WEDNESDAY 8.08

Booker T. & the MGs
Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
Way back in the Pleistocene Era—aka the 1960s—if it was hip, it was groovy. And no band worked grooves better than Booker T. & the MGs, whose slithery melodies slid off the keyboard of Booker T. Jones's simmering B3 organ while Steve Cropper chimed in with wiry guitar lines, and drummer Al Jackson and bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn sizzled and oozed out lean rhythms. The MGs—Memphis Group—had a series of instrumental hits, most notably "Green Onions," which hit #3 in 1962. But the quartet played an even bigger role as the house band at Memphis' Stax/Volt studios, where it helped define the label's iconic sound on now-legendary sessions by the likes of Rufus Thomas, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd, and Albert King. Stax went under more than three decades ago and Jackson was murdered in 1975. But the remaining MGs have played together periodically in the interim and are now touring again on the 50th anniversary of Stax's founding, as well as the label's relaunch by the Concord conglomerate. So, with drummer Steve Potts (an unspecified Jackson relation), the MGs are back, brewing up some of the funkiest percolations in captivity. $60 at 7:00 p.m. $45 at 9:00 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. Also Thursday —Rick Mason

 

THURSDAY 8.09

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
Ya gotta suspect that your average banjo plucker might morph into something entirely different if he was lugging around the moniker of a classical music icon. You'd be right in the case of Béla (as in Bartok) Fleck, who is not only light years from average in the picking department, but also a genuine visionary who's taken plucking into the rarified realms of jazz and classical. (Oh, and pop, funk, reggae, rock and a slew of world music genres.) In fact, since helping the New Grass Revival stretch the limits of bluegrass, he has covered more varieties of musical turf than you could shake a shtick at while collaborating with so many musicians, in so many quirky permutations, that even he must need a scorecard to keep it all straight. This time around, in what has become his nearly annual Zoo gig, Fleck will lead his intrepid Flecktones; while kind of in his home base, he's no less prone to wandering far and wide into realms previously devoid of the sublime, avant plucking of the peripatetic banjo. $36-$48.50. 6:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Rick Mason

FRIDAY 8.10

Son Volt
Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater
More than seven years after being dropped from Warner Brothers's label, Son Volt have managed to pick up their sticks and strings to make some new music. The alternative country band has since expanded on their twangy-rock sound by adding a horn section, electric piano, organs, and other random string effects on their new album, The Search, which was released this spring. The band's Midwestern origins (both Minneapolis and Missouri), give their music scents of alfalfa mixed with easy-rock sniffs of the Wallflowers, R.E.M., and Neil Young. You can hear the five o'clock shadow in Jay Farrar's gruff voice. They also have a new guitarist, Chris Masterson, replacing Brad Rice—who ditched out to play on tour with Keith Urban. $27-$39.50. 6:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd, Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Amber Schadewald

SATURDAY 8.11.

Pizza Lucé Block Party
Pizza Lucé Uptown
Pizza Lucé is heaven at 3 in the morning, when your ears are ring-a-ding-dinging from the racket at First Ave, and your stomach is churning from the final dregs of last call. Nature set the order just so: rock music and beer come first, to be followed by the lacto-carb-a-licious cure of the Rustler (that's the BBQ mock duck and pineapple pie). But like a once-a-year solar eclipse, the pleasures of sonic and gastronomic satisfaction align annually in the tree-shaded streets of Uptown, for the Pizza Lucé Block Party. This year's event is hosted by Drinking With Ian's Ian Rans, whose pale nocturnal complexion can be expected to pinken considerably as the playful brat-punk of Brother and Sister turns into the honey-glazed classic rock of Little Man, and the hell-in-a-handbasket hot licks of Chooglin' twist into the rolling flow of Doomtree MCs Mictlan, Cecil Otter, and Dessa. I don't know if the Rustler fixes sunburn, but it wouldn't hurt to try. Noon. 3200 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.827.5978. Sarah Askari

Mickey Avalon
Fine Line Music Café
Mickey Avalon makes the Insane Clown Posse look like Public Enemy. Tattooed, shirtless, and made up like a sex doll, he's a nice Jewish kid turned junkie, truck-stop hustler, and rapper. The L.A. dreg would have made a great dirty New Yorker, back when "punk" referred to both music and part-time prostitutes. Artistically and spiritually, he's the bastard son of Dee Dee Ramone and the License to Ill-era Beastie Boys. And while his insidious self-titled debut might be the most indefensible rap album ever, sleazy tunes like "The Jane Fonda" and "My Dick" are—despite a barrage of juvenile rhymes and phallic fixations—so catchy that they're beyond bad; they're downright evil. With Andre Legacy; Dirt Nasty; DJ Lego. 18+. $16. 8:00 p.m., 318 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. D.X. Ferris

MONDAY 8.13..

T.I.
Myth
Word on the street (if rap blogs are "the street") is that T.I. vs. T.I.P., the newest release from the ATL hitmaker, is a disappointment. They could have a point—solid-to-great albums like Trap Muzik and Urban Legend led to a massive peak with 2006's King, after which just about any MC would probably start breaking his neck just to top it. But while the intelligent businessman/impulsive thug "split personality" motif of T.I. vs. T.I.P. seems a bit shaky as a theme, it does give him a chance to showcase his range. The sinister bounce of "Hurt," the cathedral swagger of "Help Is Coming," and the swampy funk of "Watch What You Say to Me" (where he holds his own against Jay-Z) sound like the work of a man who hasn't declined yet. 18+. $40-$150. 9:00 p.m. 3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood; 651.779.6984.Nate Patrin

TUESDAY 8.14.

Marilyn Manson and Slayer
Xcel Energy Center
Throughout their disparate careers, both headliners have raised bloodcurdling uproars from concerned parents, politicians, and religious figures. Slayer's latest album, Christ Illusion (a brutalizing thrash masterpiece that earned the band their first Grammy) was protested for its graphic album cover depicting the mutilated body of Christ wading in a sea of blood with bobbing severed heads. Just the latest in a long history of various bans and censorships racked up over the years, both Slayer and Manson have spent the better part of their careers exploring dark and horrible subject matter. Slayer, now back to their original lineup for the first time since 1990, are on a creative upswing, and promise to bring more production to their performance for this arena tour with theatrical mastermind Marilyn Manson. With Bleeding Through. All Ages. $41.50/$49.50. 6:00 p.m. 175 Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul. Christopher Matthew Jensen

Wilco
Bayfront Festival Park
Call in sick. Run away. Extend your weekend and take a little drive up North to visit your friends, Wilco. Playing at the Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth, the Grammy-winning folk rockers will harmonize with the sounds of gulls and lazy waves of Lake Superior, giving you a chance to breathe in fresh music and see some stars. Coming off their sixth release, "Sky Blue Sky," Wilco are performing newer material that's less on the experimental side, and more of a nod to their favorite influences—the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones. The album was released in mid-May, and the tracks featured in a Volkswagen ad campaign pleased CEOs while angering some fans. Commercial woes aside, standing in front of the lake under the beautifully illuminated pavilion in the park, it will be hard to hold a grudge—especially if you're eating ice cream. And surrounded by gardens and facing the city's favorite lift-bridge, the park will soothe your city sores with its own sky blue sky. $25. 7:30 p.m. Bayfront Festival Park; South 5th Avenue W. & Railroad Street, Duluth; 715.394.6831. —Amber Schadewald

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