Wes' Side Stories

Consciously or not, Willis recaptures a dying sense of neighborhood unity, not to mention proving what the handicapped can do with a little support from the mainstream. Plus, I'm just a sucker for a good harpsichord sample. Music should be fun, after all, and Wesley Willis knows it, even if we're sometimes too smart to remember.

Wesley Willis Fiasco opens for Rocket from the Crypt Friday in 7th Street Entry. The Nephews open. Personal recordings by Wesley Willis are available at Extreme Noise, at E. Lake St. and Pillsbury Ave. in Minneapolis.

SON OF SON VOLT?: My other must-see gig of the weekend is the return of Mississippi trio Blue Mountain. Of all the records by the Uncle Tupelo/Golden Smog brethren, Mountain's Dog Days (Roadrunner) may be my favorite of the lot (besides Tomorrow the Green Grass, of course). The album, which features re-recordings from their rare indie debut, steers perfectly between cool country pop and crunchy roots rock, with sublime harmonies between leader Cary Hudson and bassist Laurie Stirrat (brother of Wilco's John). Chicago's Yardsale opens. Sunday, Uptown Bar and Cafe; 823-4719... Between those gigs, consider the undie-rock cage match featuring Polvo, Balloon Guy, Relativity artist Edsel, and Midnight Oil-y Irish rockers Schtum. $5. Saturday, 7th Street Entry, 701 First Ave. N., Mpls.; 338-8388.

FERN DALE DAY: Any readers intrigued by a recent column on the Flame Cafe Day should know of the upcoming tribute to Fern Dale. The Grand Lady of the Banjo--who performed at Flame Cafe Day--will be honored by such acts as Adam Granger and the Country Figs (4 p.m.), Minnesota Dixie (5:30 p.m.), Fern Dale Mouldy Figs (7 p.m.), and Medicine Show (10 p.m.). $10. Friday at Hafner's, 1560 White Bear Ave. (two blocks south of Larpenteur), St. Paul; 774-9696.

IYA REMEMBERED: Finally, a reminder about the benefit and musicians jam for Iya (Eric Heim), Friday at Old Arizona Studios, 2821 Nicollet Ave., 871-0050. Donations appreciated.

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