The best rock picks, May 16

Posted by David Menconi on May 15, 2014 

2014 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival - Day 5

Alejandro Escovedo plays for free at Artsplosure in downtown Raleigh on Sunday.


  • Other highlights

    • This weekend is the Instro Summit, Friday through Sunday at Durham’s Motorco Music Hall, with instrumental acts including Vivisectors, Killer Filler, Dom Casual and others (see for more).

    • Saturday brings the great and powerful George Clinton with Parliament Funkadelic to Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater. Megafaun’s Joe Westerlund shows off his deeply eccentric solo album “Grandma Sparrow & his Piddletractor Orchestra” (Spacebomb Records) Saturday and Sunday at Durham’s Pinhook. On Sunday, Georgia’s own Of Montreal plays Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle while Deer Tick is at Saxapahaw’s Haw River Ballroom with Langhorne Slim.

    • Titus Andronicus invades Chapel Hill’s Local 506 on Tuesday, and mellow vibes prevail Wednesday at Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre with Jack Johnson.

“It’s the singer not the song that makes the music move along,” as Roger Daltrey once sang in The Who’s “Join Together.” In the case of Alejandro Escovedo, it can be hard to tell where the singer ends and the song begins. Over the past four decades, the great Texas country-soul punk has crafted an amazing body of work, rendering small moments on an epic scale. And even when an Escovedo song doesn’t seem to be “about” him, his performance always lays his soul bare. Good as Escovedo’s records are, however, live onstage is his best medium – and lucky us, he’s playing in the Triangle this weekend FOR FREE. Escovedo will be the Sunday headliner at Artsplosure in downtown Raleigh’s Moore Square, with his set scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Tift Merritt is Saturday’s headliner, with London Souls, Johnny A., Hazelwood and others also on the bill. See for details.

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