Tonight, Tonight: Clay Aiken at Verizon, Elizabeth Cook at Dan's, Malevolent Creation at Reno's and Parkway Drive at House of Blues

Just before the 35 Conferette gets into full swing on Thursday, we have ourselves an eventful Tuesday evening to consider. And if you're a fan of metal, country or American Idol, this is definitely the night for you.

Clay Aiken at the Verizon Theater
One wonders just what the expiration date is on former American Idol contestants. Aiken, born Clayton Holmes Grissom, came in second place in the televised singing competition in 2003, immediately signed a lucrative recording contract and has proceeded to bore the living hell out of just about everyone ever since. No surprise there: The vapid shtick that propels most folks into the deep rounds of Idol rarely (if ever) translates to a legitimate recording career, be that in rock or pop. Of course, Aiken is a millionaire, so what do I know.

Elizabeth Cook at Dan's Silverleaf
Florida's Elizabeth Cook is the kind of country music hottie who just might be able to kick your ass. Cook's fourth effort, 2007's Balls, was produced by Rodney Crowell and featured the cut "Sometimes It Takes Balls to be a Woman" (see abov video). Well, if any gal has a pair, it's Cook: Her songwriting is as pithy and direct as Hank Williams himself. Cook's new album, Welder, comes out in May and was produced by Don Was. Here's hoping that Was doesn't take the sting out of Cook's wonderfully raw country soul.

Malevolent Creation, Full Blown Chaos, The Absence, Havok, Beyond Terror and Earthrot at Reno's Chop Shop Saloon
A six-band bill on a Tuesday night? These crazy, heavy metal kids. They think they can get away with anything. Turns out, though, that this is a pretty solid line up of death metal,  headlined by Florida's Malevolent Creation. Originally from Buffalo, this fearsome quintet has been pummeling audience for nearly 30 years. Lead "singer" Brett Hoffman has floated in and out of the band over the past couple of decades, but his pipes seem as rusty as ever (in this case, a compliment). Hopefully, Hoffman and crew will throw out at least a couple of tracks from the band's 1987 debut, The Ten Commandments, one of the best examples of this warped and noisy genre.

Parkway Drive, Set Your Goals, The Ghost Inside and The Warriors at House of Blues
Australia's Parkway Drive are a youthful metalcore quintet that are veterans of various Vans Warped tours. And they do have a decent pedigree: Deep Blue, the band's effort from 2010, won an ARIA Award, Australia's version of a Grammy, for best heavy metal album -- and deservedly so, too, as Deep Blue shows a band taking chances in a genre not exactly known for doing so. Intricate and emotional without sacrificing power, song such as "Sleepwalker" and "Deadweight" show a band with a keen appreciation of both punk and metal. Perhaps a bit slick for some folks, Parkway Drive strives for (and achieves) a nice balance between raw and restraint.