Friday 8 p.m. Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. $18-$20. www.neighborhoodtheatre.com.
On the heels of his new album, “My Spirit Sister,” the critically acclaimed, Utah-based singer-songwriter returns to the road, leaving behind the family he sings about on new songs like “Millie” (about having a second child, a daughter). “Millie” leads off an album that – like his other five – remains true to James’ originality and musical eccentricities, which aren’t always easy to come by in the world of folk-rock.
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Saturday 2 p.m. AvidXchange Music Factory Festival Grounds, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $35. www.mooandbrewfest.com.
The Grammy-winning outfit behind inescapable ’90s hits like “Run-Around” and “Hook” headlines this year’s Moo and Brew Festival, a craft beer and burger-sampling fest that doubles as a benefit for Second Harvest Food Bank and the Heartbright Foundation. Ancient Cities opens the show at 1:15 (only VIPs are admitted entrance until 2 p.m.). Of Good Nature starts at 2:30, with the headliner following at 4:15 p.m.
Saturday 8 p.m. Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $8. www.eveningmuse.com.
The duo of Erika Stahl and vocalist Ryan Flaherty make up this Portland, Maine pairing that mines a vintage sound. It mixes rockabilly, old-time R&B, and ’50s rock n’ roll with hints of shuffling roots country. Its raw, homegrown sound fits somewhere between retro-minded JD McPherson (who channels Elvis and Buddy Holly) and the similarly sparse approach of another Americana duo, Shovels & Rope.
Saturday 8:30 p.m. The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $27.50. www.livenation.com.
Long before the worlds of jam and electronic music collided, this progressive five-piece was fusing rock improv and rave culture with a spectacular light show. It stops on its way to play New Orleans’ Jazz Fest next weekend. The innovative jam stalwart’s “Get Loud Tour” promises a fluid, electro-infused jam-rock workout and its always buzzed-about light show.
Saturday 10 p.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. $8-$10. www.snugrock.com.
This New York duo’s debut full-length, “Swear I’m Good At This,” captures the plight of coming of age in a social media-obsessed generation, but vocalist/guitarist Alex Luciano’s perspective isn’t that of the daffy millennials adults complain about. Her songs reveal a wise, brazen, vulnerable young woman that’s not always cool with the inanity around her. Opening acts Daddy Issues and Alright give off similar girl-power vibes. Diet Cig also plays Lunchbox Records at 3 p.m. Saturday for Record Store Day.
Balance and Composure
Wednesday 8 p.m. The Underground, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd. $15. www.livenation.com.
The Pennsylvania quintet tones down its heavier post-hardcore tendencies to reveal a softer yet still-expansive sound on its third album, “Light We Made.” While older fans may be surprised by the absence of the testosterone-heavy scream-singing, fewer heavily distorted guitars, and prominent synthesizers, “Light” seems like a natural progression from its second album and isn’t an ambient affair for the cult favorite.
Thursday 8 p.m. Evening Muse, 3227 N. Davidson St. $15. www.eveningmuse.com.
The underrated songwriter returned recently with the album “Adios,” which builds on his punk roots, incorporates Elvis Costello-style squawking keys, and eclipses his country and folk past with classically influenced guitar-picking, ’70s rock and Henry Mancini-style jazz.