Fri., May 7, 8pm. $25-$35. Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. 215.336.2000. www.electricfactory.com
Painting lyrical pictures like a rap van Gogh with eccentric, eclectic rhymes and rhyme patterns most MCs dare not imitate, Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah--the man of many monikers--is back. From cult favorite to Billboard chart- topper, Tony Starks routinely takes listeners on a vivid trip into his gritty and raw world--in a sometimes vulgar but always soulfully head-nodding way. From club bangers to more commercial ditties like "Tush" (with Missy Elliott) to gully-street masterpieces like the RZA-crafted "Run" (with Jadakiss), Staten Island's Wally Champ displays his diversity. Despite registering the lowest first-week album sales of his career, the Iron Man presses forward, donning massive gold chains and medallions but never forgetting "plucking roaches out the cereal box." With the incredible return of Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, Philly's own EST, Baby Blak, Bahamadia, DJs Cash Money, Sat One and Static, this bill and its talent-drenched marquee will be hard to top anytime soon. (Ain� Ardron-Doley)
True If Destroyed
WeFri., May 7, 9pm. $8. With the Quails + Kiss Kiss Kill. Millcreek Tavern, 4200 Chester Ave. 215.222.9194. www.millcreektavernphilly.com
Defined by the raw vocal interplay of keyboardist Julia Gaylord (formerly of X's X's) and guitarist Drew Orlowski, Philly five-piece True If Destroyed kicks out melodic punk at once throttling, complex and steeped in tension. The lyrics on the band's demo EP--"And I wanna know why you thrive on decay/ Extravagantly destroy me today"--burn with poetic bitterness and undoubtedly benefit from that guy-girl pairing, which recalls Rainer Maria and Pretty Girls Make Graves. The EP was recorded a full two years ago, and thanks to a steady stream of shows and the addition last fall of ex-April Disaster drummer John Ziga, True If Destroyed sounds better now than ever. This month the band will record its proper debut for a late-summer release on local Ed Walters Records. Expect a catchy, caustic batch of valentines for the punk scholars in us all. (Doug Wallen)
Bizet and Donizetti
The Pearl Fishers: Fri., May 7, 8pm, and Sun., May 9, 2:30pm. $5-$155. Academy of Music, Broad and Locust sts. 215.893.1999. www.academyofmusic.org
L'elisir d'amore: Wed., May 5, 7:30pm. $30-$35. Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce St.; Sat., May 8, 8pm. $30-$35. Central Bucks East Auditorium, 2804 Holicong Rd., Doylestown; Mon., May 10 and Tues., May 11, 7:30pm. $30-$35. Centennial Hall, 450 W. Lancaster Ave., Haverford. 215.735.1685.
Though Bizet's Carmen is one of the world's most often performed and well-known operas, his later work, The Pearl Fishers, was a failure at its premiere and is now rarely heard and hardly known. An exotic story that takes place in Ceylon, Fishers tells of a priestess with a mysterious history involving two lovers. Only at the last minute are they all saved from being burned at the pyre by angry islanders. The music is far gentler than Carmen's, and at times it develops more beautifully. A duet in the first act between the two lovers provides one of opera's most sublime musical passages, when a lyric tenor and baritone are able to pull it off. The Academy of Vocal Arts then lightens Philadelphia's operatic scene with Donizetti's goodhearted comedy L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love). The story couldn't be sillier or more delightful. A fake love potion makes for lots of lighthearted problems that ultimately resolve with love triumphant. The delicious melodies and famous arias have made L'elisir a favorite of opera houses since its premiere nearly 175 years ago. (Mark H. Beers)
The Bad Plus
Fri., May 7, 8pm. $21-$63. With Medeski Martin and Wood. Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce sts. 215.893.1999. www.kimmelcenter.org
Just like that kid who showed up at the senior prom sporting hot-pink Chuck Taylors, the Bad Plus exists along the fringes of the jazz world but isn't shy when it comes to thumbing a nose at jazz's sometimes-stilted traditions. Following closely along the trail blazed by headliner Medeski Martin and Wood, the Bad Plus is a jazz trio only by loose definition. David King's ferocious kit work lends a bombastic percussive foundation not often heard in today's all-too-soft world of jazz, and bassist Reid Anderson's style is as much Mike Watt as Mingus. Ethan Iverson's fingers caress the ivories in nuanced delicacy one moment, but before you can say porkpie hat, he's assaulting the keys like Liberace on crank. It all congeals into one deliciously sticky gooball of tension-and-release-based sonic bombardment. Though the show is billed as an acoustic evening, this one's not for the faint of heart. Almost as if commemorating the last Oldsmobile to roll off the line, the Bad Plus and MMW are here to remind you that this is not your father's jazz. (Joshua Valocchi)
Time for a big Bang breakthrough?