Yo La Tengo has always been one of the most reliable high-volume dealers in the indie-rock world, specializing in deafening electric-guitar freakouts most of the time. But the band has a softer side, too, going back to its anomalous 1990 semi-acoustic album “Fakebook.” Marking that album’s quarter-century anniversary, Yo La Tengo is unplugging long enough to do an actual acoustic tour that plays Saturday at Durham’s Carolina Theatre.
Otherwise, freebie festivals rule this weekend. The 18th annual Carrboro Music Festival is a two-day event now, Saturday and Sunday, at 25 venues all over town (see carrboromusicfestival.com for details). The 11th annual Capital City Bikefest has bands on two stages in downtown Raleigh (capitalcitybikefest.com). And this weekend’s free “Live & Local: Bluegrass 2015” festivities will preview next week’s World of Bluegrass with Shady Grove Band and Damascus Ridge at Raleigh Little Theatre’s outdoor amphitheater on Saturday, followed by Grass Cats, Lonesome River Band and others Sunday at Compiegne Park just off Hillsborough Street (hillsboroughstreet.org/bluegrass2015).
- Friday brings Los Angeles folk-rockers Dawes to Raleigh’s N.C. Museum of Art, Tim Easton to Cary Theater for a 6 String Cafe show, garage-rock journeyman Mike Krol to Cat’s Cradle’s Back Room, Carolina Chocolate Drops chanteuse Rhiannon Giddens to Duke’s Page Auditorium and freak-rock weirdo Gene Ween to Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre.
- Saturday, Randall Bramblett plays Raleigh’s Southland Ballroom.
- Sunday brings Calexico to Saxapahaw’s Haw River Ballroom, while Anthony Neff shows off his new “Blood Beneath the Sun” album at Raleigh’s Pour House with Chip Robinson opening.
- And underground pop master Mikal Cronin opens for Father John Misty Tuesday at Raleigh’s Ritz.