Japanther

1 a.m., Hailey's Club

While this punk band may have gotten its start as an art project at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, the bass- and drum-playing duo has evolved into every bit a credible DIY outfit. Incorporating cassette players and dual vocals delivered through old payphone handsets are compelling elements that help fill out their boisterous live sound, but it's their sweaty, high-energy sets that whip crowds into frenzies, and put this duo over the top. Plus, when I saw the band last year, one person I came with had to leave early after suffering a concussion in their riotous pit. So there's that. Cory Graves

SATURDAY

Local Natives

8 p.m., Main Stage #1

Emerging on the U.S. indie music front in early 2010 with their highly-rated Gorilla Manor—well, as Local Natives, that is (the band released an EP back in 2006 under the name Cavil At Rest)—this Los Angeles-based five-piece quickly made a name for themselves by combining ooey-gooey folk harmonies with escapist lyrics and irresistible rhythms. Consequently, Gorilla Manor found itself on heavy rotation in the indie-music world by year's end; not surprisingly, it also landed highly on numerous year-end best-of lists. But it all started right about this time last year, when the band earned its live-performance reputation with several strong shows at last spring's South by Southwest. This year, though, the band's skipping the Austin festival. No need to make a name for yourself when you've already got one. Catherine Downes

Esben & The Witch

1 a.m., Andy's Bar

Last year, Ebsen & The Witch self-released their 33 EP to adoring reviews—enough so that Matador Records swooped in and signed them almost immediately. But this Brighton-based three-piece's 2011 debut full-length, Violet Cries, has received mixed reviews; its haunting, murky songs at times border on unnerving. But that's the allure: This act's ambient, drowsy soundscapes are as irresistible as the witch's candy and cake house in Grimm's Hansel and Gretel. If nothing else, its pedigree is strong, too: The band of Thomas Fisher, Rachel Davies and Daniel Copeman has already toured with Foals,the XX, Passion Pit and Deerhunter in its short career. —Catherine Downes

SUN

!!!

6:30 p.m., Main Stage #1

For over a decade now, !!! have been spreading infectious post-punk dance rhythms under perhaps the most high-concept moniker of all-time. Band members say their name can be articulated by repeating any monosyllabic sound three times—but "Chk Chk Chk" has become the, sort of, accepted default. But no matter what fans prefer to call them, !!! are experts in eliciting widespread and contagious ass-shaking; if the band's eight members, all gyrating throughout their set, can't achieve this effect, frontman Nic Offer will just as soon jump into the crowd and attempt to win over one set of stagnant hips at a time if need be. —Cory Graves

Big Boi

8 p.m., Main Stage #1

Andre 3000's "Hey Ya!" and "Roses" are undeniable pop gems, sure. But hip-hop heads always knew: Speakerboxxx, Big Boi's half of Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which took home the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2004, was the more cohesive and focused half of the double-album. It was proof that, OK, while Andre 3000 may be the most creative mind in hip-hop, Big Boi is tops when it comes to execution. That point was only further hammered home last year with the release of Big Boi's first straight-up solo offering, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. Apologies to Kanye, who's more pop than anything these days, but it was Big Boi who put out the hip-hop album of the year in 2010. —Pete Freedman

Nite Jewel

11:40 p.m., at Hailey's Club

Though Los Angeles' Nite Jewel started as a bedroom dance project of Ramona Gonzalez and her multi-track cassette recorder, she's since added Cole M. Greif-Neill (a frequent collaborator and former guitarist of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti) and Corey Lee Granet (the Warlocks) to her band. And, since Gonzalez has gone on the record as saying that one of the reasons she moved to L.A. was Ariel Pink, it shouldn't surprise Nite Jewel fans that the sound of their new Am I Real? EP features more all-over-the-place, danceable '80s R&B than the gauzy, ghostly sounds found on their full-length debut, Good Evening. Daniel Rodrigue

Gayngs

1 a.m., Hailey's Club

Recent years have seen many seemingly odd parings yield music that justifies the label of ill-fitting (see: any of Santana's projects of the last decade). But, on the other hand, there are a spate of great examples of screwed-up collections of artists joining forces to not only surprise, but reinvent. Gayngs, an indie freak-show that often consists of more than 20 diverse styles and voices (including the falsetto of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon), meanders their way through ambient electro-jams that prove that minimal doesn't apply to the number of artists creating the good-time flow. —Kelly Dearmore

Dan Deacon

1 a.m., Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios

When your breakthrough release is titled Spiderman of the Rings, you're more than likely to attract some sort of attention. In the case of Baltimore electronica artist Dan Deacon, this attention happened to be quite positive. And while his recorded music has been heralded by the press, it's the live show that has become Deacon's calling card. In a setup that isn't too different from Girl Talk's, Deacon tends to construct his rig—usually a table, an iPod, a laptop and a glowing skull—right on the floor in front of the stage. And, after riling everyone up with what is usually hilarious, carefully crafted stream-of-consciousness gibberish, a full-on dance party ensues. His brand of electro-freak-pop is the perfect soundtrack to the theatrics that are frequently a part of his live shows. Audience participation and interaction play a huge part in this, so don't expect to hold up the bar and not break a sweat. —Mark Schectman

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