Part humorist, part storyteller and part singer, this exemplary fiddle player and guitarist has been making people of all ages laugh, tap their toes and sing along for over 20 years. With 13 critically-acclaimed albums to his name, and a legion of diehard fans the world over, this Appalachian ambassador is a minor national treasure whose approach to homespun, family-oriented entertainment and elucidation is often likened to that of Mark Twain and Will Rogers. A repeat visitor to this humble acoustic listening room adjacent to a famous stringed-instrument factory and repair shop not far from The Mighty 8th Air Force Museum, Cross’ local shows often sell out based on his loyal area fanbase. For advance tickets to this ALL-AGES (smoke and alcohol free) show, call 748-1930. Sat., 8 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (1304 E. Hwy 80, Bloomingdale).
The Fixx, Liquid Ginger
It’s been a long, hard road for The Fixx. One of the finest and most intriguing British rock bands to emerge from the strange, novelty-riddled period of time now known (through the hindsight of VH1’s revisionist music history) as “The Big ‘80s,” they have rarely if ever gotten the respect and close inspection they deserved. As time marches on and the majority of their chart-mates either fade into oblivion, or “reunite” in varyingly complete lineups, it’s worth noting that frontman Cy Curnin and company have been slugging it out for years to a diehard fanbase. Their catchy, synth-and-guitar-driven alternative dance pop has always been a little too clever for its own good, but that didn’t stop a few of their early tracks from becoming indisputable classics of the new wave genre. “One Thing Leads To Another,” “Stand Or Fall,” and “Red Skies,” rank with the best and most redoubtable hits of their time, and even sound mildly contemporary today, more than 20 years hence. Boasting all their original members —save one— they continue to write and record challenging new material, and by allowing their audience members to purchase special removable —and autographed— USB drives called FixxStixx (containing professionally-mixed MP3s of the show they just saw) puts them on the cutting edge of the industry. This should be an impressive show by a band with serious staying power. Female-fronted locals Liquid Ginger open. Sun., 9 pm, Monkey Business (Hilton Head).
The Lucas Theatre’s new season hits the ground running with the third local appearance by this Russian-born pianist who’s become a rising superstar since emerging in 2002 as one of the most lauded young keyboardists anywhere. His passionate performances on the most fiery (and sensitive) masterworks have found audiences erupting into spontaneous outbursts of adulation. Known as much for his “dazzling technique” as a “musical wisdom beyond his years,” he is believed by many to be one of the finest concert pianists around. Tickets are $35, $25 and $12.50 (limited $2 tickets available for music teachers and students) at SCAD’s Box Office. Call 525-5050 or online at www.lucastheatre.com. Sat., 8 pm, Lucas Theatre.
The Sharky Doyles
This feisty quintet from Chicago’s Southside say they play “working music for the drinking class.” That’s a pretty spot-on description of their rowdy, unapologetic, blue-collar Celtic punk shows that are equal parts The Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, Social Distortion and The Clancy Brothers. In fact, throw in a fire engine (as the band conveniently has on the splash page of their official website www.sharkydoyles.com), and you’ll think you’ve wandered onto the set of TV’s Rescue Me. The night after this band plays Finnegan’s Wake, that longtime Irish pub closes its doors with a blowout “Funeral” that culminates with a ceremonial march down Congress St. to their sister pub, Murphy’s Law, where the tradition of live music and libation will continue... Fri., 10 pm, Finnegan’s Wake + Sat., 10 pm, Murphy’s Law.
Yancy & Breakneck Quartet
After a few months off the local scene, this standout neo-soul and organic hip-hop act returns from their adopted hometown of Atlanta for a gig at their old stomping grounds, the club that gave them their start, and allowed them to develop a following. Their funky, retro, clean electric guitar (courtesy of Luke Harvis) and electric piano grooves (courtesy of vocalist Stephen Nashaun Pender) perhaps inadvertently reference such old-school acts as The Brothers Johnson and The Ohio Players. But make no mistake — this is a modern hip-hop band, pure and simple. Yancy’s idiosyncratic, melodic raps contain the requisite amount of macho posturing, but are tempered by touches of lyrical sweetness and innocence. Here’s a great chance to catch up with one of the more nuanced and unique acts this area has produced in the past 2 decades. Sat., 10 pm, Locos Deli & Pub (Downtown).