Critics' Picks

WEDNESDAY 1.23

We Are Wolves

7th St. Entry

Most indie-rock audiences display a wider variety of dance moves than they get credit for. There's the herky-jerky neck bob, the hip-cocked-to-the-side-one-hand-on-a-drink foot tap, and of course the fiercely protected folded-arms butt wiggle. They're all perfectly valid, but they simply won't cut the mustard at a show by Montreal's electro-rave meets indie-rock three-piece We Are Wolves. Using buzz-saw analog synths, throbbing jungle drums, and yelp-along chanting, We Are Wolves stir up a spaztastic freak-out on par with what the Klaxons were supposed to deliver. Their latest record, Total Magique, is packed with solid, danceable cuts capable of making your limbs flail about like one of those floppy-armed inflatable monsters that car dealerships put on their roofs to captivate children and snare the eyes of highway traffic. With Soviet Panda. 21+. $6. 8:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Christopher Matthew Jensen

THURSDAY 1.24

Dan Deacon Ultimate Reality Tour

First Avenue

Baltimore musician Dan Deacon is worth catching live at just about every opportunity, and it's not just because his music—a hyperactive blend of hardcore punk, hardcore techno, hardcore bass, and all kinds of synthesizers (some of which may possibly also be hardcore)—is so engagingly berserk. He's also got an eccentric but welcoming stage presence (his show at the Triple Rock last summer, one of the most fun gigs I've seen in the last few years, placed him in the middle of the floor while the crowd gathered around him), and during this current tour he's bringing along a few extra friends with some visual aids. Ultimate Reality—a psychedelic, postmodern video collage of Conan the Barbarian poses, motocross stunts, and fighter jets co-created with Wham City art collective member Jimmy Joe Roche—is out on DVD, and with the assistance of drummers Kevin O'Meare (Video Hippos) and Jeremy Hyman (Ponytail), they aim to bring that video's eye-warping, epileptic-unfriendly brilliance to an amped-up crowd. With Gay Beast and Vampire Hands. 18+. $10. 6:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Nate Patrin

Lenny Kravitz

Myth Nightclub

The prevailing image of Lenny Kravitz is that of a rock 'n' roller adrift in time; a guy who wishes he was around in the late '60s slinging guitar riffs with Sly, Zeppelin, and the Stones. In fact, he's unusually adept at using the vintage elements of those days to create new music, much to the annoyance of those who apparently think music should have temporal borders, and making the copying-versus-creative license debate central to most Kravitz criticism. That his songs can be spot-on as well as badly off complicates the question. Which brings us to his first new album in four years, It Is Time for a Love Revolution (Virgin). Although the Kravitz PR juggernaut is well in gear, along with a Love Revolution tour that is projected to run two years, someone missed the tiny detail of actually releasing the album before the start of the tour. It's not due out until February, leaving us to ponder the publicists' assertions that it will be a "thunderous rock 'n' roll call-to-arms" blending "soul, funk, and jazz grooves" and "undeniable anthemic lyricism." Well, cool. The only actual evidence is a couple of singles on the web: "Bring It On," a snarly rocker that sounds like a cross between T. Rex and the James Gang, and "I'll Be Waiting," a rock ballad with soulful vocals and an over-the-top symphonic wash on the chorus. But then, love is all you need. All ages. $48. 7:00 p.m. 3090 Southlawn Dr.; Maplewood; 651.779.6984. —Rick Mason

SATURDAY 1.26

2nd Annual Twin Cities Hip Hop Awards

Varsity Theater

Last year's inaugural Twin Cities Hip Hop Awards ceremony brought together the diverse and thriving scene we enjoy here, and elicited both celebration and disdain from those very participants. As High Society Ink—a local network of hip-hop artists and various other participants—continues to gain legitimacy as a governing body, this year's show promises to be a little bit more established, a little bit more polished, and maybe even a little bit more dramatic. Aside from a few obvious choices (how can The Undisputed Truth not win best local album?), the categories are fun and controversial, including "best hustler," "best white rappers," and the all-important "most slept on." They're packing the virtual who's who of TC rap into the charming Varsity Theater in Dinkytown, so even if your favorite MC isn't performing tonight (and there's a good chance he/she is), you'll at least get a good chance to give them some dap. 18+. $10. 9:00 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Jordan Selbo

