Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog at Tropicalia Thursday, Oct. 3

By almost any definition, Marc Ribot is a great guitarist: He’s played with legends like Elvis Costello and Tom Waits and made a name for himself as a composer over the past 28 years. But what helps make Ribot unique among the thousands of high-quality ax slingers performing today are his limitations. He’s a lefty playing right-handed, which means his nondominant hand is strumming and plucking the strings. So when Ribot plays jazz, he’s not smooth; when he plays Cuban music, the roughest edges of the rhythm get highlighted, and when he’s playing with his avant-rock trio Ceramic Dog, Ribot dives straight into the chaos without sounding particularly punk, metal, or anything but his singular, slashing, freewheeling self. Ceramic Dog’s second album, Your Turn, came out five years after its debut, but the group still expertly explores the points of friction that exist between No Wave and funk, blues and noise, and lefties living in a right-handed world.

Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog performs with Les Rhinocéros at 7:30 p.m. at Tropicalia, 2001 14th St. NW. $15. (202) 629-4535. tropicaliadc.com.

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