THURSDAY JULY 1
The Summer Pledge
One of the trio of bands now signed to Woodbridge Records, the Summer Pledge creates an atmospheric din with throbbing drums, swirling guitars and vocals that never quite take center stage. The prog rock-meets-indie sound frequently shifts between opposing tempos, moods and dynamics, creating a tension that somehow works with the music's overall spacey dreaminess. The tireless Detroit quintet kicks off a nationwide summer tour and celebrates the vinyl release of its debut LP, You Are You, at 8 p.m. at the Shack, 1520 Merrick St., Detroit; with Prussia, Computer Perfection and Dada Trash Collage.
THURSDAY-FRIDAY JULY 1-2
MEN IN TIGHTS
Hilberry Theatre's annual summer children's show takes a trip to the Sherwood Forest this year with a kiddie-friendly production of Robin Hood. Robin and his Merry Men battle the rich, give to the poor and pursue their lady loves in 12th century style. All is fine and dandy until the wicked Prince John comes to power, and Robin Hood, assisted by Little John, Friar Tuck and Maid Marian, must overthrow him and restore the throne to kindly King Richard, proving once again that good always triumphs over evil — at least in fairy tales. At 10:30 a.m. at Hilberry Theatre, 4743 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-577-2972; $8, $5 children 13 and under. Further performances July 7-10.
THURSDAY-FRIDAY JULY 1-2
ODDBALL INDIE ROCK
Founded by Isaac Brock, Jeremiah Green and Eric Judy in mid-'90s Seattle, Modest Mouse may be one primary reason indie thrives as it does. The group's sound, characterized by its ambience and Brock's bizarre lyrics, has roots in '80s alt-rock, with even some blues and electronica sidling up. Ever since the guys' fourth, 2004's Good News for People Who Love Bad News, went platinum, they have enjoyed huge success without losing the tripped-outness that makes them great, nor their inexplicable love of the nautical motifs that pervade their songs and vids. At 7 p.m. both nights at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; $35; with Avi Buffalo.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY JULY 1-4
Salute to America
The annual Salute to America joins the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Greenfield Village for one humdinger of a patriotic celebration. Before the DSO takes the stage, kids will dig the 19th century lawn games and visit with members of the village's historic baseball teams. The First Michigan Colonial Fife and Drum Corps and the River Raisin Ragtime Revue will supply the pre-concert music. The DSO will then perform an evening of rousing American melodies that culminates with a jaw-dropping fireworks display set to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. God bless the USA! Gates open at 6 p.m. at Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-982-6001 and thehenryford.org for tickets.
FRIDAY JULY 2
Times New Viking
This noisy, low-fi trio from Columbus, Ohio, eschews the polish of modern production despite its major label and modest success, opting instead for the murky din of fuzzy guitars, muffled vocals and blown-out speakers. The determined lo-finess of it all comes complete with melodic hooks and a sloppy enthusiasm that makes this group's blurry racket a refreshing departure from so many of today's sanitized offerings. And sure, they may have cleaned things up just a tad for their fourth disc, Born Again Revisited, but that's only brought the band's sweet songwriting skills into slightly sharper focus. At 8 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622; $7; all ages; with Child Bite.
FRIDAY-MONDAY JULY 2-5
Stars and Stripes Festival
LAST FEST STANDING
Stars and Stripes is now one of the few (if not the only) full-fledged festivals happening this Fourth of July weekend — and it makes the most of its singular status with four jam-packed days. The fest includes carnival rides, art vendors, kids' activities, an offshore boat show, fireworks Friday night and four stages of music featuring the newly re-united Rockets (Friday), Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil (Saturday), Warrant (Sunday) and Jason Derulo (Monday). Local acts on the bill include the Muggs, Critical Bill, Class Three Overbite, Black Irish, Hush and more. Throughout downtown Mount Clemens; call 586-493-4644 or visit funfestinc.com for info.
FRIDAY-MONDAY JULY 2-5
New Center Park Kickoff
MUSIC IN THE HOOD
If you're mourning the loss of Cityfest, one of the best of Detroit's now-dwindling ranks of summer fests, take consolation in the rebirth of New Center Park. The "unique green space" will play host to a variety of weekly events throughout the summer: movie nights, live music, kids' activities and harvest markets. A Labor Day block party, Octoberfest celebration and holiday sing-alongs are also in the works. It all starts over Fourth of July weekend at the celebratory kickoff, which features free live music courtesy of local talent daily (beginning at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon on Sunday and Monday), as well as fun for tykes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The lineup includes the Wrong Numbers, the Dennis Coffey Quartet and the Danny Kroha Band on Friday; Woodman, Spitting Nickels, Macrame Tiger and the Beggars on Saturday; Old Empire, Silverghost and Alberta Adams & RJ's Rhythm Rockers on Sunday; and Thornetta Davis, Duende! and Modernlull on Monday. The full bar and concession stand will also be open. New Center Park is located at West Grand Boulevard and Second Avenue in Detroit; visit newcenterpark.com for a complete lineup.
SATURDAY JULY 3
Computer geek Joel Zimmerman's transformation into superstar DJ Deadmau5 may not have happened overnight, but it may as well have. The electro producer, who performs in a signature mouse mask, has released a string of club hits, scoring some of digital music store Beatport's best-sellers. These days, he headlines international bigwig music fests on a regular basis. The Toronto wunderkind also serves up one of the most eye-popping live shows in dance music. Rumor has it that his visuals even give perennial mind-blowers Daft Punk a run for its money. Check out the eye-boggling sights and the body-shaking sounds at 9 p.m. at the Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5451; livenation.com for tickets.
TUESDAY JULY 6
ARE WE NOT MEN?
New wave legends, art-pop whackos and fashion pioneers, Devo became part of the collective consciousness with 1980's classic ode to beating off, "Whip It." And while that track guaranteed the band a fate resigned to I Love the '80s status, Devo's off-kilter din was truly groundbreaking and has forever earned them a hallowed place in music geeks' hearts. The group performs in support of its first disc in 20 years — the shockingly great Something for Everybody — at 8 p.m. at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor; 734-764-2538; annarborsummerfestival.org.
TUESDAY JULY 6
The lonely widows of drowned sailors, a bride who dies on her wedding day, coal mine workers lamenting their backbreaking labor — these are the figures who populate the haunting songs of the Unthanks. In crafting these melancholy tunes, Becky and Rachel Unthank rely on the folk music tradition of their birthplace, Northumberland County in northeast England — but they are far from folk purists. The sisters instead reshape traditional tunes to create a mystical melding of ancient and modern, thanks to modern instrumentation, unusual arrangements and their eerily beautiful harmonizing. Formerly Rachel Unthank & the Winteset, the sisters and their band perform in support of their third disc, Here's the Tender Coming, at 8 p.m. at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1451; $15.
The Detroit Artists Market explores the left brain-right brain mind meld with its summer exhibit, Wordage, which features works that combine text and images in thought-provoking and unusual ways. The display includes wordy paintings, sculptures, photographs and mixed-media pieces by 25 metro Detroit artists, including Dick Goody, Barbara Brown, Vagner M. Whitehead, Stephen Schudlich, Christine Monhollen and Michelle A. Hegyi. The literate exhibit displays through July 24, at the Detroit Artists Market, 4719 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8540.