Top Five Must-See Shows This Weekend

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Saturday, August 18: Futurebirds @ Sail Inn

The future is now, but what do you know? It sounds an awful lot like the past. This could serve as a mantra for Athens, Georgia's Futurebirds, though it's rare to find a band so expertly mixing together so many disparate styles. A heady dose of alt-country, replete with pedal steel, leads the way, but the songs truly take flight on a healthy merging of '60s psychedelia, '80s power pop, and reverb-drenched folk harmonies for an all-encompassing, swirling and jangling sound. Feelings float on high-lonesome swells before getting chopped up with gritty guitar interludes or simply drifting away all together in a technicolor acid wash.

Like so many southern-based Americana-leaning acts (think Drive-By Truckers), the lyrical imagery is naturally strong and decidedly visual, moving from tales of heartbreak to happy times gone bad. And have we mentioned the harmonies enough? Even The Beach Boys would be proud of what this seven-piece act accomplishes. But Futurebirds also are known for high-energy shows that might find Townshend-esque windmills on stage and line-dancing in the crowd -- that is, until feedback sends everyone into a frenzy. What could be more unexpected -- and better -- than that? -- Glenn BurnSilver

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.