We don't want to exclude sold-out shows from this weekend's list of recommended concerts — it's worth making the drive and paying for a scalped ticket to see Lucinda Williams, after all, and you might be able to sneak into a nook or cranny of The Jazz Kitchen to see Jeremy Siskind close out the APA's Jazz Premiere series. But there are plenty of tickets available for other fine shows, including the Asylum Street Spankers' last concert in Indianapolis (assuming this is truly the band's farewell tour, as they've told us) and, just across the street, the Cash Bash, where Mandy Marie Luke will play her first gig since skipping town last fall.
Cello is the new guitar. And let it now be noted that the Cambridge-based Lindsay Mac helped forge the way by demonstrating that it can be a viable instrument for a solo singer-songwriter. About nine years ago, Lindsay ditched her bow and strapped the cello to her body, with a guitar strap wrapped around the cello’s fingerboard. The Boom Booms are Meghan Toohey, Mona Tavakoli, and Dev Ray, whose collective credits include performing with The Weepies and Jason Mraz. Read Paul Pogue's review of Lindsay Mac's 2006 performance at Indy Hostel. 8 p.m., $10 advance (at segmentofsociety.com), $12 door, 21+.
The members of Beta Male are not known for their restraint. They have a reputation for one-upping themselves with every show, whether with near-naked hula-hooping or creative costumes (including latex unitards, Underoos and, just for the hell of it, burqas). But they haven’t been known for their records. Maybe Friday’s release show for their debut full-length will change that. Read this week's cover story on Beta Male. 9 p.m., $10 (includes CD), 21+.
The guys in the Bowling Green, Ky.-born band Cage the Elephant relocated to London once they found that their alt-rock-inspired sound was finding plenty more success on that country's charts than in their homeland. The current tour is in the support of their second album, Thank You Happy Birthday, released earlier this year. Read Wade Coggeshall's 2009 profile of the band. 9 p.m., sold out, 21+.
The old story on Williams was that she spent way too much time on records. But she picked up her pace significantly during the ‘00s, and next month will see the release of her first new album of this decade, Blessed, just three years after her last one, Little Honey, appeared. It addresses some her same concerns — death, by illness (“Copenhagen,” about the sudden passing of her manager) or by suicide (“Seeing Black,” about singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt’s departure on Christmas Day 2009), and fractured relationships (album opener “Buttercup”). Read our 2009 profile of Williams. 8 p.m., sold out, all-ages.
Well now, there’s no beating this value: six bucks buys you six local bands at Birdy’s Saturday night. Well, it buys you the right to hear the bands; any transactions that occur in the champagne room or in the alley out back are really up to you and the band. Featuring They've Shot Flanigan, The Colourful, The Fallow, Glass Halo, Tug Fork River Band and Outer Sanctum. Hosted by Ricky Lee Potts. 7 p.m., $6, 21+.
Saturday night, the American Pianists Association holds the last concert in its Jazz Premiere series, part of a seven month-long competition to elect a new Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz. Four finalists have already performed in a trio setting before Jazz Kitchen crowds; Siskind, accompanied by bassist Frank Smith and drummer Kenny Phelps, will wind things up. The winner, to be determined this April, will receive a two-year fellowship worth $100,000, including $50,000 in cash. 8 p.m., sold out (limited seating at bar stools may be available), 21+.
After 17 years, the Asylum Street Spankers, the Austin-born, vaudeville-inspired ensemble, have come to the end of the road. And they’re going out in style with the “Spanks for Everything” tour. The group built up a decent following locally partly as a result of airplay on the Bob & Tom Show, which still has the Spankers’ “Scrotum Song” in heavy rotation. Read this week's profile on the band. 8 p.m., $20 advance, $25 door, 21+.
Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes, who went on hiatus last year when bandleader Mandy Marie Luke moved to Austin, will reunite for the Cash Bash, an annual celebration of all things Johnny Cash held at Indy’s home for all things rockabilly, Radio Radio. 9 p.m., $10 advance (brownpapertickets.com), $12 door, 21+.