On the Beat

Rock Picks: Benji Hughes plays free show at Motorco in Durham

Benji Hughes’ new album “Songs in the Key of Animals” is full of luscious and quirky popcraft, plus lots of disturbing little details. He’ll play it live Saturday night in a free show at Motorco Music Hall in Durham.
Benji Hughes’ new album “Songs in the Key of Animals” is full of luscious and quirky popcraft, plus lots of disturbing little details. He’ll play it live Saturday night in a free show at Motorco Music Hall in Durham.

Charlotte’s Benji Hughes gets likened to Beck quite a bit, and for the most part it’s a fair comparison. Except that Hughes has far more of a dark edge. His new album “Songs in the Key of Animals” (Merge Records) is full of luscious and quirky popcraft, plus lots of disturbing little details – like the female screams during “Shark Attack!!!!!!!!!!,” which could almost be mistaken for what you’d hear on an amusement-park rollercoaster. Dude is one freaky soul brother, as listenable as he is twisted. Hughes will play it live Saturday night in a free show at Motorco Music Hall in Durham.

Doors open at 8 p.m. See motorcomusic.com for details.

Other highlights

  • Local country supergroup Tonk shows off its quite-fine new album “Second Nature” (Future Standards Records) Friday at Kings, and maybe they can be persuaded to do the album’s hidden closing bonus track – the old “Tonight Let It Be Lowenbrau” beer commercial. Also Friday, the spectral singer/songwriter M. Ward is at Saxapahaw’s Haw River Ballroom.
  • Saturday brings Roomful of Teeth to Baldwin Auditorium for a Duke Performances show, local emcee SkyBlew to Chapel Hill’s Local 506, San Francisco’s art-rock troupe The Residents’ sublimely weird “Shadowland” to Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle, Jason Adamo playing a benefit for young cancer patient Lauren Cherry at Raleigh’s Greenway Club and Jason Isbell opening for Widespread Panic at Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Amphitheater.
  • Also on the outdoor front, N.C. Museum of Art’s concert season opens with Snarky Puppy on Sunday, the same night San Francisco’s Vetiver plays the Cradle Back Room.
  • Monday brings Citizen Cope playing solo acoustic at the Cradle, and the very much plugged-in Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires playing Neptunes downstairs from Kings.
  • Beyonce’s Formation World Tour comes to Raleigh’s Carter-Finley Stadium Tuesday (the first show there since the Rolling Stones last July), the same night Chris Isaak is at Durham’s Carolina Theatre and Wild Belle at Motorco.
  • And Wednesday is crazy-busy — reggae icon Bunny Wailer at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre, rockin’ country scion Shooter Jennings at Motorco and the very fine Americana singer/songwriter Kim Richey at the Cradle Back Room.
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