (and give back to your community) by heading out this weekend to Culture Shock, presented by Spitting Llama Productions in conjunction with the Latino Youth Collective (LYC) and the Cultural Cannibals. Several kickin' bands are set to perform, including DJ Kyle Long, La Republica, hip-hop trio Beaner Threat and local Ethiopian dance group Growing as a Second Generation. All proceeds will go towards a scholarship for an immigrant student picked by LYC. 7 p.m., $10 donation (culturalcannibals.com), 21+.
Big Car gets into the record business this week with the release of an LP by local, art-rock four-piece Beat Debris in a limited edition of 300, each with a unique album cover designed by a local artist. Band members have been hanging around Big Car for years — Tom Burris, who started Beat Debris as a solo project in 1992, revived his group in 2007 with a performance at Big Car’s Murphy Art Center space, and the group’s current drummer Jessica Halverson started playing with Burris at the behest of Big Car executive director Jim Walker. With a bunch of Big Car regulars, including the zither-led folk rock outfit Accordions, saccharine-sweet pop band Amo Joy and Fountain Square garage rockers Vacation Club. 8 p.m., free, all ages.
The guys in Brooklyn hip-hop trio Das Racist aren’t afraid to speak their mind. Take the title track to their 2010 album, "Sit Down, Man," which sees one of the group's emcees, Ashok Kondabolu, calling out cultural and political figures — Robert Mugabe, Carlos Mencia, Glenn Beck, Toby Keith, Rand Paul — that he'd like to see disappear from the nation's consciousness. Or "Fake Patois," which chastises non-Jamaican artists such as Jay-Z, Miss Cleo and Jim Carrey who have performed with a stereotyped, Jamaican accent. But they can also party: Witness the pot-infused silliness of “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” which nicely captures the absurdity of our strip-malled landscape. Danielle Look spoke with Das Racist's Victor Vazquez earlier this week, asking him about his group's latest record and how politics informs his work. 9 p.m., sold out, 21+.
Junk Box Mike, the local singer-songwriter and sometimes host of the Open Mic at Corner Wine Bar, rounded together an all-star group of local roots musicians to play on his latest album, "From My Recliner," including three Spudpuppies (Gary Wasson, John Gilmore, Delmar Lincoln) and John Martin, once of Sindacato. He’ll debut the results Saturday with the help of all of those collaborators, as well as a whole gaggle of guest stars (John Bowyer of the Cousin Brothers, Cara Jean Wahlers) and openers (notably, another open mic host, Jethro Easyfields). 7:30 p.m., $5, 21+.
Blues and jam guitarist Max Allen is coming off a big win: He and his band knocked off a few other acts in the local edition of Hard Rock Café’s Battle of the Bands, which put them in the running to perform at this summer’s Hard Rock Calling festival in London’s Hyde Park. To get to London, they’ll first need to get the go-ahead from a group of industry professionals (who will winnow a current group of 14 finalists down to 10), and then to win an online competition voted on by the general public. The band debuts a new live record Saturday at the ‘Trap, and is at work on a studio album, "Everyone Thinks You’re Weird," due this summer. Rob Nichols caught up with Allen just after his win, logging this entry in his roots-rock blog. 10:30 p.m., $3, 21+.
On March 15, Third Man Records put out two singles on its Blue Series, one by locals We Are Hex, the other by Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three, a St. Louis-based country swing outfit. With LaFarge’s twangy, sharp, wry voice leading the way, the group recorded “Pack It Up” and “Chitlin Cookin’ Time in Cheatham County” for Jack White, and will bring the results to Noblesville’s Noble Coffee and Tea, which serves as a sort of concert space for that town’s Blue Stone Folk School, an outfit devoted to keeping alive the kind of traditional music so dear to LaFarge and his cohorts. 2 p.m., $15, all ages.
The Old 97s are on the road behind October 2010's The Grand Theatre, Vol. 1, which, despite the title, is not actually a live album: The Dallas-based group rehearsed for recording sessions at their hometown’s Sons of Hermann Hall, but actually laid down tracks at Austin’s Texas Treefort Studio, meaning that a Grand Theatre was never involved. Still, the record sounds more energetic, loose and lively than the stalwart, alt-country band’s recent efforts, which may have suffered because lead singer Rhett Miller has been splitting time between his long-lived full band and his solo career. Miller’s boldest move on the record is his reworking of Dylan's "Desolation Row" as "Champaign, Illinois" ("Oh then if you die fearin' God and painfully employed / No, you will not go to Heaven / You'll go to Champaign, Illinois"). 8 p.m., $18 door (plus applicable fees), $20 door, 21+.
An over-the-top dance-rock band with a hit-and-miss sense of humor, the Detroit-based sextet Electric Six has been playing the region for the better part of the decade, making it to the UK charts in 2003 with a hit, “Danger! High Voltage,” that was rumored to feature vocals by then-neighbor Jack White, and mining the same glam-rock-from-a-Detroit-garage vein ever since, with less commercial success but plenty of inspired moments, including “Clusterfuck,” from 2010’s Zodiac, which opens with the convincingly crooned lines, “In the writings of the Druids / Lies a recipe for Druid fluid / Sounds like a most refreshing drink to me.” 8 p.m., $12 (plus applicable fees), 21+.