On the Beat

Rock Picks, April 17: ’Cuegrass Festival in downtown Raleigh

The Hillbenders and other bluegrass acts will perform at Saturday’s ’Cuegrass Festival in downtown Raleigh.
The Hillbenders and other bluegrass acts will perform at Saturday’s ’Cuegrass Festival in downtown Raleigh. The Hillbenders

It’s a Who kind of week, although not necessarily in the way you’d expect. You’ll find evidence of the iconic British classic-rock band at Saturday’s seventh annual ’Cuegrass Festival in downtown Raleigh, where the schedule includes the HillBenders – a Missouri band that does an astonishingly good bluegrass version of the 1969 rock opera “Tommy.” While the HillBenders’ Raleigh show won’t be the complete “Tommy” performance, it will feature a few of those songs. Town Mountain, Moore Brothers and Hank Sinatra are among the other acts on the bill, admission is just $5 and details are at cuegrass.com.

Then on Tuesday, haul yourself on over to Raleigh’s PNC Arena to see The Who itself on the band’s 50-year-anniversary tour. Newly minted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joan Jett opens at 7:30 p.m. and tickets range from $39.50 to $139.50. See thepncarena.com for details.

Other highlights

▪ Well-traveled cellist Josh Starmer (The Old Ceremony, Bombadil, Rosebuds and more) unveils his own new album “Germany Zulu” at The Cave in Chapel Hill Friday, the same night Hiss Golden Messenger and Natalie Prass play Saxapahaw’s Haw River Ballroom.

▪ Saturday brings A.C.M.E., the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, to Durham’s Motorco Music Hall for a performance of chamber music composed by North Carolina native and Pulitzer winner Caroline Shaw, and also the venerable blues combo Hot Tuna to Durham’s Carolina Theatre.

▪ Joan Armatrading’s farewell tour comes to the Carolina on Sunday. Also Sunday, see Raleigh rockers the Bleeding Hearts play a set of songs by the band they were born to cover – KISS! Kiss, I tell you!! – at a leukemia benefit for the family of Jolie Helmick at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre.

▪ Wednesday is action-packed with Ben Folds and yMusic at Duke’s Baldwin Auditorium, Sleater-Kinney’s reunion tour at the Ritz in Raleigh and Guster at the Lincoln. And two superb songwriters, Jimmy Webb and Karla Bonoff play the Carolina on Thursday.

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