Concert Highlights for the Week of July 4-July 10


Sage Francis
First Avenue
The really offensive thing about the emo tag (which comes from "emotional hardcore," and has been applied to everything from Atmosphere to websites) is its implication that the defining characteristic of an artist's music is that it's "emotional." Like having feelings makes you an artist. On "Underground for Dummies" from Sage Francis's latest album, Human the Death Dance, the hook goes, "This is hip hop for the people, the people/Stop calling it emo." It's a brand he's been burned with since day one, but just because he doesn't floss, and talks more about BB guns than gats, doesn't mean he's easily boxed in. At South by Southwest this year, he held a diverse crowd rapt with just the force of his words, prowling the stage in overalls and exhorting the audience to pretend they were waving broccoli. We all have feelings, but not all of us have the ability to combine this much fire, acid, humor, and beauty into such wryly dark and compelling music. With Buck 65, Alias, and Buddy Wakefield. All ages. $16. 5:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Steve McPherson

Patio Night with Cadillac Kolstad
Minnesota Museum of American Art
The soundtrack of the 1930s and '40s may not be taking up much space on your iPod, but it never hurts to exchange your summer flip-flops for some dancing shoes and swing your partner to a classic American sound. Playing the patio at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, Cadillac Kolstad's heavy mix of rockabilly and blues will make your toes do more than tap. A Minneapolis native who's been featured on A Prairie Home Companion, Andrew "Cadillac" Kolstad has a voice that's rough, yet oddly comforting when paired with the boogie piano. Harmonica player Papa John Kolstad will be there as well; between them, the two give you a great excuse to slick back your hair and stuff your pocket with a bandanna. $7. 7:00 p.m. 50 W. Kellogg Blvd., at Market Street, St. Paul; 651.266.1030. —Amber Schadewald


Sage Francis
Courtesy of Epitaph
Sage Francis

Har Mar Superstar
First Avenue
The utter ridiculousness of Sean Tillmann's greasy glam-pimp persona Har Mar Superstar has always contributed to the local expat's appeal. Live, Har Mar's superstar spirit erupts like a geyser of sharp cheese melted with irony. The same blatant gutter-tongue innuendo would probably come across as both morally objectionable and aesthetically juvenile if it weren't stripped of all pretensions by the obvious, gleeful sarcasm of the balding, frumpy Tillmann air-thrusting on stage in his kiddy skivvies. But more than a sardonic stage act, Tillmann is a tunesmith who's penned material for pop acts Jennifer Lopez and Kelly Osbourne, as well his Sean Na Na lineup. Now that Har Mar really is a superstar, why would we expect anyone less than a bona-fide Stroke (drummer Fabrizio Moretti) at his side? Show up early with your iPod—or any other wifi-capable device—for a free download of local youngsters Zibra Zibra's new album. With Zibra Zibra and Seymore Saves the World. 18+. $10/$12 at the door. 6:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Christopher Matthew Jensen

7/7/7 Event
various venues throughout the Cities
Score a date, eat the cake, and dip out, because July 7 is not only booked with weddings, but loads of local music. The 7/7/7 event will feature 49 bands at seven venues across the Twin Cities: the Hexagon Bar (Fort Wilson Riot), the Triple Rock (Mouthful of Bees), the Uptown Bar (the Diealones), the Nomad World Pub (Mystery Palace, MC/VL), the Turf Club, Big V's (the Deaf), and Memory Lanes. If your budget is dry due to an abundance of gift purchasing for happy couples, show hopping won't be a problem—all the gigs are free. From electro-pop to hardcore rock, nary a genre goes unrepresented, making it easier to convince the rest of the bridal party to ditch the lame DJ and get drunk to something other than "The Electric Slide" and Lonestar's "Amazed." Just don't lose any bridesmaids to the Gay Witch Abortion show-mobile, which will be roaming from one venue to the next throughout the evening. Visit this page, buried in the Current's website, for detailed info. —Amber Schadewald

Target Center
As anyone remotely in tune with pop culture knows, His Royal Purpleness is as wily as he is eccentric. So his fascination with the mystical qualities of the number seven may have prompted him to schedule this hometown gig on 7/7/07, but it ain't no coincidence he has a new album—Planet Earth—due two weeks later (on Columbia), a forthcoming world tour beginning 8/1/07 at the O2 in London (work on those numbers for a while), and enough corporate sponsors lined up to choke a Republican

There's the afternoon gig at Macy's, sure to send blue-haired damsels who didn't quite get the message about department-store regime change scurrying for Oval Room dressing rooms; some kind of inevitable phone company tie-in; and threatening clouds of floral smog, which should lend an air of gaiety to the bus fumes out on Nicollet. The scent, of course, will come from Prince's new perfume, Eau de Paisley or whatever (which, perversely, brings to mind the Who's old mock advert for Odorama deodorant). Aromas aside, the 7/7/07 gig promises a glimpse of Planet Earth, which, an advance copy suggests, does not stink at all. The first single, "Guitar," is an energetic paean to his favorite instrument, with a curious U2, uh, Edge

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