By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS must be sick and tired of the "atypical Seattle band" tag, since they've been kickin' around since before there was a typical Seattle band. On their umpteen albums, the Fellows genre-coast freely through rock, funk, new wave, and searing garage lounge (they were pals with the latter-day Replacements), but they've never lost their winsome humor. Local warm-ups the Wobblies have a roots-tinged CD, Pissin' Berrypunch, out now. Country boys the Sycamores play the middle (Thursday at 7th Street Entry; doors at 8 pm.; $5)... On Friday, Arcweldermake a homecoming and celebrate their accomplished fifth effort, Entropy (Touch and Go), with two Entry shows (all-ages show at 5 p.m.; drunk show around 9 p.m.; $5 each). Opening are Red Decibel minions House of Large Sizes and Cher UK, two favorite power trios (emphasis on "power," especially in Cher's case) from Iowa and Kansas City, respectively.
It seems that SubPop is banking on Velocity Girl to conquer the world sometime this decade. Which is plausible enough, as the new Gilded Stars and Zealous Hearts continues their move toward bubblegum pop perfection. The classically trained voice of Sarah Shannon (who's now engaged--sob!) sets the band apart from their indie-pop kin and lends a charming Beauty-and-the-Geeks sound, which scores points in my book. VG's Saturday ID show (8 p.m., $8) and Sunday all-ager (7 p.m., $8) are backed up by Boston's similarly irresistible Fuzzy, and Chisel. 7th Street Entry, 701 First Ave. N., Mpls.; 338-8388.
If you're looking for some endearing acoustic absurdity on Sunday nights, check out Cave Music and Judd Herrmann, who will be appearing weekly for the foreseeable future at Ace Box Bar in St. Paul. Cave Music's John "Cave Man" Knowles is an animated singer/guitarist whose other regular gigs include nursing homes; his more maniacal persona comes out in covers like "Blister in the Sun" and tunes like "Prozac" and "Dead Dogs Must Die." He'll be playing round-robin with Herrmann, whose Homeless in the Heart disc last year won the fortysomething player "most underrated songwriter" accolades all over the place. Ace Box, University Avenue & Cretin-Vandalia, St. Paul; 646-5551.
Finally, here's the partial musical lineup for Powderhorn Park's post-parade May Day bash: Machinery Hill (3:30), T.V. Baby (4:15), Supernaturals (5:00), Fire Under Water (5:45), Barbara Cohen and Little Lizard (6:30), and more. Call 823-0176 for other May Day info. (Groebner)
FIRST THINGS FIRST: Veteran folk-singing activist Si Kahn comes to town this Saturday for a benefit for the Jewish Metropolitan Organizing Project. As always, it should be an enlightening and invigorating evening ($12/$15 at the door. 9 p.m. Jewish Community Center of Minneapolis, 4330 S. Cedar Lake Rd., St. Louis Park; 374-0344.)... The great Jamaican reggae roots trio Culture, led by the venerable Joseph Hill, have been keepin' it real for over 20 years, and will be in town for a night of one-drops this Thursday at First Avenue. They have a solid new collection on the RAS label titled One Stone, on which they're backed by Kingston's Dub Mystic crew, as they will be here. $8/$10 at the door. 9 p.m. First Avenue, 701 First Ave. N., Mpls.; 338-8388... Chilean-born Oscar Lopez is a skillful acoustic guitarist who weaves pleasant fusions of Mexican, Spanish, Brazilian, and other South American styles with touches of Western classical styles. A little light on record, we're hoping he'll heat things up live. He'll make his area debut this Friday at the Cedar Cultural Centre (8 p.m. $10/$12 at the door; 416 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls.; 338-2674)... Also at the Cedar on Sunday is the return of the Celtic Fiddle Fest, featuring three acknowledged masters: Martin Hayes, Natalie MacMaster, and Brian McNeill, representing Ireland, Cape Breton, and Scotland respectively. I'm especially excited about MacMaster, whose supposed to be quite a fiery player. ($13/$15 at the door/$10 students. Music at 7:30 p.m.)... Finally, African pop fans should note the area appearance of Mali's great Salif Keita at Carleton College's annual outdoor Spring concert Monday at 7:30 p.m. Of course, the free event is supposed to be for students only. But it's a casual, unfenced-in affair, and I've been told by various people that if you act like alumni and don't cause a fuss, you can stroll up to the stage area and enjoy the music without hassles. In case of rain, however, the shindig gets moved into the gym, where they may be checking IDs. Keita's grooves are best enjoyed outdoors, so this is definitely worth the drive. Just don't tell 'em I sent ya... (Hermes)
HONKY TONK ANGEL
IF YOU THOUGHT the woman behind "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" had already gone to heaven, no way: Kitty Wells, the original queen of country music, along with her husband of 60 years, Johnny Wright, will be in the Twin Cities this Sunday for two very special shows with their son Bobby and the original Tennessee Mountain Boys. Actually, Wells has remained fairly active since becoming the first female country chart-topper in 1952, with a recent spot on Dolly Parton's Honky Tonk Angels LP, not to mention a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 1991. Also on the show is Jonny Voit and the Plum Country Band, Sherwin Linton and the Cotton Kings, host Jack Curtis of the Midwest Country Show, plus many more. $12.50. Shows Sunday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Bel-Rae Ballroom, 5394 Edgewood Drive off Hwy 10, Mounds View; 786-4630/785-9456. (Meyer)