EUNICE PLAYBOYS 1/28, FITZGERALD’S, 1/29, PROP THEATRE One of zydeco’s preeminent combos, singer, accordionist, and fiddle player John Delafose’s tight-knit family band offers a pair of performances without its ailing longtime leader. Taking his place will be son Geno, who also sings and plays accordion, and from the sound of his half a dozen tunes without his father on the new Blues Stay Away From Me (Rounder) he should do so ably. The Eunice Playboys effectively channel the white strains of Cajun and country and western into their sturdy, traditional zydeco (as opposed to the more modernistic, pop-infected approach of Terrance Simien), loping happily along in a seasoned groove. It’s spare, tasteful, breezy, and it moves. SEAWEED, HUM 1/29, METRO Tacoma’s Seaweed forces pop tunes through a strainer of blasting, no-frills semimetallic guitar and bomb-dropping drums with dissipated punk attitude. On its recent album Four (Sub Pop), dopey skateboy posturing struggles against cryptic tales of late-teen angst, and neither side fares particularly well; the band’s longing for simultaneous simplicity and complexity, intelligence and stupidity, musical heaviness and head-wagging catchiness blunts any potential sharpness. Hum nails its far less ambitious targets with significantly greater precision. Like fellow Champaign vet rockers Poster Children, Hum tends to pummel its loosely sketched hooks with percussive deluges and roaring, minimal guitar sheeting. Unfortunately it also shares one of the Poster Kids’ faults: an unerring lack of variety. But with its debut Electra 2000 (12 Inch) Hum ups the ante, inflating the propulsive din into a sonic presence that could only be called massive. The several-year-old band finally seems to be picking up steam. Now all it needs is a sideswipe to knock some breadth into its ride. JOHN McEUEN 1/29, OLD TOWN SCHOOL A 20-year member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band before embarking on a solo career in 1987, John McEuen is a rather startling presence on banjo and guitar. His music, while based in bluegrass styles, spans a broad section of America’s rural spectrum and also juts out to touch on polka, rock, Sousa, and even a little Bach. Unfortunately, his rambunctious eclecticism tends to be a bit long on flash and short on emotion. For this gig he’s performing solo, however, and minus his almost antiseptic support band there’s a strong possibility for some unadorned grit. He performs on a bill that also includes the interesting Mohican folksinger Bill Miller. OCTOBER PROJECT 2/2, AVALON Thickly layered, even lush synth-heavy soft pop with an airy, new-agey expansiveness. Record-label flacks hype the band’s evocative qualities, but all I see are misty-lensed Hallmark commercials. Kate Bush fans who need to chill out could conceivably float away on October Project’s wispy, ethereal folk fluff. It’d be nice if the band would float away too. Crash Test Dummies headline (see Critic’s Choice).