Hip-hop isn’t all about chart-toppers who ride around in their Rolls-Royces swigging Cristal. Under the radar, there are artists working outside the music industry system, creating music that doesn’t easily slot into radio playlists. That doesn’t mean you won’t see a future (or even current) star at the A3C Fest, but it’s pretty much certain that you’ll hear some of the most inventive hip-hop being crafted today.
Oct. 7-9. $33 festival passes; $20 single night passes. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-577-8178.
Asylum Street Spankers
The rootsy, nostalgic group is laugh-out-loud funny. It’s also packed with seriously talented musicians who travel easily from ragtime to blues to Western swing to rap. The Austin, Texas-based combo’s live shows are celebrated for providing a foot-stomping good time that nourishes body and soul, but this might be your last chance to see one. They’re calling this go-’round “Spanks For Everything! The Farewell Tour.”
7 p.m. Oct. 9. $20. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Road, Atlanta. 404-875-1522.
One-time Atlanta resident and current New Yorker Joplin makes catchy, heart-tugging music that always seems to fall just below the radar. He’s an engaging performer and always a popular draw whenever he returns to town.
7 and 9:30 p.m. Oct. 9. $20. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.
These Athens rockers have released album after album of music that has given Southern rock a jolt of heart, soul and wisdom: “Southern Rock Opera,” “Decoration Day,” “The Dirty South,” “A Blessing and a Curse,” “Brighter Than Creation’s Dark.” The latest addition to the band’s stellar catalog, “The Big To-Do,” was released in March.
8 p.m. Oct. 9. $25 advance. The Buckhead Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road, Atlanta. 404-843-2825.
Sean Costello Memorial Fund Benefit Concert
Atlanta guitarist, singer and songwriter Costello died one day shy of his 29th birthday in 2008. His mother, Debbie Costello Smith, has established an organization in his honor, and this is the second annual benefit. The lineup includes Candye Kane, Sonia Leigh, Coy Bowles and the Fellowship and Burnt Bacon (Oliver Wood, Jon Liebman, Chris Uhler, Dave Roth).
4 p.m. Oct. 10. $30 in advance, $35 at door. Cotton Club at the Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta.
These self-described scumdogs of the universe (and, according to the Gwar mythos, denizens of Antarctica) don outrageous getups, play belligerent shock-metal tunes about mutant mayhem and have been known to use goo-spewing stage props. Expect a mind-numbing, ear-rattling mess — in a good way. If you like that sort of thing.
6:30 p.m. Oct. 10. $20 in advance. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-577-8178.
Atlanta’s Mullins, who had an international hit with “Lullaby” in the late ’90s, puts his rich, world-weary growl to work on a new set of tunes. This three-night stand celebrates the release of his new album, “Light You Up.” On Nov. 10, he’ll be in the running for a song of the year trophy at this year’s CMA Awards. He co-wrote the Zac Brown Band’s No. 1 hit “Toes.”
7 and 9:30 p.m. Oct. 11-13. $25. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.
The Original Wailers
Bob Marley, who took the Wailers to worldwide success, has been gone since 1981, but the members of his band soldier on. Guitarists Al Anderson and Junior Marvin lead this incarnation of the band (bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett leads a different outfit).
8:30 p.m. Oct. 14. $22.50; $20 advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Harmer’s voice manages to be cute, cuddly and worldly wise all at the same time. When she took on the tender regret of Dolly Parton’s “Will He Be Waiting for Me?” on 2005’s “I’m a Mountain,” it was so goosebump-raising good that we hoped the rootsy Canadian singer-songwriter would do a whole album of Parton songs. When she finally followed that album with this year’s “Oh Little Fire,” we happily settled for another batch of her own tuneful beauties.
8 p.m. Oct. 14. $18. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.