THE WEDDING PRESENT
AIN'T NO INDIE LIKE BRIT INDIE
"Legendary" luminaries of the late '80s/early '90s UK indie scene, the Wedding Present found success with the simple formula of jangly guitars behind the droll, heartaching lyrics of frontman David Gedge. Its latest release, El Ray, tows the line, as evidenced by such evocatively titled songs as "Don't Take Me Home until I'm Drunk" and "The Thing I Like Best about Him is his Girlfriend." If much has changed for the Wedding Present since its 1985 genesis — including all the members besides Gedge — one truth has remained: heartbreak=songwriting gold. With Dirty on Purpose at 8 p.m. at the Pike Room of the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; thecrofoot.com; $12.
LOLA MORALES CD RELEASE
Lola Morales has lived and worked in a diverse set of locales, from her native San Francisco, where she was born to Nicaraguan immigrants, to Quito, Tokyo and London. Her current stop is in the less sophisticated, but just as diverse, city of Hamtramck where the De-troit sound is asserting its influence on the worldly jumble of Morales' music. The release of her first full-length, Write My Story, is a language, style and genre mashup with North American indie rock commingling comfortably with Argentinean salsa and Motor City soul mixing melodically with Brazilian rhythms. Sounds like musical gobbledygook, but Morales pulls it off with pizzazz. With Pathe Jassi's World Experience at 8 p.m. at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030; themagicbag.com; $10.
SOULTRACKS 2008 READERS' CHOICE AWARDS
DETROIT GOT SOUL, BABY
For those of you who aren't savvy to SoulTracks, it's a Detroit-based website devoted to — what else? — all things soul. In its second year, the Readers' Choice Awards is billed as the largest international awards show dedicated to independent soul music, drawing a bevy of soul stars from across the country. This year's event is hosted by Mason, better known as the voice of the Detroit Pistons, and features performances by April Hill, Algebra, Gordon Chambers, Sy Smith and more, plus a Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed upon eminent soulsters the Dramatics. At the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111. And if that's ain't enough sultry, face-to-face gazing soul to satisfy your, uh, soul(?), check out the SoulTracks' All-Star Jam at 8 p.m. on Oct. 4 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren, Detroit; 313-494-5800. Info for both events can be found at soultracks.com.
SWEET SCIENCE OF JAZZ
From Wynton Marsalis and Miles Davis' salutes to Jack Johnson to George Russell's tribute to Ezzard Charles, jazz musicians have celebrated the connection between improvising on the stage and in the ring. The provocative pianist Matthew Shipp has weighed in on the connection, noting that "the body becomes poetry in motion whether through a keyboard or in the ring — complex patterned action generates a poetic time and space — violent yet dance-like, uncivilized yet graceful, raw yet sophisticated." Shipp goes one-on-one with the Detroit Institute of Arts' grand piano at 7 and 8:30 p.m. in the Rivera Court of the DIA, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900.
ROBERT POLLARD + 2 DUDES
For indie rock aficionados, just mentioning the name Robert Pollard is enough to induce an eyes-glazed over, feverish hysteria marked by high-pitched proclamations of Pollard's genius. As the driving force behind the low-fi and cryptic (and often Dean Martin-soused) Guided By Voices, Pollard is an improbable rock icon for fans who discovered them on the college-rock circuit. (Some blame him for landfills full of crap indie bands.) Since GBV disbanded in 2004, Pollard has kept up his famed productivity, releasing a number of albums, both solo works and collaborations. His latest, Boston Spaceships, evolved from potential side-project to full-time band with a debut album, Brown Submarine, released in September. The return of Pollard's frenetic two-minute bursts of punk pop backed by a full-band (and taken on the road!) made old-school GVB fans everywhere rejoice (and that's barely an exaggeration). With the High Strung and the wonderfully pop Starling Electric at 9:30 p.m. at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; blindpigmusic.com; $15.
Nocturne is the story of a 32-year-old former piano prodigy turned novelist who is attempting to simultaneously survive and escape a family tragedy. The lead character, known only as The Son, weaves a lyrical portrait of his dysfunctional family, the terrible misfortune that tears them apart, and the subsequent grief and isolation that he's burdened with. One more chilling example of how the American dream — in this case, The Son's assured success as a pianist — is often nothing more than a hallucination. At 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Furniture Factory, 4126 Third St., Detroit; 248-982-4121; breathearttheatre.com; $20, students and seniors $15.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES ART OPENING
An exhibition of new works by Detroit-based photographer Lauren Semivan, Weights and Measures features moody and atmospheric black and white prints that focus on the way objects — whether flowers, a violin or a candelabrum — interact with the dream-like spaces they occupy. People appear as foils for the objects — almost as objects themselves — with their faces out of the frame or covered with gauzy fabric as they hold mirrors or topple vases. The images are beautiful, otherworldly, and, you know, kinda neat. At 5-8 p.m. at David Klein Gallery, 163 Townsend, Birmingham; 248-433-3700; dkgallery.com. Exhibit runs through Nov. 4.
STEAMBOAT BILL, JR.
ESCAPE FROM HOOVERVILLE
Depression-era entertainment is revived to match our Depression-era economy with the showing of this 1928 silent-film classic. Starring Buster Keaton — the jazz age Jim Carrey — Steamboat Bill, Jr. follows a shy college student's attempts at macho bravado. The film will be accompanied by live organ music (oh boy!) performed on the theater's original 80-year-old organ, just like in the good old days. At 8 p.m. at the Redford Theatre, 17360 Lahser Rd., Detroit; 313-537-2560; $10.
MEGA MARCH FOR ANIMALS
SAVE YER FURRY FRIENDS!
Need an excuse to get you and a four-legged friend out on a Sunday morning? Grab the leash (or the carrier) and get to Hart Plaza for the third annual Michigan Humane Society's Mega March for Animals. There's a two-mile walk starting and ending at Hart Plaza with plenty of opportunity for "pet"-working along the way. Collar your colleagues and fur-m a team. Pass the "bowl" for donations. Or merely show up to stretch your legs. Last year nearly 4,500 people raised about $250,000 to care for homeless animals. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hart Plaza. For more information, michiganhumane.org or 1-866-MHUMANE, ext. 149.
Contemporary troubadour Ray LaMontagne, with his raspy voice and darkly poetic lyrics, has won over fans that have an appreciation for sensitive and tortured crooning, especially when the crooner is an unobtrusive and diffident bearded man who lives in the backwoods of Maine. Now that's a folk singer! His upcoming third album, Gossip in the Grain, hits the street in October and offers less introspection and more rollicking high-spiritedness. Devotees of local music should make note of the track "Meg White," an ode to everyone's favorite local drummer which contains the ironic or cringe-worthy lyric "baby you're the bomb." And rumor has it that Meg will be appearing at the show to thank LaMontagne in person. Oh my! At the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; royaloakmusictheatre.com; $32 advance; all ages.
A PERFECT WORLD?
In Utopian Visions, four female artists of Arab descent render colorful and richly illustrative representations of their personal utopias. The four artists bring their diverse backgrounds and locations — Toronto, Cairo, Beirut and New York City — to bear on visions of a perfect world which are both intensely personal and profoundly universal. In a time when every headline seems to herald a new crisis, the depictions of an ideal society are sure to resonate with visitors, who will be able to write their own utopian visions on a gallery wall. Through March 29 at the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-2266; arabamericanmuseum.org.