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Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In

  • PHOTO BY KYLE DEAN REINFORD<br/>Royal Bangs

    PHOTO BY KYLE DEAN REINFORD
    Royal Bangs

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE EVENS<br/>The Evens

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE EVENS
    The Evens

  • PHOTO BY KYLE DEAN REINFORD<br/>Royal Bangs
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE EVENS<br/>The Evens

I saw The Evens play at an Amherst church in 2006 and the band’s quiet (and then not so quiet) intensity is still a standout memory. The D.C. duo of Amy Farina on drums and vocals and Ian MacKaye on baritone electric guitar and vocals was sharply focused and seemingly psychically linked. Over hypnotic syncopated rhythms, the twosome traded vocals, harmonized sweetly and locked their voices in union, singing songs that showed there’s no dividing line between the personal and the political.

That show was a benefit concert for Flywheel in Easthampton, which at that point had made the choice to leave its longtime location for a new one with more room and better visibility. It took many limbo-ish years full of repairs and renovation (and more benefit shows) before the venue could reopen in its new home but with the help of volunteers it persevered — as did The Evens, who put out a new record last year after a long time away of their own. Finally the band returns to Flywheel for a show Thursday at 7:30 p.m. All ages, as always.

The Evens’ newest album is called “The Odds” and those who know MacKaye best through his years with Fugazi and that band’s tightly coiled rage will feel right at home with the dynamic landscape of songs like “Wanted Criminals,” which explodes with manic strumming but fades out with the ominous refrain, “Jails in search of prisoners.”

MacKaye and Farina perform with down-to-earth passion and, as with every project MacKaye has been involved in, it’s about inclusiveness and empowerment — it’s not stars on a stage, it’s people in a room, together.

“We’re not performing a show, we’re MAKING a show, with you,” he said to the audience at that 2006 concert, adding later, “We’re a dance band, but do what you want.” Very recommended.

Drew Paton’s 1940s and e_SSRq50s Hit Parade returns to the Rendezvous in Turners Falls Friday at 7 p.m. Free show.

Blues guitar legend Buddy Guy tears it up at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton Friday at 8 p.m. Quinn Sullivan opens.

Quilt, Bunwinkies, Kieran Lally and Soft Healer are the quadruple bill at the Montague Bookmill Friday at 8 p.m.

Ray Mason plays solo electric at the Black Sheep in Amherst Saturday at 7 p.m. No cover, but tips are appreciated.

Mark Nomad brings his blues, funk and more to the City Sports Grille (at the Spare Time bowling alley) in Northampton Saturday at 9 p.m.

Royal Bangs has a new single out, the propulsive, chiming and very catchy “Better Run,” on which the Knoxville, Tenn., quartet sounds like Pretty & Nice’s older brothers. The band’s next record won’t be out until September but it’s on tour and appears at the Iron Horse in Northampton Saturday at 10 p.m. Local indie-rock faves Pale Cowboy opens.

Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express takes the stage at the Iron Horse Thursday at
7 p.m. The Old Ceremony opens.

Larry Dulong and his band, Random Sighting, perform at the Luthiers Co-op in Easthampton Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

The Planes (from NYC) appears alongside local bands The True Jacqueline and Walking Ghosts at the Sierra Grille in Northampton Thursday at 10 p.m.

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