Ryan’s Picks For The Week

Ryan’s Picks For The Week

Let’s play two

What’s better than one night of the Mantras ( at the Blind Tiger? How about two nights? Greensboro’s rock-improv auteurs will be jamming up New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Eve- Eve at the Tiger this year with what will surely be an epic and unpredictable two-night run. The Tuesday, Dec. 30 show will feature the equally-funky special guest Hot Politics ( and no doubt spring some great collaborations between the two groups of awesome musicians. The second night, however, is all Mantras and the band will be bringing three full sets of crunchy covers and their own classic material. In addition, the band will be shooting video for their upcoming DVD, so wear your best rage face for the camera. The Dec. 30 show is ages 18 and up with a $6 cover charge at the door. The New Year’s Eve performance is $10 at the door and 21 and up only, though a free champagne toast will be passed around at midnight. Doors open at 9 p.m. for both nights.

Robots have feelings, too It’s the biggest thing in hip hop these days, though it’s not exactly new to music. Use of the vocoder to produce those funky, but usually irritating, robot voices has proliferated to just about every major artist of the genre on at least one of their tracks. But really, no one uses it as much as T-Pain (www. Honestly, I’m convinced that the guy just flat out can’t sing and he used electronics to hide that fact. The rappa-ternt-sanga will be a part of the mob of folks leading up to one of the biggest names in the game today this Monday at the Greensboro Coliseum. Lil’ Wayne ( will headline a bill that has some pretty intriguing diversity to it. Aside from Mr. Roboto himself, one of the most exciting indie hip-hop bands around is playing and also tragically under-billed. Gym Class Heroes ( bring up the middle of the pack, just below Mary J. Blige copycat Keyshia Cole ( keyshiacole) and ahead of R&B singer Keri Hilson ( Strangely enough, cellist Heather McIntosh will open up the evening. Tickets range from $29.75 to $69.75 and the show starts at 7 p.m.

The future is Unknown, bay-bah

Pack up your homemade party liquor, put on your “Booty Hunter” trucker hat and throw them law dawgs off of your tail. The King of Country Western Troubadours (no, not Marty Stuart) will be taking the stage this New Year’s Eve at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre. Fans of the Cartoon Network’s late-night weirdness will of course know Unknown Hinson ( from his hilarious voice work for “Squidbillies”’ main squid Early Cuyler, but many don’t know how truly hellacious the Elvis/vampire/undertaker look-alike is on the axe. Otherwise known as Danny Baker, a Charlotte-area guitar instructor, Hinson got his curious name from both of his parents, of course. It says plain as day on his birth certificate — Mama: Miss Hinson, Daddy: Unknown. All it takes is a few seconds of seeing Unknown on stage to realize that his Early Cuyler character is by no means an artistic stretch. He speaks and behaves nearly the same way as his animated squid persona does and is just as funny. Sort of like “Tropic Thunder”’s Sgt. Lincoln Osiris: He’s a dude, dressed as a dude, doing the voice of a squid on TV. The doors open at 8 p.m. and Rebel Son ( will open. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.