Queensrÿche

Myth Nightclub

Is there nothing an umlaut won't fix? Queensrÿche is one of only dozens of bands intrepid enough to test this hypothesis. Since hitting their stride with 1988's Operation: Mindcrime, a rock opera that boldly confronted the hooker-turned-nun craze of the late '80s, that umlaut has had its work cut out for it. Wise enough to ride prog-metal's supernova to the furthest galactic reaches, but not so wise as to unhitch their Airstream when the form began its inexorable collapse, Queensrÿche find themselves at the overcrowded singularity of a sonic black hole. But clearly, nobody ever told Geoff Tate that, in space, no one can hear your falsetto. With nebulous, celestial solos, Tate's kajillion-octave vocal range, and the lyrical courage to venture where Jovi feared to tread, Queensrÿche are here to prove that their sound can still fill an arena, even if their fan base can't. 18+. $28/33 at the door. 6:00 p.m. 3090 Southlawn Dr.; Maplewood; 651.779.6984. David Hansen

Love in October CD-release party

7th St. Entry

Relocating from Sweden to start your band seems somehow counterproductive, but Love in October could be bucking the system here in Minneapolis. They have a fairly straightforward, power-pop sound reminiscent of many of the millennium years' emo heavyweights, and also seem to have stumbled across '90s MTV buzz band Fretblanket (who I'm convinced that, aside from this quartet and this writer, exactly one person even remembers existed). So what does all of it mean? It means that taking cues from familiar-sounding but ultimately pretty obscure sources sets you apart from your peers when it comes time to be pigeonholed or "genre-fied." It means that using a Moog keyboard is always—always—underrated. It also means that Minneapolis may be slowly becoming a destination for bands to relocate to as they try to move up in the world. None of the above can be bad for this city's music scene. Who knows, maybe having slightly more sunlight during the winter months than one experienced in Sweden causes that gray winter head fog to evaporate, allowing catchy riffs to be written easily. 18+. $5. 8:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Pat O'Brien

moe.

First Avenue

If you missed moe.'s residency aboard Norwegian Sun Cruises in March of 2004, you missed one hell of a seafood buffet. But never fear: A trip to First Avenue tonight is a fiscally sensible but decidedly less luxurious way to make up for lost time. It's been a long march from the cultural hotbed of upstate New York's industrial hubs to the azure waters of the Jamaican isles, but a can-do attitude has ensured moe.'s place in the pantheon of hippy-dippy jam bands. They're not just a typographical headache, people—they're also the improv musicians who everyone from Sony Records suits to international pleasure-cruise companies can enjoy. With not a shrimp cocktail in sight, tonight may not quite capture the thrill of being trapped on an ocean-going vessel for a week with Phish as the house band. But it'll come damn close. 18+. $20/$25 at the door. 8:00 p.m.701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —David Hansen

SUNDAY 1.27

Trail of Tears

Station 4

Despite metal's chronic shortage of women, Ronny Thorsen has never had a problem finding one...uh...to sing. One of Gothic metal's grand old idiosyncratics, Trail of Tears's founder, leader, and sole original member has steered the Kristiansand, Norway-based sextet through triumph (five albums, all noteworthy) and tragedy (a financially disastrous tour of Mexico that led four band members to quit), with Ahabian single-mindedness, since 1994. While nobody who performed on last year's slightly blackened Existentia is currently in the band, Thorsen has a new/old vocal foil in the rejoined Catherine Paulsen, whose lambent soprano complements his death growls like sleep in the midst of light electrical torture. 18+. $10/$15 at the door. 6:00 p.m. 201 E. Fourth St. St. Paul; 651.298.0173. Rod Smith

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