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When Billy Bragg’s act caught on in the mid-’80s, the world was filled with black-and-white injustice that fed the barking rocker’s tirades. Since then, misery has hardly vanished from the Earth, but Bragg’s music and his interminable concert monologues now must address murkier ideological turf, such as the Balkan wars and, of course, Sept. 11. It’s convenient, then, that Bragg in recent years has taken up the mantle of a much simpler time: Woody Guthrie’s midcentury songs. On two heralded records that he made with Wilco—Mermaid Avenue and Mermaid Avenue Vol. II—Bragg put his gritty rock signature on Guthrie’s unrecorded protest ballads and love songs. Touted by his promoters as the American icon’s “spiritual heir,” Bragg tonight will likely pepper his between-song tangents with Guthrie lore, as well as take a stab or two at the war on terrorism. Catch the new world disorder when Bragg plays with Sarah Harmer at 9 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25. (202) 393-0930. (Erik Wemple)