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The curse of so many post-Hendrix blues guitarists is that a sheet of sound is nothing without skill, or at least a song. While Chris Whitley is no voodoo chile, when he plays you can tell he came to the blues through arena rock. His work with din is so casual-sounding and nuanced that it’s hard not to think he’s coming up with his own idiom. In Whitley’s hands, clamor sometimes signifies the usualdelirium, lust, the inability to come up with a real solobut generally the noises underneath his songs are crucial, filling in the gaps in detail or inspiring his passion plays altogether. The bad news is that in the time it’s taken for all this technique to fall into the hands of a riff-writer with the talent, polish, and looks to do something big and interesting with it (just give Whitley’s latest, Terra Incognita, a chance in the car stereo), guitar rock has finally gone out of style. With Kristin Barry at 9 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $9. (202) 393-0930. (Brett Anderson)