Based on the name, youd expect Margot & the Nuclear So and Sos to play house-shaking blues-rock with a horn section and a brassy, big-voiced woman singer. Improbably, this Indianapolis bands new album Sling Shot to Heaven (Mariel Recording Company) is mostly quiet, understated pop 13 tracks with hardly a raised voice, just murmured tones and exquisite, low-key popcraft. Theyll play it live Tuesday at Chapel Hills Local 506. Empires and Kate Myers are also on the bill, showtime is 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $12-$14. See local506.com for details.
• The Great Outdoors: Downtown Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater kicks off its 2014 season in earnest Friday with Cage the Elephant, Foals and J. Roddy Walston and the Business – all for free. Hall & Oates headline Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Saturday for the latest Band Together charity show, also featuring sacred-steel ace Robert Randolph and locals Jack the Radio. Also Saturday, Birds & Arrows and Morning Brigade highlight a free daylong show Saturday at Raleigh’s Gizmo Brew Works, and singer-songwriter John McCutcheon plays Bond Parks’ Sertoma Amphitheatre in Cary Saturday, also for free.
• Sidewinder plays Cary’s RallyPoint Grill Friday, a free show where they’re taking donations for Hope for Haiti Foundation and Dew4Him Ministries (see rockyourworldraleigh.com for details).; Also on the benefit tip, Saturday brings the Southern Durham Blues & Heritage Festival to the vicinity of Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse, with John Dee Holeman, Mel Melton and other top-shelf area blues acts.
• On Wednesday, young Minneapolis quartet Howler plays Local 506, surf-guitar godhead Dick Dale is at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre, Band of Skulls play Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle and Alice in Chains play Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium. Thursday, Dawes open for Bright Eyes main man Conor Oberst at Saxapahaw’s Haw River Ballroom.