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Angie Aparo

The last time this charismatic, post-modern folkie-turned-alt.rocker played in town (at Club Oz of all places), disorganization, bad vibes and a woefully inadequate PA conspired to make it one of the most painful live gigs I’ve ever witnessed. Aparo and his band struggled to retain their composure in front of a smattering of diehard fans while layers of frustration, anger and dejection that wafted off the stage. To his credit, the impressive vocalist and guitarist (best known for writing Faith Hill’s massive hit “Cry”) finally dismissed his beleaguered mates and soldiered on, busting his ass under uncomfortable circumstances for the sake of “Angie’s Army.”

Some will find his slightly preening mannerisms and hammy crowd interaction off-putting, but that’s merely a by-product of his intense dedication to —and fervent belief in— his own artistic merit. With a new band in tow (The Infidels), and a new, harder-edged record of gutsy, personal (and political) rave-ups in hand, he seems poised at a positive turning point in his career. With opening band Slice (radio-friendly Macon emo) and songwriter Chris Talley. Fri., 8 pm, Finnegan’s Wake.  

“Cocktails & Jazz For Equality” Benefit

Designed to raise both awareness and funds for the cause of GLBT civil rights, this swanky “Savannah style” evening of live music, libations and mastication features sets by the esteemed jazz bassist Ben Tucker and his Trio, Sinatra acolyte Trae Gurley, award-winning classically-trained cabaret singer Roger Moss, and the danceable, brassy grooves of instrumental soul jazz quintet Eat Mo’ Music. In addition to 3 hours of fun and networking, attendees will also get a chance to meet and speak with the Equality Foundation of Georgia’s Guest of Honor, 21-year-old assault victim Travis McLain. Advance tickets are available at Urban Cargo, Blaine’s Backdoor Bar and Under The Rainbow Inn. Fri., 7 pm, Savannah Station (behind EnMark at MLK, Jr. Blvd. & Jones St.). 

Randy Kohrs

Nominated for the International Bluegrass Association’s 2005 Dobro Player of The Year, this studio veteran has played on over 300 recordings by Jim Lauderdale, Rhonda Vincent, Tom T. Hall and others — including Dierks Bentley’s smash hit “What Was I Thinking.” Now he’s stepping out as a solo artist, and surprising everyone with a powerful, acrobatic tenor voice and a knack for songwriting. Although Dolly Parton won’t be on hand to reprise their duet from his new CD, this looks to be a special night of great acoustic music. For Advance Tickets, call 748-1930. Fri., 8 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (1304 E. Hwy 80, Bloomingdale) - ALL-AGES. 

Southern Backtones

This moody, ethereal retro-tinged modern hard rock act (think U2, Nick Cave, The Cult, The The) from Houston, seems primed for massive underground success. With a melodramatic vocal approach that at times comes across as David Bowie doing a passable —if strangely off-the-mark— Jim Morrison impersonation, this group (together since 1997) has shifted away from its original psychobilly and surf roots to embrace a grander swath of the dark, emotional (not emo) rock realm. Their latest album was produced by Dan Workman, who was behind the boards for “Reverberation,” one of the best ZZ Top tracks ever (originally written by the preternaturally talented Roky Erickson). Opening bands include S. C.’s young indie-rockers French Kiss Coma and Invitro, while solo act Shane Johns (under the stage name Five Acres) plays a late night set of acoustic grunge on the guitar. Sat., 7 pm, Guitar Bar (348 MLK, Jr. Blvd.).  

Steel Pulse

This show needs little hype. It’s a mega-rare area appearance by one of the greatest reggae bands of all time. This British group’s State of Emergency LP still stands as one of the finest records in its genre, and they continue to grow and evolve. I’m tempted to call this a must-see. Sun., 8 pm, Monkey Business (Hilton Head). 

Dwight Yoakam

Forget the sprayed-on jeans and the hat that never fooled anyone. Hell, forget his affair with Sharon Stone. This post-modern Bakersfield, Ca. C & W throwback (born in Kentucky) paid his dues on the L.A. punk and alternative rock circuit in the early ‘80s, and parlayed his love for roots-rock, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens into a chart-topping career as the hippest sequined crooner since Porter Wagoner. Though his collaboration with phenomenal guitarist and producer Pete Anderson has ended, his new album Blame The Vain continues on in the classic Dwight tradition. This show is close to selling out, so grab a seat while you can. Thurs., 8 pm, Lucas Theatre.