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Out in the Crowd: R.E.M. brings 'Accelerate' tour to Lakewood

Founded right up the road in Athens nearly three decades ago, R.E.M. has always been known for three things: guitarist Peter Buck's signature playing style, an ever-innovative spirit that helped lay the groundwork for alternative music as we know it, and the fact that no one ever knows what in the world Michael Stipe is singing about. (That's right, Stipe: I still haven't forgiven you for not including lyrics with "Monster" so that my 10-year-old self could sing along to "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" on his cassette player. People don't forget, baldy.)

After some creative missteps over the past few years, the band is now touring behind "Accelerate," which has shaped up to be one of their most well-received albums in decades, among critics and fans alike.

Unquestionably one of the all-time greats (with a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to prove it), R.E.M. is a big source of hometown pride (OK, so this "hometown" is about an hour away from Athens, but still), and they always know how to give Atlanta a good show. Catch the band at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Lakewood Amphitheatre, 2002 Lakewood Way, Atlanta. Tickets range from $35 to $65 to $75, depending on seating area. For more information, visit www.hob.com/venues/concerts/hifibuys/ or www.ticketmaster.com.

Comedy in Cobb

An uproarious knack for improvisation is evident throughout "executive transvestite" Eddie Izzard's freewheeling, train-of-thought stand-up act. His topics can shift wildly, from world wars to "Star Wars" at a moment's notice.

The beloved British comic has crossed the pond to tour the U.S., and he'll perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Tickets range from $35 to $55. For more information, call 770-916-2800.