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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Live music picks: April 29-May 5

Philadelphia's Man Man - from left, Honus (Ryan Kattner), T-Moth (Jamey Robinson), Chang (Billy Dufala) and Pow (Chris Powell) - brings its outrageously energetic live show to the Variety Playhouse April 29.  Photo: Michael Persico

Philadelphia's Man Man - from left, Honus (Ryan Kattner), T-Moth (Jamey Robinson), Chang (Billy Dufala) and Pow (Chris Powell) - brings its outrageously energetic live show to the Variety Playhouse April 30. Photo: Michael Persico

TODAY THROUGH MAY 7
500 Songs For Kids

In 2007, tireless man about town and musician Josh Rifkind started a fundraiser that combined 500 artists with Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 best rock songs. This year, each artist takes on one of the 500 greatest feel-good songs of all time. There are always surprises and the impressive list of artists includes local and national acts (check the foundation’s website for each night’s scheduled performers). The money goes to Rifkind’s Songs for Kids Foundation.
Nightly through May 7. $10; $20 May 7. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta. 404-875-1522.

TODAY
Todd Snider

Nashville’s Snider can be snarky and snide, but he’s also witty, observant and even poignant. Of his latest studio album, “The Excitement Plan,” Rolling Stone writes that his “compressed story-songs are so vivid and knowing that they seem completely plausible, even the one … voiced by a piece of discarded junk mail that dreams of being a tree again.”
8:30 p.m. April 29. $22.50; $20 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-524-7354.

SATURDAY
Man Man

Philadelphia quartet Man Man turns barely controlled chaos into joyous live celebrations. What at first seems like a cacophony of clarinet, marimba, piano and more is actually a crafty piece of music-making that creeps up on you. Simple snatches of melody and a carnival-like atmosphere emerge from transgressive sounds and insistent rhythms. The band’s earliest work was hacked into weird shapes by art’s machete, but now the effect is more laser-like. The musical forms are as strange as ever, but they’re crafted with care and more appealing to the senses. The band’s growth between 2006’s “Six Demon Bag” and 2008’s “Rabbit Habits” was remarkable, so anticipation is high for “Life Fantastic,” which is out May 10.
8:30 p.m. April 30. $15. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-524-7354.

SATURDAY
Smith Westerns

This band of Chicago youngsters — they’re all right around the age of 20 — have an obvious love of early-’70s glam rock. You can hear traces of David Bowie and T. Rex in the joyous rumble of the band’s new album “Dye It Blonde.” The album was released in January, but the upbeat bounce of lead track “Weekend” would make the perfect soundtrack for summer.
8 p.m. April 30. $10 in advance. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-577-8178.

War, which has a string of hits in the '70s, headlines Fiesta Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park May 1. Photo courtest Lanza Group

War will play its string of hits from the '70s as the band headlines Fiesta Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park May 1. Photo courtest Lanza Group

SUNDAY
War

This one-time L.A. cover band was transformed by former Animals frontman Eric Burdon. After hitting the Top 5 in 1970 with surrealistic “Spill the Wine,” Burdon moved on. War continued to produce hit after hit during the ’70s, including “Cisco Kid,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” and “Low Rider.” Comedian George Lopez declared the latter the “Chicano national anthem” and used it as the theme song for his sitcom. The band headlines this year’s fifth annual Fiesta Atlanta, a celebration of Latino culture.
10 a.m.-7 p.m. May 1 (War will be the final act of the festival). Free. Centennial Olympic Park, 285 International Blvd. NW, Atlanta. 404-350-0231.

MONDAY
The Decemberists

After three albums on the Pacific Northwest-based label Kill Rock Stars, the Decemberists moved to Capitol Records with 2006’s “The Crane Wife.” The move allowed the ambitious band to expand its sound, and the folk-inflected progressive rock influence that had always been there headed toward the foreground. Then came 2009’s conceptual epic “The Hazards of Love,” basically a rock opera. This year’s “The King Is Dead” finds frontman Colin Meloy and his band mates leaving some of the prog-rock trappings behind and embracing their inner R.E.M. (with an assist from guest guitarist Peter Buck).
8 p.m. May 2. $25-$35. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2800.

THURSDAY
Echo and the Bunnymen

Echo and the Bunnymen injected a dose of the Doors into post-punk’s dark-hearted atmospheric pulse, creating a beast big enough to fill an arena. The band’s current tour revisits their earliest work, the 1980 debut album “Crocodiles” and the follow-up “Heaven Up Here.”
8 p.m. May 5. $22.50 in advance. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-577-8178.

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